Blackwell’s Commentary: Shut Up and Play

One thing’s for sure about the Texas Aggies: these dudes love to celebrate. And they are good at it, too. They had a dandy one planned for Wednesday. Probably going to be balloons and envelopes stuffed with Monopoly money and maybe a mint julep or three, a hoorah of grand proportion planned for the announcement that yes, the Aggies were officially headed to the SEC. The band had their boots shined; Reveille’s attendants probably had hair and teeth brushed perfectly (the dog, not the attendants, silly you).
Except, well, nothing is official yet. Nothing has been “official” in college football for a long, long time. Nothing is ever official, is it? Everything is always “fluid.” Everything is a secret. Nobody trusts anybody. Is the field still 100 yards long?And why aren’t the Aggies celebrating? Because SEC officials want assurances that they won’t be sued by some school in the Big 12 who feels like they are getting the short shaft in all of this conference movement. Reportedly (and we don’t know for sure because no one is talking, of course), Baylor is the one school that might very well take legal action should A&M take the SEC leap.The Bears, in fact, have started a “Don’t Mess With Texas Football” campaign designed to keep the Aggies and anybody else in Texas from bolting to places where the grass is perceived to be greener. How will this end? No one knows, of course. Baylor is probably scared to death about someday replacing the Oklahoma Sooners with the Texas State Bobcats and you can’t blame them for that.The Longhorn Network has been blamed for all of this. Though to me, the LHN is like the tree falling in the forest: if no one can actually see the network, does it really exist? Other schools are painting Texas as the bad guy for creating this monolith, but I dare say any of the schools who are crying would’ve signed on the $300 million dotted line if given the opportunity, Aggies included. Further, if you don’t like Texas, then stopping depositing the Texas checks. Hypocrisy, thy name is everybody.To say schools and athletic directors and presidents are overreacting to the LHN is an overstatement of Biblical proportions. If a recruit is going to pick a school because that school has its own network, then you probably don’t want that player to be on your team.Now Bob Stoops and Oklahoma are getting into the mix, threatening to head to the Pac 10 or 12 or whatever (this is speculation because, alas, no one is talking), with Stoops dropping this little gem at his weekly press conference about the annual Texas-Oklahoma game: “I don’t think it’s necessary. I know no one wants to hear that, but life changes and you’ve got to change with it, to whatever degree. If it works, great. I love the game, but if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.”Some are saying now that A&M might be stuck if they can’t thwart potential lawsuits and thus appease the SEC. Some are saying that the only way the Big 12 survives, should A&M leave, is if Texas dismantles the LHN. Some are saying Texas can’t go to the Pac 12 unless the Longhorns agree not to have their own network. And what happens next? Does A&M quickly get assurances that no lawsuit will be filed? Does Oklahoma bolt to the Pac 12? How will all of the movement affect Texas Tech and Baylor? Might Texas go to the Atlantic Coast Conference? Will the Aggies ever get to whoop and holler and break their ribs patting themselves on the back? Will anyone ever actually see the LHN?Stay tuned. Everything is fluid, don’t you know?My answer to all of these questions is the same: I don’t care. Please, just shut up and play.