A few more thoughts on realignment...
Dan Beebe: Worst conference commissioner in America. I know that's not going to win any points for outside the box thinking, but if Dan Beebe's job wasn't about to disappear, the Big XII would have ample reason to fire him. There's no reason that he shouldn't have seen this coming -- in fact, he was in talks with the Pac-10 about a scheduling alliance a month ago. In retrospect, it's clear that Larry Scott used that as a cover for stealing half of Beebe's conference out from under his nose. And even a week ago, Beebe seemed unconcerned by a threat that anyone else could have recognized -- did recognize -- was at least credible, if not probable. And when it came time to push for the kind of changes that could have kept the league together -- more equitable revenue sharing or simply knocking together the necessary heads to bring agreement -- Beebe was either unable or (maybe worse) unwilling to get things together. Beebe took over as conference commissioner in September 2007. Less than three years later, his league has been reduced to charred wreckage by two men who are obviously much better at their jobs than Beebe was at his.
Larry Scott is the Pac-10's answer to Roy Kramer. It was the SEC's Kramer who arguably set this whole thing in motion by adding Arkansas and South Carolina in the 1990s. (Interestingly enough, one of the results of his handiwork was the Big XII, which formed largely as a result of the collapse of the Southwest Conference when Arkansas left.) Scott has the same gift that Kramer had -- and still has: The ability to look out 10 years in the future and see what the sport can and likely will look like. Caveat emptor with all of this, of course; if a Pac-16 doesn't work any better than a 16-team WAC, then Scott will go down in history with the inventors of New Coke as would-be innovators who destroyed a valuable brand. But for now, he looks like a visionary. At the very least, he's proven himself to be an able navigator and back-room dealmaker.
The fate of the SEC could be decided in 72 hours. Not that the conference is in a life-or-death situation; it's set to be around for a long time. But the chance for the kind of blockbuster expansion that the conference wants -- A&M and a team to be named later joining the mix -- now has a 72-hour deadline. If nothing else, that gives Gene Stallings and Co. the ability to at least try to play the waiting game, keeping the board divided enough to make a decision impossible and essentially forcing the Aggies to go with the SEC. At some point, there will likely have to be a "yes" or "no" vote on the Pac-10 offer, but the political maneuvering in College Station isn't over yet. If A&M goes to the Pac-10 instead, expect the SEC to take another few months to consider its options. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and West Virginia aren't going anywhere right now. It can wait. But A&M can't and shouldn't. Slive, go ahead and make the offer (I can't believe that you reportedly haven't), and make Roy Kramer proud: Make it an offer the Aggies would be stupid to refuse.
We will, of course, update if anything happens. Barring that, have a great weekend and don't forget to catch the Super Regionals.