I was preparing for K-State's final conference football game with Nebraska (and most likely final regular season football game ever) when it hit me: This conference will never be the same again.... at least for people living in Kansas.
Sure, the conference changed dramatically when it went from the Big 8 to the Big 12, but to me, that was not nearly as drastic as it will be next year when Nebraska and Colorado exit for the Big 10 and the Pac 10, respectively. Why, you may ask?
Because living in Kansas, we are completely surrounded by Big 12 country. To our north is Nebraska, to our east is Missouri, to our south is Oklahoma (and Oklahoma State), and to our west is Colorado. No matter which way you travel, you're going through a state in the "Big 12 footprint." Next year, that cozy Big 12 blanket will be cut in half. People in Northeast Kansas who (unexplainedly) happen to be Husker fans, will now be more concerned with Ohio State and Michigan than KU and K-State. Heartbreaking.
How will it all pan out? Who knows? Maybe Texas will receive another offer it truly can't refuse this time. Maybe a playoff system will make it all better, and maybe the conference will pick somebody from the Mountain West of the SEC. Heck, maybe it will stay the same as it it... or at least how it will be in 2011-12. But whichever way it ends up, it won't be the same as it has been ever since I learned what college sports in America's heartland are all about. And that makes me sad.