I'll have a regular links post later this afternoon, but I'm headed up to the ESPN campus today through Friday, so posting will be pretty light through the rest of the week.
Sunday was the unofficial "Spring Football Is Over, So Put Together a Big Conference Realignment Package Day" at newspapers around the Big 12, and here's a roundup of what they had to say:
Dave Matter at the Columbia Tribune take an in-depth look at the Big Ten Network, the conference's meal ticket.
"And as the Big Ten Network approaches the third anniversary of its Aug. 30, 2007, launch, Delany’s billion-dollar baby might be the most influential factor in the story that’s holding college sports captive this spring and beyond: conference expansion.
The network, already in the black after its first two years on air, is the Big Ten’s cash cow with the golden udders. And everyone wants a sip.
“To me, there was never a question if the network would be successful,” Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman said in a recent phone interview. “The question was, how successful would we be? Would we be able to really create a significant enterprise here?”
Yes, you have."
And in a blog, he asks if a conference network would work elsewhere.
“You have to have a culture that is supportive of those kind of big ideas,” said [Kevin Weiberg, the former Big 12 commissioner who helped launch the Big Ten Network and now works as the Pac-10 deputy commissioner]. “I think the Big Ten has always been great in that regard. Working there at the time the network was struggling to gain distribution, it was remarkable how well the members really hung in there. There was very little sniping. There were a few folks who expressed frustration, but they were very limited.”
That sounds like the opposite of the Big 12, according to this column by Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World.
...the Big 12, where nerves are getting frayed as some members continue to talk about leaving for the Big Ten.
"We're getting tired of their act," one Big 12 source said. "It's starting to tick people off."
History suggests it isn't a surprise that Missouri and Nebraska are doing the saber-rattling.
Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne has never been an enthusiastic Big 12 fan. The school's football coach when the league was formed, Osborne was frustrated when some Big Eight academic standards were not adopted by the Big 12.
Vahe Gregorian of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Missouri's invite to the Big Ten isn't the sure thing it may seem:
MU's posturing, said one Big 12 source, is comparable to being in a marriage but openly seeking another partner, creating an impression that it is both whining and rattling a tin cup to the Big Ten — acts that could backfire both in terms of how the Big Ten sees MU and the omelette MU could be scraping off its face if the apparent gambit fails.
"It's your history; it's your culture," one source said. "The Big 12 shouldn't be a second option."
And the Post-Dispatch also has a chart displaying how Missouri fits in with the Big Ten vs. the Big 12 in various athletic and academic categories.
Lastly, Austin Meek of the Topeka Capital-Journal gets some insights on the Big 12/Pac-10 athletic directors' meeting in Phoenix last week from Kansas State AD John Currie.