Psalm 130

A Song of Ascents.

 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.

 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
 And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.

The phrase that stood out today is: "my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning." The picture I immediately latched onto was that of the watchman, on the city walls, dreading the dangers that the night could hold and his yearning, almost pleading, for morning to come and with it, light and some sense of security.

I don't know if you have felt that way very often, but I have. At times I have felt that my life's footing was not firm and that I was perilously close to danger, failure, shame, or despair. I have longed for morning to come in the form of some deliverance from my oppressive circumstances. I have yearned for a deliverance that I could not see anywhere on the horizon, nor could I conceive how it might be formed, yet I hoped for it desperately.

But there is something else to be discovered in the picture of the watchman and it is the certainty of the  morning's arrival. The morning will come - has it ever failed to come? This watchman not only can hope, but he can be certain. The morning will come.

And so for us who are in Christ. I don't know how long the night will last in your life or mine. But morning has never failed to come and it will come again.


Where Were You In '32?

Here's a look at the hometown, very little of which I recognize. By the time I was wandering around downtown, some 35-40 years later, much had already changed.

That is Main Street that runs up the hill from the foot of the bridge - a bridge that no longer exists, though I think I remember seeing the tops of the concrete pilings standing in the water. The tan building on the north side of Main with the row of windows is the White River Hotel, I believe. Or that's what it was when I knew it. Next up the hill is the railroad, the station right across the street from the hotel. Boy, does that make sense. The tracks run left to right in the photo. After that is the old Catholic Church on the left side of Main, the first building after the green space above the train station, I think. But that all I recognize from this photo. Maybe someone else can help out.

Here's the foot of Branson's Main Street these days -


The Big One Is Coming (Updated)

UPDATE: After I posted this, Kathy and I went to Lowe's for wood and stuff, 'cause we're building shelves.  When we got back I checked the world and found this article by Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com. McMurphy sees some of the same things I do, but he's got more details. (I like it when I am agreed with.) And he also spells out a consequence that is perfectly certain, but I hadn't developed it.

First, I wrote: "We are headed to four giant conferences." Here's McMurphy:
With all of the speculation and connecting-the-dots scenarios surrounding conference realignment (Texas A&M to the SEC, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State possibly to the Pac-12), the obvious end game was this: the ACC and Big East would be the final two conferences with possibly only one surviving. Sort of like a Thunderdome showdown: two conferences enter, one conference leaves. And the ACC took the initiative in guaranteeing its survival.
 Here is the clear inference - assuming there's only going to be 4 super conferences and that the Big Ten, the SEC and the Pac 12 are three of them; and that the Big 12 will not exist, then it's down to the ACC and the Big East for the final seat at the table. Today, the ACC looks like the winner.

That means the Big East is going away. McMurphy again, this time about a certain university named:
Notre Dame - This is where things get really interesting. The Irish always have wanted to remain an independent. And as long as the Big East is around for the Irish to have a landing spot for their Olympic sports, they will stay independent. However, if there no longer is a Big East, the Irish would be forced to join a conference to find a home for their Olympic sports. In other words: hello, Big Ten.
If you've read my posts on this topic, you know I've been saying all along this was about the Big Ten landing Notre Dame. Today, someone else says it, too.

ORIGINAL POST: The big one is on the way.

The big college athletic conference re-alignment, that is. The news Saturday is that Pitt and Syracuse have applied to join the ACC. Friday we heard that the regents at Texas will meet to discuss conference affiliation. Oh, it coming, all right. Kiss the Big 12 good-bye, if you can muster enough affection to smooch that shotgun-wedding style of a conference.

Here is where we stand:

Nebraska and Colorado, Big 12 members as recently as the spring, began play in new conferences this fall, the Big Ten and the Pac 12, respectively.

At the end of August Texas A&M said auf Wiedersehen to the Big 12 (not sure why they spoke German) and applied to join the SEC.

Within days of that announcement, Oklahoma said they wanted to explore their options, too.

Then Texas with their announcement.

Today, Pitt and Syracuse.

But the big finish is yet to come. Though it's on the way.

We can see where this is headed. Stronger conferences are expanding, picking up strong schools to deepen the quality of their membership. They are adding schools to increase the conference footprint and TV market. The number of schools that remain to be of benefit is shrinking with each announcement. The rapidity with which this is happening is accelerating, like a snowball rolling downhill.

If you are conference leader considering expansion, you probably are hearing alarms right now. The pool of prospective candidates just got smaller with Pitt and Syracuse's announcement. Especially for the Big Ten. Pitt and Syracuse might have been decent fits for that conference, but not now. Oklahoma probably goes west to the Pac 12, which has promised it will not stand pat if teams start to jump. Maybe Texas is looking at the Pac 12. You don't want to be a conference needing to expand and the only options that remain are a bunch of Iowa States. The SEC is going to look for a fourteenth member, but the speculation is that the super conferences will have 16 members. Who will they be? Act now, because once they're gone, they're gone.

I'll say again what I have believed about this from the beginning. The Big Ten started this and I think they will finish it. They've been quiet, but I don't think they've been sitting still. They'll go to 14 and maybe 16 and I think Missouri will be one of their choices, it makes too much sense.

The SEC is expanding, as is the ACC. The Pac 12 has promised to respond. Do you think the Big Ten will do nothing? Neither do I. We are headed to four giant conferences. And the Big Ten will not be left behind.

And neither will Notre Dame.

Yes, the big one is coming.


Big Ten Too Quiet

Oklahoma regents will meet in a few days to talk about athletic conference re-alignment. It is almost certain that OU will eventually leave the Big 12 Conference, probably for the Pac12. Oklahoma State may tag along. With the expected departure of Texas A & M next year, the Big 12 would be pared to 7 teams. Not much of a league at seven.

I don't think the league will survive that turn of events.

And then a kind of free agency will commence, with league-less remnants of the Big 12 looking for new conferences to align with. And conferences with an eye on improving their cachet, influence, and standing in the eyes of TV networks will begin picking prospective members to bring home to meet mother.

The rumors have begun to fly, of course. OU and Oklahoma State supposedly heading to the Pac 12. Texas to the Pac 12, to the ACC, or to Independent status. Kansas to the Pac 12, or the Big East. And Mizzou has been rumored to go just about everywhere: the SEC, the Pac 12, the Big East.

Everywhere except the Big Ten.

Has anyone noticed how quiet things have been from Big Ten land? Not a peep. Nothing from Big Ten schools. Nothing from coaches or administrators. With all the potential movement seemingly near, no school is  rumored to be going there. Is the Big Ten done with expansion? Have they no interest in adding any Big 12 schools?

In my view, it's too quiet.

I don't think the Big Ten will sit idly by while other conferences gobble up the cream of the Big 12. Again, I make the observation that Missouri is ideal for Big Ten membership. And is it coincidental that there has been a new-found discipline regarding leaks to the press on Missouri's part? I wonder. In other words, Mizzou's staff has been just as mum on the Tigers' options as the Big Ten has been on it's.

I think Mizzou is going to land in the Big Ten.

And I still think Notre Dame will, too.