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Enjoy the Silence
2:15 P.M., THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 2010

JUSTIN CANGE

Enjoy the Silence

So the Big 12 Conference's version of a Cuban Missile Crisis has come and gone. Lost are two members, the league's two-division format, and possibly the original namesake of the now 10-school alignment. Soon to make its debut in the league will be an 18-game round robin conference basketball slate, a football schedule that will, for the first time, feature games against each and every conference foe every season and now no more arguments about the conference's disparity between the two divisions.

For now, Big 12 fans can enjoy the silence.

We can all read about who came out as winners and losers from this tumultuous turn of events that spread across three time zones. The TV money being discussed and the heightened exposure from a reconstructed contract with Fox Sports is impressive.

The most important outcome from this whole affair for Baylor is that our football team will, for the first time since the conference's inception, get a true measuring stick vs. the rest of the conference (North and South). Significant strides still need to be taken to compete in one of the country's top leagues, but BU should absolutely start to make headway under the new 'balanced schedule' format.

On top of that, the conference's new format for hoops means the Big 12 (new naming suggestions are welcome) becomes the hands-down toughest league in America. The Bears will travel to Allen Fieldhouse and Mizzou Arena each season. Not easy. Then again, schools that were in the North no longer have four combined games against our departed brethren in Colorado and Nebraska.

My mood drastically improved since fielding and making a litany of phone calls during those first few days when the story broke, CU defected and all hope looked lost.

The sentiment to and from friends from not only Baylor, but all other schools throughout the conference seemed uniform; "this (apparent realignment) doesn't even make sense!."

It didn't make sense. Not ever.

Financial stakes aside, the Pac-10 threatened to wipe out the two best things about collegiate sports (other than a strong television contract): rivalries and road trips.

Texas fans were never able to convince me that they were stoked about the idea of a weekend roadie in Tucson, while A&M fans didn't have much built-up hate for would-be rivals Auburn and Kentucky; and nobody seemed content with wiping their hands clean of the love-to-hate relationships with our intrastate opponents.

Those possible conference realignment scenarios being discussed didn't allow any of us to sleep well at night. And some scenarios would have resulted in who knows what school being our end-of-the-season rivalry game.

We're all sleeping better now that common sense has prevailed and the Lone Star State schools are staying together in the Big 12. Seeing as Baylor was seemingly on the verge of losing a major portion of its national identity while the school's many long-standing rivalries appeared in jeopardy, we are huge winners.

Now it's time to win on the field, in all sports, and prove our worth if and when the conference realignment limbo occurs.

No rest for the weary.

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