Dr. Saturday

How the Pac-16′s moment passed again: Would you believe it was all part of Oklahoma’s grand plan?

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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OK, be honest: You didn't really fall for all that "Oklahoma's moving to the Pac-12" stuff, did you? With the Board of Regents authorizing the university president to explore an escape route and the president publicly dissing the stability of the Big 12 and all that? You did? The thing about demanding the commissioner's resignation or else? Seriously?

Because now that the whole thing with the Pac-12 is basically over, Oklahoma can let us in on a little secret: It was all just one big bluff for the good of the Big 12:

A high-ranking source from OU told The Oklahoman on Wednesday that both schools [Oklahoma and Oklahoma State] have actually been working behind the scenes to sell Big 12 reform to other schools in the conference.

"But frankly, we wanted the impression out there that we might go to the Pac-12 because that gave us some leverage," the source said. "We were using that as leverage to say, 'Hey, you want us to stay? Let's have some of these reforms.' "
[…]
"Really, we kind of hoped that the announcement [that talks with the Pac-12 had fallen through] ... wouldn't come for another day or so," the OU source said. "Every day we had gave us a little more leverage to talk about these reforms."

See? The Sooners had your back the whole time, Baylor. They never really wanted to go anywhere. And even if they did, it was Texas that botched the deal by "pushing to get special concessions and exemptions for its network." Which doesn't even matter because Oklahoma's plan is proceeding perfectly.{YSP:MORE}

If you swallow that line, David Boren's got a nice oceanfront condo in Norman he's looking to sell. The Sooners were bound for the Pac-12, lock, stock and barrel, right up until the moment on Tuesday afternoon that they weren't, after word came down that the Pac-12 had decided to pass. But it does look like they're going to get their way in one regard: According to the Tulsa World, there's "a consensus among Big 12 leaders" to ask commissioner Dan Beebe to step down, and make former Big 8 commish Chuck Neinas his temporary replacement. Even Texas is giving a little ground toward a more level playing field, making noises about sharing all television revenue equally among every conference member as long as it gets to keep everything it earns through the Longhorn Network.

If it makes good on that, the only major hurdle to a resolution that salvages a nine-team Big 12 is getting the LHN to backtrack on its plans to air high school games and at least one Big 12 conference game, a movement that seemed to be off to a pretty good start before Texas A&M sent half the country spiraling into crisis mode with its apparent defection to the SEC. Now that things have settled a bit, there even appears to be another movement afoot — "a very, very long shot" — to make one more go at keeping A&M in the fold. If the Aggies are still holding out hope for concessions in the Big 12, though, man, that is one hell of a bluff.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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