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Football

Monday Musings: Realignment Edition

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

In an ideal world, this edition of Monday Musings would be full of my thoughts on the first weekend that was in the world of college football.

It’s a damn shame that football itself isn’t even close to being the biggest story going on right now within Iowa State athletics, or that the conference known as the Big 12.

Is doomsday for real this time?

If you go strictly off of what you can find on the Internet, it looks that way. It appears that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State’s minds are already on the beaches of California.

I’m still not 100 percent sold that this thing will go down as easily as many assume.

In fact, at this hour, contradicting reports have surfaced from two realignment gurus, Chip Brown (OrangeBloods.com) and Pete Thamel (New York Times).

Brown’s sources indicate that Texas lawmakers are telling the Longhorns to "tap the brakes" on heading west. Thamel has an on-record source saying the opposite.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Probably neither, either way in this situation.

Neither of these journalists would publish that information, just because. These are legitimate reports.

If we’ve learned one thing over the last two years when it comes to this topic, it’s this.

Nothing is ever over. That doesn’t mean that things won’t eventually go down. But nothing is ever over. Even if these super conferences evolve, who’s to say that they won’t blow up in 10 years when schools like Oklahoma State and Auburn are tired of winning five games?

A few more thoughts/links on the topic…

— Be sure to click the Pete Thamel link up above. In it, Themel writes:

A high-ranking college official did say Sunday that the Big East had reached out to multiple Big 12 universities and indicated, much as it did during the Texas-Pac-12 expansion talks last year, that the league would be interested in taking the universities if the Big 12 fell apart. The official said the Big East was not rooting for the demise of the Big 12, but opened up lines of communication in case it dissolved.

Should the Big 12 blow up, there’s no doubt that the Big East would potentially be an option for Iowa State. However, I don’t see this as a slam dunk either. There’s no such thing as a slam dunk in this scenario, for anybody.

— On the Cyclone Radio Network’s Cyclone Game Day (pregame show) Saturday, Jamie Pollard remained cool, calm and collected when vaguely discussing realignment. Not that you should expect anything else from Pollard. I’ve said numerous times that Pollard would be the ideal man to be commissioner of a league. He’s a no BS guy. He’s smart. He’s confident. He’d be the perfect leader. Luckily, he’s fighting for the Cyclones right now. We’re all blind to what is actually going on, but Pollard’s leadership alone should make fans feel at least a little bit at ease during these rough times.

— A week ago, I didn’t think there was much point in Iowa State or any other "leftover" Big 12 school having additional conversations with other leagues, schools, etc. After reading the reports and talking to some people over the weekend, I’m now off of that stance. I’m not sure that Iowa State can actually do anything at this point, but it would be naive to think that nothing is going on behind the scenes.

Two must-read links…

— Mark Cuban (yes that Mark Cuban) published one of the best realignment blogs I’ve read to date on Sunday. Point-by-point, the Dallas Mavricks owner nails it.

— I’m starting to get sick and tired of Kirk Bohls, a respected columnist for the Texas Statesman. There’s no doubt that the man does great work. But everything he writes anymore seems to indicate more bad news for Iowa State. Having said that – his columns are outstanding and I respect Kirk a lot.

Final thoughts…

— I’m not anti-Big East. I’m not anti-anything really. I just want what is best for Iowa State. Up until now, that’s been the Big 12 Conference. At the end of the day, you have to think of it like this. There is a heck of a lot going on that not many people know about. Guys like Jamie Pollard and Gregory Geoffroy are going to put Iowa State in the best possible situation when the smoke has cleared. I really believe that.

— The thing that scares me about the Big East is the same thing that scares me about the Big 12. Let’s hypothetically say that the Cyclones do head east in 2012. Well, what happens in 2014 if the SEC expands and poaches and ACC team? There’s no guarantee that the ACC would head to the Big East, but the very threat itself is enough to make me nervous. As I wrote a few times last week, there’s no such thing as stability.

— The thing that intrigues me about the Big East is that a major television package for that league is still on the table. Expansion would make a lot of sense for that league right now.

— I traveled to Blackhawk Lake with my in-laws yesterday. After a long week, it was time to relax for a few hours. I couldn’t do it. Like many of you, this conference realignment story is as addicting as they come. There’s always "news" popping up on Twitter, this ridiculously awesome CycloneFanatic.com thread, other sites or whatever. Midway through the day, my wife got a little irritated with me. "Quit worrying about things," she said. "You can’t control it. Hope for the best."

I love my  wife. She is consistently my voice of reason.

Those are very true words.

Regardless of how things go down, the next week (or two, or three, or whatever) will likely be historic for Iowa State University. Iowa State isn’t alone. Dozens of schools across America are bound to feel these tremors. From an Iowa State perspective, hopefully it is just that. A tremor. I think that at this point, let’s hope to avoid the earthquake itself.

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