Maybe, just maybe, it takes the Three Stooges to figure out who's where - hey, that's almost an Abbott & Costello - in this amoebic conference realignment talk in major college athletics.
From 1935, and "Restless Knights:"
Larry: "All for one!"
Moe: "One for all!"
Curly: "Every man for himself!"
It seems Curly has a good grasp of the matter, where all of these schools seem to be looking out for No. 1 - and, really, who can blame them? In the shrinking (again) Big 12, for instance, everyone must be sleeping with the lights on, so they can see who's going where 24 hours a day.
So, I made some phone calls to connections in the Big East, ACC, Big 12 and SEC, trying to figure out what's what. What follows is a compilation of what I found while digging.
One of those sources called the situation "fluid" - an understatement unless "fluid" is what you'd call the recent tropical-spawned floodwaters that brought disaster throughout the Northeast.
Anyway, Texas A&M wants to move from the Big 12 to become the SEC's 13th member, no secret there. The only thing holding that up is the threat of lawsuits from within the Big 12, which stands to lose its lucrative TV deal with Fox, and maybe life as we know it in the BCS.
Texas, playing its own card with its $300 million ESPN-produced Longhorn Network, suddenly is all for keeping the Big 12 together (nine schools without A&M) and has expressed a willingness for equitable revenue sharing - something UT hadn't done earlier.
The linchpin now is Oklahoma. The Sooners hold the cards to the Big 12 future, because if Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott can convince his university presidents to take the Sooners and Oklahoma State, they're pulling a Horace Greeley.
If the Sooners (and Cowboys) decide to stay with the Big 12, it could be bad news for the Big East. Here's why. The school everyone in the Big 12 - well, everyone except Texas - wants to bring in to replace A&M and get back to 10 is TCU, which is supposed to make its Big East debut next season.
"Texas is the only one on the Big 12 side blocking this right now," I was told.
The Horned Frogs back-tracking for their southwest base would be worse for the Big East than a hit to the conference's image, trust me. However, most Big Easters don't think it will happen. One said, "TCU probably views, for one thing, the Big East as an easier road to the BCS than through Texas and maybe Oklahoma."
Texas would rather have new football independent BYU replace A&M, so the Horned Frogs don't slice into Texas' clout in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
However, if the Oklahoma schools leave the Big 12 and Texas still wants to save the league, the 'Horns will have to grit their teeth and dip into Conference USA, maybe a combination from among Tulsa, SMU, Houston, Rice and UTEP.