Like a lot of you, I won't forget where I was when I heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center. I was working for my father, a turfgrass farmer, as I had graduated from law school and wasn't really ready to start working in the real world just yet. We mowed 3 times a week (we're talking about 270 acres or so of turfgrass) and I was mowing and settled in for it to be an all day affair. I remember, about half an hour before the news broke, that the skies were an incredible shade of blue. Working outside for almost every summer since the 6th grade, this notion had never occurred to me before, but that morning, I thought to myself how vibrant the sky was that morning. I was listening to the radio, Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket, and listened to it live as they were describing the events. Surreal is word that should be reserved for that type of event. I don't think I put down my radio for a couple of days as I was absolutely glued to The Ticket. For those of you who didn't grow up in the DFW area, listening to a sports radio show probably makes absolutely zero sense, but for two weeks after 9-11, radio hosts on The Ticket talked only about the events of 9-11 and it was like listening to my friends without much, if any, political baggage (I'm not a political person in any way shape or form).
Feel free to share your story in the comments and as always, try to keep it as non-political as humanly possible. To find out more about the National 9/11 Flag, you can go here.
As a slight distraction, I did find some conference realignment links this morning. I'll be incredibly happy when I no longer have to cover a football team and conference realignment. Consider this your open thread for NFL football as well.
Larry Scott not proactive in conference expansion - CBSSports.com
This somewhat confirms that publicly, Pac-12 commissioner, Larry Scott, is not seeking to add teams:
"We're not being proactive, we're not trying to initiate any move to conferences beyond 12," said Scott. "I'm trying to be more precise in the language because it's a highly charged situation. People are hanging on every word, I felt that the media was getting a little further out in front of where we actually were, so I have had to be more precise that we're not initiating a move to superconfereces. We are only evaluating anything if other conferences go first."
I'll be honest, I believe that last sentence.
Action/reaction: Pac-12 expansion (or not), Big 12 chaos, Pac-12 football and Santa Clara hoops | College Hotline
I know that some of you think that San Jose Mercury News' John Wilner is anti-Texas Tech, but I think he's reporting what he's hearing. He's not the gospel by any means and the point of posting a lot of links from a lot of places is for you to make your own decision. He's just one reporter, but I always find his stuff interest. As you all know by now, everything you read, including my thoughts and opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. I've never written otherwise. Here's Wilner:
Action: Public silence from the southern Plains as the Big 12 works through its legal issues and behind-the-scenes political maneuvering.
Reaction I: The sense I’ve gotten in the past 48 hours is that the league has a pulse — it just might live to see the 2012 football season, after all. And the reason? Texas is making concessions to keep the Kansas schools happy and to potentially satisfy Oklahoma (although that may be a lost cause at this point).
Reaction II: Yes, you read that right: The Longhorns are desperate to keep the Big 12 intact (more on that here) and the Kansas schools have an unofficial offer from the Big East, so they’re calling the shots, it appears … When Manhattan says jump, Austin asks how high.
Reaction III: With Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Iowa State and the Kansas schools, the Big 12 would have six continuing members. If Missouri stays, then it’s seven. If the Oklahoma schools stay, and that’s a huge question, then it’s nine. Obviously, the league would have to expand, especially if its membership drops to six. But if what I’m hearing is true — that the Longhorns are willing to change the revenue model to give all members an equal share, thus increasing stability — then the conference becomes much more attractive to current and future members.
Reaction IV: Let’s not forget about the Missouri factor. With the St. Louis and Kansas City TV markets, the Tigers are an attractive school for both the SEC and, to a lesser extent (because of geography), the Pac-12. They have options now and will have them in the future. If they commit to the Big 12′s revised revenue model, just how long will their pledge hold?
Scout.com: Aggie Websider Tidbits
Again . . . grain of salt. From the TAMU Scout affiliate:
Bottom line…as long as Texas A&M doesn’t have a home, Baylor doesn’t know its future and can’t plan for their future outside of the Big 12. I do think that as of today, OU and OSU will eventually leave when it becomes legally and politically feasible, meaning the Big 12 will cease to exist because Texas and Texas Tech will not attempt to revive the Big 12 without OU/OSU. If I were Baylor, I’d start working those phones with the Big East. The Bears may get lucky. Otherwise, if they don’t start looking for a new home in the Mountain West or C-USA, they could be knocking on the door of the Sun Belt and playing conference games in Huntsville.
Optimism surfaces that Big 12 can be salvaged without Texas A&M | Big 12 | Star-Telegram | Big 12 survival hopes surge - San Antonio Express-News
Long-time respected reporters, FWST's Jimmy Burch and SAEN's Tim Griffin (yes, he used to write the Big 12 blog before Ubben) are hearing that the Big 12 could stay together. Here's Burch:
Could the other Big 12 teams remain together without A&M?
That's a possibility. Optimism seemed to be building in that direction Friday and Saturday, with Big 12 administrators discussing options to add more stability to the league, which lost Nebraska and Colorado to other conferences last year, in an effort to entice Oklahoma officials to remain part of a nine-school nucleus that would explore Big 12 expansion.
One bargaining chip involves a possible move toward equal revenue sharing from all league-generated TV revenues.
That would be unprecedented for the Big 12, although it is common in other leagues.
From all indications, every school but Oklahoma seems to be on board with that proposal. Under that model, each school would then retain its third-tier TV rights and the option to create its own network -- by itself or in conjunction with other schools -- similar to the Longhorn Network and keep those revenues for itself.
OU officials have considered creation of their own network, an idea the school would have to abandon or modify as a Pac-12 member.
Several reports indicate that Texas would be willing to share its Tier I revenue provided through the Big 12's television contracts for football to help preserve the conference. That would not affect the $15 million provided each year to the school by the Longhorn Network.
But the key to keeping the Big 12 together still appears to be convincing Oklahoma to stay. The Sooners appeared ready to bolt to the Pac-12 with Oklahoma State in tow for most of the last week.