The Big 12's Return to Legitimacy Must Start at the Top

J.D. PatrickCorrespondent IApril 2, 2011

The Texas Longhorns went 5-7 last season, and five of those seven embarrassing losses came in front of their own fans.  

Oklahoma has choked away BCS game after BCS game, and in the eyes of many have still not rectified themselves with only a victory over UCONN. 

Oklahoma State chose to award their players championship rings for finishing in a three-way tie for a division of a conference. 

No matter how embarrassing all of these instances may be for the Big 12, they all pale in comparison to how Dan Beebe has represented his conference over the last two years.

It was only a year ago when Jim Delaney, the commissioner of the Big 10 conference, played Beebe and the Big 12 like a Charlie Daniels fiddle.  Nebraska’s move from the Big 12 to the Big 10 was genius on Delaney’s part, and downright incompetent on Beebe’s. 

With a program like that of Nebraska, anything and everything should have been on the table when it came to keeping Nebraska in house.  Beebe pretty much let them go without any fight whatsoever.

Many will counter that argument with the idea that his hands were tied by Texas.  That Beebe is only a Longhorn puppet, and only caters to anything Texas.  While Texas may indeed have a lot of pull in the Big 12, as they should, they aren’t the be-all, end-all. 

Nebraska is every bit as prestigious a program as Texas or Oklahoma, and their brand is just as elite. Letting them go was a monumental mistake.

The fact that there is still some semblance of a conference left is no thanks to Dan Beebe either.  Had the right people not “promised” the right amount of cash, this conference would have been toast. 

Those people didn’t make those promises because of anything Beebe did.  Those financial assurances were made for the benefit of some key member schools, most notably Oklahoma, Texas, and A&M, not Dan Beebe. 

The mess that is the Fiesta Bowl has been all over the news the last couple weeks.  They’re in enough trouble to where they are now being forced to justify their inclusion as a BCS game.  

This thing is working out really well for the BCS too, as they know they have Jerry Jones rubbing his hands together in anticipation.  The Cotton Bowl should have been a BCS game instead of the Fiesta Bowl, anyway.  It was always Rose, Orange, Cotton, and Sugar.

So with all the controversy surrounding the Fiesta Bowl, what does Dan Beebe do?  He comes out in support of that game.  How in the world would the Big 12 having affiliation with the Fiesta Bowl over the Cotton Bowl make any sense for the Big 12 as a conference?

Does he not recall Oklahoma having to play three of its four national championship games in what amounted to home games for the opponent? 

It would seem to make more sense to make it possible for a Big 12 school to play a title game in their own backyard instead of the opponents.  The average fan has every right to question if maybe Beebe’s hands may also be a little “Fiesta Bowl dirty” too.

It seems that if there were a window of opportunity to bring a BCS game into the Big 12's backyard, that the commissioner would be the one leading the charge, instead of taking the time to publicly state his support for the scandal that is the Fiesta Bowl. 

Anyone who ever grew up watching Sesame Street remembers the little song they do “one of these things is not like the others.”  They can see how that would apply if you put Jim Delaney, Larry Scott, Mike Slive, and Dan Beebe together. 

Jim Delaney as mentioned earlier already proved his superiority over Beebe.  Larry Scott is cutting edge.  His plan to expand to 16 teams was forward thinking. 

His idea of playing PAC 12 games on Sundays in 2011 if there is no NFL is another example of his willingness to push the envelope. 

Mike Slive has done nothing but make the SEC the most dominant, watched, and sought after conference in all of college football.  What has Dan Beebe done that even comes close to any of that? 

If any of these other gentleman had been in charge of the Big 12, there's no way they allow the Nebraska defection to occur.  They also would have had the decency to show up in Lincoln and present their division trophy in person. 

They certainly wouldn't have been unprofessional and used "death threats" as an excuse for not going. 

Tom Osborne accurately pointed out at the time how anyone in the public eye such as Beebe, a high-profile coach, or even a politician has to frequently address those types of issues, and do it without going public.

The job of Big 12 commissioner was clearly too big for Dan Beebe.  It appears that the job of Big 12-minus 2 commissioner may also be too big.  If the Big 12 wants to get any of its respect back, like anything else, it has to start at the top. 

He obviously still has his job because he hasn’t ticked off Texas yet.  As soon as Texas figures out that they don’t need him anymore, his days of embarrassing the Big 12 will be over. 

Until then, the rest of the country will continue to point and laugh toward the Big 12, while the conference loses legitimacy in college football. 

Next, everyone will be reading how instrumental Dan Beebe was in getting the Big 12’s automatic BCS bid rescinded.