Will the Last Team to Leave the Big 12 Turn Out the Lights?

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↵Missouri kicked it off by being ↵publicly↵interested in a move to the Big Ten. That wasn't a huge shock. That↵move makes a lot of sense for Missouri geographically and financially;↵it's even pretty decent when it comes to rivals with longtime foe↵Illinois hanging around pretending Northwestern is its big↵intraconference rival. It's something they'd have to consider.↵

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↵But does anyone want to stay in the Big 12? Even if Texas to the Big↵Ten was clearly↵insane and Colorado to the Pac-10 pretty↵unlikely, this latest↵salvo from a Big 8/12 icon has to sting:↵

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↵⇥

↵⇥"We haven't entered into any formal talks with anybody right↵⇥now," [Tom] Osborne said. "We're focusing on the Big 12. But I↵⇥don't think that means if somebody wanted to pick up the phone and call↵⇥us, that we'd hang up on them. You listen."↵⇥

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↵Standard boilerplate indicating Nebraska would like to keep its↵options open? Maybe, but Nebraska is clearly not pleased with the↵balance of power in the conference:↵

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↵⇥"I would have to say the center of gravity has moved south," he said.↵⇥"You'd have to say that trend to the south still continues to this day,↵⇥which is a little concerning sometimes for people in the north part of↵⇥the Big 12."↵⇥

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↵The thing about this that's striking is that no one's even talked↵about Nebraska seriously, or talked to them. A couple↵of guys bring it up to Osborne in a press conference and he opens up↵even if gently, on the Big 12 without so much as a phone call from Jim↵Delany. Would a conference approaching Iowa or Kentucky or Boston↵College get the same answer? ACC expansion was a cloak-and-dagger affair↵in which no one was going to say anything until it was done. ↵

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↵Hell, the only quotes about the Big Ten from frequently-mentioned Big↵East schools are basketball coaches complaining↵about the prospect as long ago as↵1990. No one has gone on the record  Even in the BCS'↵red-headed stepchild conference there's more loyalty than there is in↵the Big 12. ↵

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↵The reasons are probably the obvious ones: everyone in the North↵feels ignored. The money is nowhere near that of the Big Ten or SEC, and↵it's not evenly distributed. Texas and Oklahoma re probably shrugging↵and saying "if any of you mugs would win the Big 12 ever maybe↵you'd get some respect," and they're not wrong. But if you're↵wondering whether loyalty and tradition will win out against ten million↵dollars, the scale seems decidedly tilted to the money. ↵

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↵(H/T to ESPN's Adam↵Rittenberg.)↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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