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PHIL HICKS

I was visiting my niece and her children when the news broke last week about the possibility of Texas and Oklahoma going to the SEC.

As I was leaving to go back to work, my great nephew Jayse, 4, wanted to show me the bird’s nest that is in the entrance-way near the front door of their house.

He told me he had named the birds — Cupcake, Brown (that’s his last name) and Dude.

“Uncle Phil some birds are dudes,” Jayse said.

I said that’s true, not wanting to delve any closer to any talk of birds and bees.

Then I said I hope that’s not who the Longhorns will be playing in non-conference if they go to the SEC.

Jayse said, “Uncle Phil these are birds. Bevo would never play them. They don’t play football.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

But that is one of the things I thought of as I tried to wrap my head around the idea of UT and OU (never understood why Sooners say OU when it is the University of Oklahoma. The same with KU as it is the University of Kansas) leaving the Big 12.

As you see, as a 61-year-old, I get off track sometimes.

It seems as if the two schools will go to the SEC, although I really hate what will happen to TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and the remainder of the Big 12. Now it’s twice TCU has been jilted. It’s not a fun feeling and it is now unfair to Baylor and Texas Tech, just like it was in the late 1990s to SMU, Houston and Rice.

The world of college athletics is changing, no doubt.

Not to make anyone angry, but I do see how players would like to play at “The Swamp” or “Death Valley” instead of Lawrence, Kansas, or Stillwater, Oklahoma, or Manhattan, Kansas.

I understand the reasoning for change. Early on we find out the world revolves around money. That’s No. 1.

No. 2, there’s no doubt the Longhorns and Sooners have been losing recruits to Texas A&M and other Southeastern Conference schools just for the fact the SEC puts more players in the National Football League.

When I grew up there was a loyalty to a certain school. I still love looking back on the old Southwest Conference when you could make easy drives to Waco, Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth for games.

Lots of young players, not saying there’s anything wrong with it, now just want to see where the best option exists to get them closer to the NFL.

Also, I understand how the folks in Norman and Austin would like to have more intriguing teams on their home slate.

Now, both teams play in Dallas each October, while the Sooners have Oklahoma State coming to town every other year. I really don’t understand why they call it Bedlam as Oklahoma leads the football series, 90-18-7. It does include all sports, but the football series does stick out.

As for Texas, after A&M no longer visited Austin, what excites you about the home slate if you are a Longhorn season ticket holder? True, there are games on the schedule in the future with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Arizona State, Michigan and Ohio State, but that is one game every other year.

So when other schools come to Austin or Norman, such as Iowa State or West Virginia, does it really get your motor running?

Having A&M, LSU and Arkansas visit every other year does get the juices flowing. Along with the occasional visit by the Gators, Crimson Tide, Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn, it does make for an attractive schedule.

But back to the birds, namely Cupcake.

This year Texas has Louisiana-Lafayette (definitely not a cupcake) visiting Austin and I can see the Raging Cajuns with 20 starters returning knocking off the Longhorns just like they did to the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa, last year. Sark could be 0-2 to start his career, with Arkansas Game No. 2. Then Rice comes to town.

If it does come to pass in the exodus to the SEC, let’s hope the non-conference slate is at least filled with Tech, Baylor and TCU and not Kent State, Mercer, Austin Peay and directional schools.

I do get that these games go a long way in helping other schools with their athletic budgets, but are they really fun to watch? Maybe it’s an SEC edict?

Maybe one cupcake a year will do.

After all, the other games are for the birds, at least Jayse’s.

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— Email: Phil Hicks at phicks@tylerpaper.com