The National, 5/18/12: Shots Fired.

Once all the playoff dust settles, we'll realize that we'd probably have gotten rolled by Alabama instead if everything had already changed by last year. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

We Are the Champions Bowl: The Big 12 and SEC announced today that beginning in 2014, their champions will meet in a January bowl game on an annual basis. In years where one (or both) conferences send their champion to the four-team playoff -- read, pretty much every year, because come on -- the new bowl will get the runner-up. The actual details of the bowl, being referred to as the Champions Bowl as a working title, are still to be determined; it could be a new bowl (either at a constant site or moving annually), it could be the Sugar, it could be the Cotton. We don't know yet. What we do know is that this announcement is rife with meaning.

First and foremost, this bowl effectively aligns with the Rose Bowl and makes it clear that we have four big dog conferences acting in cahoots. This announcement is a head shot to the aspirations of the ACC to be a top-tier conference, as the best they can now manage in terms of a similar arrangement is going to be... well, the last 16 years of the Orange Bowl, let's be honest. It makes it somewhat obvious that relations between the Big 12 and SEC are pretty darned cordial even after last year's realignment drama; SEC commissioner Mike Slive made it very clear in his statement that even after having lifted two teams from the Big 12's pocket last year that in his opinion the two leagues are still the top two conferences in the land. Any suggestion of instability in the Big 12 pretty much just got thrown into the shredder, as the SEC wasn't going to align for this purpose with a conference which the SEC wasn't convinced was in perfect health. And, most importantly, this announcement will inherently throw expansion talk into overdrive, as you can bet that certain schools outside the Big Four conferences are going to be thinking long and hard about whether they want to be left in the ghetto. This, of course, directly impacts the ongoing Florida State saga, about which we have absolutely no new information today.

Big 12 interim commish Chuck Neinas, meanwhile, laid the smack down on the ACC and Big East when asked what their commissioners should be thinking right now: "Better get a good bowl." West Virginia: snickering quietly while chugging Tropicana.

Great Job, Son. Oh, By the Way, You're Fired: The ink is barely dry on Larry Brown's contract, but Southern Methodist has fired the guy who got Brown to sign it. Steve Orsini is out at SMU, and for some reason reporters covering it are confused as to why. Well, I'm just guessing here, but I suspect it probably has something to do with the fact that SMU's student paper reported a couple of weeks ago that the Mustang athletic department is operating at a $113M deficit, losing an average of $18M a year over the last four years. Near as I can figure, that means they must be paying their athletes about $100K a year, right? Anyway, the administration was perfectly aware of the massive deficit and had continually approved it as part of the budget, but the outcry after the report might just have caused someone to decide a scapegoat was needed, don't you think?

Wait, Is This Baseball?: Ohio State has reported a bunch of meaningless secondary violations, including wishing someone good luck and Mike Vrabel dipping on the sideline. Obviously, the NCAA's enforcement bureau is a vital component in our efforts to clean up society.

Diablerie: Mike Leach, Frontiersman. ... Nebraska, eager to show that it takes basketball seriously, has sent an invitation to Indiana five-star point guard Jaquan Lyle... to come to their football camp. (They did not, as reported, try to "recruit" Lyle to play football.) ... Mike Rutherford, still bored because Genesis isn't getting back together, provides a rundown of the upcoming basketball season's pre-season tournaments. ... Tennessee QB Tyler Bray has girl's day out with momma.

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