Okay, so this is weird, even for me. The bye week does weird things.
Lights down. A single flute begins playing "The Eyes of Texas" piano in E minor. Spotlight on DELOSS DODDS, TEXAS, who is front stage left. All actors will address the audience directly and not each other.
TEXAS: Howdy, y'all, and welcome to my show. Now, you may wonder "what's a guy who's part of this play doing talking about what you're about to see?" You may also wonder what my name is. I apologize; that's rude of me. My name's DeLoss. DeLoss Dodds for full, Texas for short. This here creation is my doing. See, I've got friends, and my friends like nice things. And so I want to get them nice things, but to do that I need money. And when I need money, the world shakes.
Raise spotlight on front stage right, TOM OSBORNE, NEBRASKA.
NEBRASKA: Don't listen to him. The last time we did this, Texas wanted to be friends. They say it'd be okay, that we'd get our own. They lied. They always lie. They got the better part of the deal from the outset. Have I no pride?
TEXAS: Now, Nebraska's been gone for a while. They're still bitter. I don't know why. We never meant them any harm, we were just watching out for our own. That's all we've done. It's not my fault Nebraska wanted to do their own thing.
NEBRASKA: When we saw what Texas wanted to do, what their plans were, that was it. It's not our fault we need to leave. You think we want to leave Oklahoma out in the dust?
Raise spotlight on rear stage left, TEXAS A&M.
TEXAS A&M: I can't believe Texas put me behind them in this play. That's so like them. There has to be something better out there. Can anyone even see me?
All lights come on. The BEVO CHORUS enters rear stage right. COLORADO and UTAH enter mid stage left. COLORADO is played by a female of moderate attractiveness, but hasn't showered in a couple of days. UTAH looks like a freshman pledge.
BEVO: What about tradition? What about conference loyalty? What about us?
COLORADO and UTAH, as one: We're bit players.
COLORADO: I had this ...thing with Nebraska on the side. I wasn't proud of it, and I didn't like when Nebraska made me do the dishes in the morning in order so we could go out in public. But Nebraska didn't think I mattered. Nebraska never cared about me. Nebraska never called me. And one day, I called Nebraska and found out his number was disconnected. I never got a forwarding address.
UTAH: Look, all I know is I got drunk one day and this guy in a hovercraft showed up at my door the following morning. He was promising freedom. Freedom from what, I haven't a clue. But it was a hovercraft, man. A hovercraft!
COLORADO: Utah got drunk at my house. We had run into each other across the years, and we've known each other since we were children, but my mother didn't like his parents. Single mothers were Satan's work, his dad told me. We didn't hang out at all. But I'm my own person now. I can matter!
LARRY SCOTT, PAC-12 enters mid stage left, next to COLORADO and UTAH. ENTIRE ORCHESTRA plays "Also Sprach Zarathustra" while Scott is onstage. MIKE SLIVE, SEC enters next to LARRY SCOTT.
LARRY SCOTT: I should've OWNED this entire play. This was MINE. My hovercraft was perfect, it was a master creation. With one master stroke, I could've gone from a cute little Pacific empire to a national power. That's all I'm after. I want to matter, and I want my property to matter. I have friends. My friends want to matter, too. I can do this.
NEBRASKA, gesturing at LARRY SCOTT: Who the heck is this guy? You don't just go and grab fame. You don't grab popularity. It's gifted to you, and you spend the rest of your life chasing it. I'm too important to play second fiddle to a power grab. I mean, Texas? Really? We've been winning championships since before you were born. Who are you to dare to talk to me this way?
OKLAHOMA, OKLAHOMA STATE, TEXAS TECH, KANSAS, KANSAS STATE, IOWA STATE, AND MISSOURI enter mid stage right and end up in the middle of the stage. MISSOURI is wearing drag, a bad wig, caked makeup, and holding a 40 of Schlitz. MISSOURI runs across stage, and dives at NEBRASKA'S feet.
MISSOURI: Why don't I matter? What have I done to be cast aside like chattel? I matter! I'm important! I don't want to be part of this play anymore! Nebraska, take me with you!
NEBRASKA looks down at MISSOURI, looks up, and exits stage right.
MISSOURI: Where are you going, Nebraska? Take me with you!
TEXAS: I don't know what that was about. We never did anything to Nebraska, and when the hovercraft came, I knew our time was due.
OKLAHOMA, OKLAHOMA STATE, and TEXAS TECH step forward to front stage center. KANSAS, KANSAS STATE, and IOWA STATE step to far stage center.
OKLAHOMA: What Texas forgot to tell you was he was working on his own craft, his own deal. He told us he'd take us all along for the ride to the promised land, but instead we got ...this. Texas is a nice enough guy, but he always wants things his way. Damn near alienated the whole lot of us [gestures at OKLAHOMA STATE and TEXAS TECH], but somehow it all held together. I don't know how. Lost our best friend from this, too.
BEVO: DAN BEEBE!
PLASTIC DAN BEEBE descends from the rafters. BEEBE is voiced by TEXAS. MISSOURI stands up, dusts itself off, and goes to stand with KANSAS, KANSAS STATE, and IOWA STATE.
BEEBE: ALL HAIL BEEBE SMART AND WISE AND BENEVOLENT. I COME BEARING FRUIT AND MONEY.
COLORADO: What the heck is this about?
TEXAS A&M: Who is he even talking to? Why does he sound like Texas? I don't like this. Mike, do you like me? Please tell me you like me. I don't want to be a part of this anymore.
BEEBE: I HAVE MAGIC BEANS FOR ALL. PREPARE THE ION CANNON OF AWESOME.
COLORADO: I'm not sticking around for this.
