It is really all over now except for the formalities of a press conference and ceremony. This is the most important event pertaining to college athletics of our lifetime. Feel free to read that sentence again. The Oklahoma State Cowboys are about to join the first super-conference in the history of college athletics -- all BCS powerhouse Division I schools, all schools with well-rounded athletic programs, and all schools that demand attention nationally.
This league will have the top four, and five of the top seven, all-time NCAA championship winning schools. Oklahoma State is fourth behind UCLA, Stanford, and USC.
The conference is led by football powerhouses Texas, Oklahoma, and USC. It includes some of the most picturesque settings in college sports with football at Washington, football at Oregon, football at the Rose Bowl with UCLA, and just about any event on the campuses of Stanford, California, or Colorado.
It will include the high energy of football at Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Oregon. The high decibels of basketball at Oklahoma State's Gallagher-Iba Arena and The Drum at Texas. This league will have it all. It will be the pace-setter of the super conferences that likely will soon follow.
It is the work of Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott. It was Scott that was working and developing his plan while the Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was doing more talking about that league's expansion.
It is well planned and mapped out for success. Oklahoma State has many people to thank for its entry to this biggest of stages in college athletics. Every one from Mr. Iba to Terry Don Phillips and just about any campus or athletic leader in between. You are your heritage, but it was current athletic director Mike Holder and his friendship with billionaire businessman and oil magnet Boone Pickens, and Pickens' willingness to step up with heart and checkbook, that put OSU squarely in a position to be the chosen one and not one of the ones left out.
This is a great time, a time to celebrate and a time to push harder for greatness as a University and as an college athletic program performing on the grandest of stages.
It is also a time for memories. I sat at my desk Saturday and cried like a baby. I looked on YouTube, which I don't do often, at the bands and fight songs at Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. I looked up and played that little funky song, Word Up, that has become a staple of the Baylor Band and their smaller pep band.
I thought of the places that I've been to cover games from Lincoln, Nebraska (wow, that last memory at Nebraska was a good one), to Columbia, Missouri, to Lawrence, Kansas. That is my youth and it is my professional career as an adult up to now. I will miss those places, those friends I looked forward to seeing at the schools and in the media. It is sad, but again, thanks to all those that kept OSU stretching for the highest level.
I look at this as not the death of the Big 12. The Big 12 was too short an entity. This is the formal divorce of the Big Eight. Four remaining members, at this time, are moving onward and upward, the other four face uncertain futures. The Texas schools have a different heritage as the Big 12 was a holding area for Texas, A&M, and Tech as they worked toward a more permanent destination.
This is sad as a big chunk of our lives is separating, but these things happen in all areas of life. You have to understand and appreciate where you have been before you can fully reach out and grasp greater accomplishments in the future. I hope all Oklahoma State fans share with me the memories and the great appreciation I have for all schools, all teams, all coaches, and campuses in the Big Eight, and yes, the Big 12. I will never forget.
Now let's prepare for the future because with this group of schools, a visionary and driven commissioner and conference staff, Oklahoma State's own dynamic leadership and positive administration, coaches, and student-athletes we have a chance to take the biggest stage and have more success, more fun, and many more grand memories made in our future.
It's time to punch our ticket to the future and a new collegiate athletic life with the Pac-16, or how about this idea for the new name -- U.S. West: The Conference of Champions?