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You want the truth about joining the Big Ten?



Here's the truth.

Here's the truth.

Here's the truth.

Here's the truth.

The Big Ten is a pipe dream. There is no serious interest on the part of the Big Ten to take Florida State. When fans discuss FSU to the Big Ten, it's always well down the list of schools of interest, and comes in the 'well, it'd be nice if they could just get past that AAU issue' section. The noise about FSU to the Big Ten is all fluff.

That doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice. But what it does mean is that the whole discussion is (pardon the pun) academic. This is not a discussion that is in the realm of reality. The Big Ten doesn't want us, there is no demand for FSU in the Big Ten fandom, there is no interest within the Big Ten pantheon for helping FSU get into the AAU. They ain't the Peace Corps or the Department of Education. They do athletics and grants and pretending they do public service is just stirring the pot on realignment.

"Larry the Liquidator" famously said in Other People's Money,

Amen. And amen. And amen. You have to forgive me. I'm not familiar with the local custom. Where I come from, you always say "Amen" after you hear a prayer. Because that's what you just heard - a prayer. Where I come from, that particular prayer is called "The Prayer for the Dead." You just heard The Prayer for the Dead, my fellow stockholders, and you didn't say, "Amen." This company is dead. I didn't kill it. Don't blame me. It was dead when I got here.

It's too late for prayers. For even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred, and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the infrastructure did the other thing, we would still be dead. You know why? Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence. We're dead alright. We're just not broke. And you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure.

You know, at one time there must've been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company?

You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let's have the intelligence, let's have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future. "Ah, but we can't," goes the prayer. "We can't because we have responsibility, a responsibility to our employees, to our community. What will happen to them?" I got two words for that: Who cares? Care about them? Why? They didn't care about you. They sucked you dry. You have no responsibility to them. For the last ten years this company bled your money. Did this community ever say, "We know times are tough. We'll lower taxes, reduce water and sewer." Check it out: You're paying twice what you did ten years ago. And our devoted employees, who have taken no increases for the past three years, are still making twice what they made ten years ago; and our stock - one-sixth what it was ten years ago.

Who cares? I'll tell you. Me. I'm not your best friend. I'm your only friend.

You can watch the rest of the speech, which is among the finest defenses of capitalism ever. But DeVito/Larry "The Liquidator" Garfield ultimately makes as his point that there is only one friend to all the investors gathered: him. That's essentially the same point I want to make when it comes to realignment: the Big 12 is our only friend. It doesn't matter if the Big Ten does this or the SEC does that. What brings us to the money we joined the Atlantic Coast Conference to earn is the important thing. Cutting away from the dross that is the ACC, that is the best use of our time and effort. Hoping and wishing does nothing for us, and that is all the Big Ten is, hoping and wishing.

Now, you can claim all the spiders you want, or malign me personally for quoting this huge scene in a movie on a sports site. But the reality is that there is more to this analogy than the ACC being a "buggy whip" of a football conference. Joining the Big Ten would also be joining a dying market and eventually propping it up. I love the Big Ten's money. I love the Big Ten's reputation. But joining it would be joining the Rust Belt. Its population is shrinking and while it will hold a commanding presence in politics and education sheerly through inertia, it's not going to grow like Texas will. It's not going to expand like the West or Florida will. It's not going to be a growth area ever again. Nobody wants to live there.

Meanwhile, Texas is the fastest growing state in the union. It's the keystone of the Big 12, and the Big 12 would be happy to have us. Their fans want us. TV networks will drool over the idea of having Florida and Texas in the same conference. They have money waiting for us. Let's do what we came to do, let's do what we intended to when we started in the ACC: GO GET IT.

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