COLORADO and UTAH: We're bit players, but we're setting this in motion.
LARRY SCOTT: I won't get everything I want yet, but all in time. For now, I've got what I came here for. The rest can wait.
COLORADO, UTAH, and LARRY SCOTT exit mid stage left. One clarinet begins playing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" in E minor.
OKLAHOMA: I don't want to be here anymore. This will come crashing down over all our heads. It's pride, arrogance, submissiveness in all directions. Except toward Texas. Texas gets everything.
TEXAS A&M: Why is everyone not talking to me? Why can't someone speak to me in person? Mike, where are you?
TEXAS: You better believe I planned all of this. See, what I didn't tell y'all - and I apologize, for that was rude of me - is I have my own oil drill. It's great. But it comes with a price.
MID STAGE LIGHTS shine on the top half of the stage. It is plain to the audience that all members onstage have strings attached to their arms and limbs. A large puppeteer's hand can be seen at the top of the stage. MID STAGE LIGHTS are turned off.
TEXAS: I don't want that price, but I have to pay it. It's the cost of ownership, and it's the cost of freedom. You make bargains with entities you don't know and you don't understand, and the next thing you know, it's all falling apart at the seams.
BAYLOR enters mid stage right.
BEVO: Who dares shake the careful balance?
TEXAS A&M: This is awful. I can't believe I'm stuck in this situation that I had nothing to do with. All I wanted to do was play with big brother, but he went and got his own car and drove off. He just left me here, with all the bills and this stupid cat with three legs. I don't even like cats. I want free of these bonds and yokes. Mike, take me! Take me please!
MIKE SLIVE: I guess I should be here, right? After all, I made my name on being the first to act, and being the smartest when I did act. But my hands are tied. I can't buy this play from Texas like I'd want to; Texas is too strong, too dangerous. Next thing I know, I'd end up with a knock on the door at 3 AM with a very angry elephant at my front door. I don't want that. But yet, I'm here. What am I doing? Even I don't know at times.
BAYLOR: I don't like this. I wasn't a big deal once, not so long ago. But now, I matter more than I ever have. Have you ever have everything taken from you in one fell swoop? I haven't. I don't want to experience that.
TEXAS A&M: This isn't right. I don't know what Texas was thinking. It was never about respect for Texas, it was just about money.
TEXAS: I love getting paid. All I want is to get paid in the way I want to get paid. Is that so wrong? Why is that so hard to understand?
TEXAS A&M: I have to get out. This is just too much. MIKE! HELP!
MIKE SLIVE: I don't know who's yelling at me. Why are people yelling at me?
DAN BEEBE: NOBODY ORDERS PIZZA WITHOUT TALKING TO ME FIRST.
BAYLOR: You can't leave, Texas A&M! I won't let you!
TEXAS A&M: I have to get out. This isn't fair, this isn't right. MIKE! WHY AREN'T YOU RETURNING MY PHONE CALLS?
TEXAS: Texas A&M always made a big deal of things. I don't really understand what the problem is. Everything's fair.
MIKE SLIVE: Is this my line? Am I supposed to take Texas A&M? I don't even know what I'll do with them on their own. I don't need a single team. It's like one earring. Who does that?
MISSOURI runs and dives at MIKE SLIVE'S feet.
MISSOURI: I heard from a ...friend of mine. Yes! A friend of mine. I have markets! I make bread! I can do the dishes! This is too much! MIKE! TAKE ME WITH YOU!
WEST VIRGINIA enters mid stage left and dives at MIKE SLIVE'S feet. JOHN SWOFFORD, ACC enters behind WEST VIRGINIA at mid stage left.
WEST VIRGINIA: I KNEW that Mike would never go for Missouri. It's not in Mike's nature to do that, he doesn't care about that podunk state. He wants me! He wants me more than the rest of these losers!
JOHN SWOFFORD: I heard this was where people bought cattle. Sounds like it's a good place for me.
MIKE SLIVE looks down at MISSOURI and WEST VIRGINIA and leaves mid stage right. TEXAS A&M runs after him. WEST VIRGINIA runs and dives at JOHN SWOFFORD'S feet.
WEST VIRGINIA: I KNEW that John would never go for Missouri. It's not in John's nature to do that, he doesn't care about that podunk state. He wants me! He wants me more than the rest of these losers!
PITTSBURGH, SYRACUSE, and ECU enter front stage right.
PITTSBURGH: I don't know why I'm here.
SYRACUSE: I just got a letter in the mail one day that told me to show up here. Nobody gave me lines.
ECU: I totally got a letter in the mail. Again. Want to see it? I can totally show you. I didn't write it myself. Why does nobody believe me?
ECU exits front stage right. JOHN SWOFFORD takes PITTSBURGH and SYRACUSE by the arm and exits front stage right. LARRY SCOTT enters mid stage right. ENTIRE ORCHESTRA plays "Also Sprach Zarathustra" while Scott is onstage.
LARRY SCOTT: This is all going to fall apart at some point. And when it does, I'll be there.
TEXAS: You see what I have to deal with, Larry? Do you blame me that I did my own thing? Do you want to be saddled with this sheer idiocy all the time? You don't, Larry, but I can handle them. I can take care of this.
DAN BEEBE: EVERYBODY GATHER AROUND THE BEEBS FOR STORYTIME WITH BEEBE.
OKLAHOMA: Why am I still here? Why is he still here?
Lights down. A single flute begins playing "The Eyes of Texas" piano in E minor. Spotlight on TEXAS.
TEXAS: This is only a chapter. We'll be back here soon enough.
TEXAS stands still until the flute finishes the chorus of "The Eyes of Texas". Lights down.