Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Friday, September 2, 2011
Pinkel is sharp, but who is he criticizing?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

WACO, Texas -- We're a day away from the official start of the season, and hours away from kickoff here, but realignment issues can't seem to stay out of the headlines.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel took to Tim Brando's Yahoo! radio show on Friday and had this to say (transcription courtesy of the Columbia Tribune's Dave Matter):
"Obviously, we have some issues in our league. When you have Nebraska leave one year. Colorado leaves. Also now Texas A&M. Three really good football teams. … You know, we’ve got some issues. Without question there’s some issues that other leagues don’t have. You don’t hear anything about any other league in the country having these kind of problems. We all know where it starts. Mike Alden’s not the point man here. Dan Beebe is. Dan Beebe’s our commissioner. He’s the guy to ask. I don’t know what they’re going to do. I’m just focusing now on winning the football game. … There’s just no one in the country, no other league in the country, where this stuff goes on. And it’s really a shame because the potential of the league is just so tremendous. Anyway, I have no control over it. We’re just trying to beat Miami [Ohio]."

The first time I saw Pinkel's quote was on Twitter, but I only heard the first half, and it seemed fairly obvious and pointed directly at Austin, Texas.

Now, after hearing the segments immediately following regarding Beebe, I'm not so sure.

Is he taking a shot at Texas (which, yes, has been involved in each significant conflict that's faced the Big 12 in recent years) or Dan Beebe?

Am I the only one who thinks it's maybe a little of both?

His comments about Texas are spot on, and he's been pointed about the Longhorns already this offseason. But Beebe?

The commissioner has poorly handled some of the issues surrounding the birth of the Longhorn Network, but Nebraska and Colorado's exit last summer was rooted more in problems he inherited, rather than caused.

But as a coach who is ultimately responsible for everything that goes on in his program (Pinkel inherited some problems, too. Ask him about what St. Louis high school coaches thought of Missouri's program when he took over in 1999.), he may tend to blame the man ultimately in charge.

Either way, I think Pinkel sees some sort of discipline here, perhaps private to quell even more tension in the league.

Tommy Tuberville, you may remember, was reprimanded for comments questioning the league's future last year.

Does Pinkel deserve it? That's for Beebe to decide.

With the league trying to convince teams like BYU to join, there's no doubt Pinkel's comments come at a poor time.

He's not wrong, but when it comes to fixing those problems prevalent in the Big 12, he's not helping.