University of Texas Goal: Provoke Big 12 Members Until They Bolt
By Clay Travis
University of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds shares a lot in common with Abraham Lincoln. Seriously. Those of you who have been long time readers know that I'm a huge Civil War history buff. This being the 150th anniversary of the war, I'm actually reading daily updates of the news from 1861. (Yes, I'm that big of a dork). That's why I may be the only person in the world who has noticed a similarity between the actions of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and Abraham Lincoln back in 1861. You see, in the days immediately preceding the start of the Civil War the North and South dueled over who would fire the first shot.
Eventually Fort Sumter, nestled in Charleston Harbor, became the powder keg that ignited the Civil War. Only that powder keg couldn't explode until someone lit the fuse on the first cannon and sent the first armory traveling across the harbor in the direction of Fort Sumter. How, Lincoln wondered, can I get the South to fire the first shot and gain the moral high ground to call this a rebellion? The answer was simple, Lincoln attempted to provide food and supplies to the garrison under siege at Fort Sumter. The South fired on the supplies and the war had officially began.
We're at that stage right now in the Big 12's own Civil War, DeLoss Dodds is channeling Abraham Lincoln and pushing his provocation with the Longhorn Network as far as he can, until finally the Big 12 schools open fire.
As soon as the Big 12 schools with options, chiefly Texas A&M and Oklahoma, finally tire of the constant pimp slaps to the face from Texas, the schools will open fire and bolt for the SEC. (Make no mistake, the future of Texas A&M, as I've been telling y'all for over a year, is with the SEC. It's a matter of when not if. The SEC wants into Texas so badly that it would be willing to sit with 13 total teams, an unbalanced 7th team in the SEC West.) As soon as Texas A&M or Oklahoma finally react to the provocation -- can sit still no longer -- and lash out, Texas will turn to the media and say something like this, "We've struggled to keep the Big 12 together, and we've done everything we could to make this work out. We have no choice, but to be independent now. (insert school here) is to blame for the demise of the Big 12. They caused this."
It's brilliant, really, start the fight, get in all your unnoticed jabs, and then turn to the world at large when your bullying finally provokes a response and claim your complete innocence. I see it every day in my house with my three year old and my one year old, big brother constantly chipping on little brother. It's the metaphor that defines Texas football life, nobody's messing with Texas, Texas is doing all the messing.
What you've got, in essence, is a political tiff, a blame game of the highest college football world order.
Texas wants to be independent as anyone with half a brain who read its contract with ESPN now knows, and Texas A&M is sick of being the little brother to Texas's big brother. A&M standing alone will never eclipse Texas in the Longhorn state; A&M + the SEC stands a damn good chance of making that happen. So we're left in a waiting game right now, each side circling the other with his hand on the holster, seeking the opportunity to blame its rival for bringing the Big 12 to an end.
The University of Texas's passive-aggressiveness even has the Real Housewives of Orange County blushing. (Yes, I watch the show. And if you're married and say you don't...liars.)
As I've said before, this conference is no marriage of equals, they might as well rename the Big 12 the TBC -- Texas's Bitches Conference.
Because with every passing week, Texas doles out the latest indignity, a slap in the face to its members.
First, came the elaborate charade that Texas was going to leave the Big 12 for the Pac 16, a brilliant strategic ploy that sent Colorado and Nebraska in search of greener pastures. Minus two members a sudden renegotiation of the television deal left Texas extorting ransom money from the weakest members of the Big 12.
The money for 12 became the money for 10, with Texas grabbing a bigger share than ever before.
Not content with this money -- bullies never are -- Texas formed an individual network with ESPN. Oh, and by the way, that network formation? It kills the chances of the Big 12 ever having its own network based on the contractual language that Texas agreed to. Grin and bear it, Texas says, holding a six-shooter up to the rest of the Big 12, college football's own version of a train robbery.
Frank and Jessie James got nothing on the Longhorns.
DeLoss Dodds is smart, he knows what he's doing, pushing his rivals to the edge until, finally, in a modern-day San Jacinto, a battle rages. But a lot of y'all recognize what's going on too. And if we're all smart enough to see this provocation, maybe, just maybe, it's time for Texas A&M to finally punch back. DeLoss Dodds can't take lessons from Lincoln when he's behaving like Santa Ana.
Mess with an Aggie long enough and eventually it will show you it's got horns too.
That's why it's time for Texas A&M fans to finally demand a response for all of Texas's provocations. Right now Texas thinks its high-stepping into a billion dollar network end zone, it's time for A&M's 12th man to put the Longhorns on their ass.
Because let's be clear about something, the SEC plus Texas A&M will give the Longhorns a ten-gallon ass-whipping for years to come.