NCF Nation: Greg Pruitt
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Even a revered figure like Walter Cronkite can inspire hatred and jealously in the Big 12.
"Uncle Walter's" dulcet tones have been used for an advertising campaign to hype enrollment at Texas, a school that he once attended.
"We're Texas," Cronkite booms out during commercial breaks for Longhorn games at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and on network broadcasts. "What starts here changes the world."
But to most other rivals across the conference, that advertising slogan encapsulates all that they detest with the Big 12's largest and wealthiest school.
Longhorn fans are considered arrogant and privileged by some of their Big 12 opponents. The school's vast accumulation of wealth through the Permanent University Fund helped provide it with a huge early head start over most universities. That largesse has grown over the years, enabling Texas to have the largest endowment in 2007 of any public university in the nation.
That money, along with a deep collection of big-time boosters, has helped fuel an incredible facilities push for the Longhorns over the last few years that has left most other Big 12 schools choking in their dust. Texas coaches typically are paid more than their counterparts across the nation and most don't want to leave the Austin lifestyle if they can help it.
The Longhorns' sports marketing program made history in the euphoria of their 2005 national championship by generating more royalties than any college or university.
Recent additions at DKR Stadium have made it the conference's biggest facility and the one with the coolest trinkets. The massive Godzillatron scoreboard is the world's largest HDTV, a 55-by-134 foot conversation starter that is only 11 yards narrower than the football field.
The natural propensity of some Texans to be loud and boastful about their team's successes tends to rub many of those from outside the state in the wrong manner.
"We don't keep up with the Jones," Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds once famously said. "We are the Joneses."
Try telling that to fans of the 11 other Big 12 teams who struggle to keep up with their neighbors with the biggest house and largest budget.
The Longhorns are considered the biggest rival for all three Big 12 Texas-based schools and Oklahoma, too. Ask any Arkansas fan who they love to hate the most and you'll still hear Texas mentioned, even though the Longhorns and Razorbacks haven't been conference rivals in 17 years.
Other schools have their haters as well. Oklahoma is perceived by many Longhorn boosters on par with athlete's foot and increasing gas prices. The Sooners have also rubbed many in Texas over the years by plundering state for many great football players like Greg Pruitt, Jack Mildren, Brian Bosworth and Adrian Peterson. And the Sooners' recent success in the Red River Rivalry under Bob Stoops has been difficult for Texas fans to swallow, along with their history-making back-to-back Big 12 titles.
Colorado fans are considered to be apart from the rest of the conference because of how different the Rocky Mountain lifestyle is with many other schools in the conference. Texas A&M's military traditions, although beloved by former students, aren't exactly embraced by many rivals. And Nebraska still is perceived by many other rivals as "The Big Red Monster," no matter how quaint their fans' tradition of clapping for vanquished opponents at Memorial Stadium might be.
But everybody else sits behind Texas -- at least in the Big 12.
Why? The slogan says it all.