The threat of Nebraska jilting the Big 12 sent a shiver down the conference spine so fierce that we were told a Cornhusker exit would crumble the league faster than a failed Jenga move.
Now with Nebraska and Colorado gone, and no football championship game, a 10-team Big 12 is suddenly worth more? Will the Big 12's Sugar Daddy please step forward?
An 11th hour TV deal is apparently saving a conference that on Friday was being read its last rites. Out of nowhere, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma are reportedly being promised an annual take of $20 million. The remaining seven schools are swooning at $14 million to $17 million. Everyone would make about twice what they did under the current Big 12 TV deal ($7 million to $11 million). Not bad for a dying conference.
In these difficult economic times, the barely breathing Big 12 is suddenly swimming in cash equal to the SEC?
Earlier this month, the Big 12 announced it woud distribute a record $139 million to its 12 members. That topped the $130 million distribution the year before. And now, the Big 12 -- granted, with 10 mouths to feed instead of 12 -- is positioning itself to dole out between $170 million and $200 million? Without Nebraska. Without a football title game.
Perhaps commissioner Dan Beebe actually found a treasure chest in his backyard.
The Big 12 has a Sugar Daddy. And apparently just in time.