After issuing his decree, the king has heard rumors of discontent among some of his nobles. There have even been whispers of rebellion. Therefore, the king has called into his presence the nobles from all across his kingdom to hold court at his palace and give ear to any grievances or petitions. The wise king rules with firmness and vigilance. He knows some of his nobles wield great power and often look only to benefit themselves. Many have formed strong alliances and might would conspire against the king if not dealt with appropriately. With all his nobles seated before his throne, the king invites any to come forward who wishes (or dares).
The first to stand and step forward is noble Texas. “Your Majesty, your conference realignment plan has many merits and I find myself in agreement with much of it. However. . . and please forgive my boldness , sire. . . but I must say I find it. . . how shall I say this. . . well. . . less than perfect.” A number of faint but noticeable gasps are heard around the room which do not escape the king’s attention. “Is that so?” the king responds. “Well, then, noble Texas. Please elaborate.” “Your Majesty, let me just say I do not speak for myself alone when I say there are some here in this room who do not belong among the nobility. Most of us gathered here, myself included, have a long lineage of noble birth stretching into the distant past. Yet we find ourselves here in your presence with Boise State and Nevada. . . even Connecticut and New Mexico. Surely, sire, you do not expect us to accept these peasants as our peers within the kingdom. These undeserving dogs should be expelled from the kingdom at once. Furthermore” . . . . . . . .
At that moment, the king holds up his hand. “Pardon the interruption, noble Texas,” the king interjects, “but before you continue, I must briefly attend to a pressing matter of state.” The king knows Texas must be dealt with swiftly and decisively or other nobles will be emboldened to speak out. So, he turns to his trusted chamberlain seated at his side and speaks loudly and clearly for all to hear his words. “Lord Chamberlain, the envoy I met with yesterday, he was from Houston was he not?” “Yes, my Lord. From Houston.” “Now correct me if I’m wrong, but is he not from the Central Region of my kingdom, not far from the lands of noble Texas, in fact?” “That is correct, sire.” “And did he not petition me to request Houston join my kingdom and I told him I had no need of his service at this time?” “That is correct, sire.” “Well, dear Chamberlain. Please inform the envoy from Houston that I may have a place for his master in my kingdom after all. It would appear there may soon be some lands available for me to bestow upon some deserving and loyal noble. Now, go. Make haste.” “Yes, sire.”
As his chamberlain departs, the king turns toward noble Texas with a wry smile. “Noble Texas, again please pardon the interruption. I believe you had been commenting on my . . . how did you put it . . . ‘less than perfect plan’. Yes, I believe that is what you said. Now . . . please continue.” The king’s veiled threat hits the mark. “Actually, your Majesty, upon further reflection I now realize your plan is the epitome of perfection. Why I failed to see it earlier, I do not know. You, in your wisdom, have deemed it fitting to bestow these honors upon whomever you choose. I accept your plan without reservation. Long live the king!” All the other nobles echo, “Long live the king!” Noble Texas then quickly takes his seat.
The next to stand and step forward is noble Ohio State. “Your Majesty, it is clear to everyone that your conference realignment plan is truly grand. Indeed, I marvel at your brilliance. In fact, I pledge to you my unwavering support, except for one very minor detail. Although I do have some serious reservations about being in league with both Louisville and Kentucky, those can be addressed with time. However, I simply can not accept Cincinatti. I beg you, sire, to exclude him from the Northern League. Surely it would be better if he were part of the Eastern League instead.”
The king has, of course, fully anticipated Ohio State’s objection to Cincinatti. “Noble Ohio State,” the king begins. “If it were better for Cincinatti to be in the Eastern League, I would have made it so. Let me caution you to heed your king’s counsel, and not allow your greed to be your undoing. You will fully support your king’s decree in every detail. If you do not, you will be banished from my kingdom and exiled to the MAC (Mid-American Conference), never to be heard from again. Are we clear?” Noble Ohio State bows low before the king. “Forgive me, your Majesty. Of course, you are right. I now see my error. Allow me to state here and now before all my fellow nobles, I heartily accept noble Cincinatti into the Northern League. As it should be. And thank you, your Majesty, for your wise counsel. Long live the king!” All the other nobles echo, “Long live the king!” Then noble Ohio State quickly takes his seat.
After this exchange, noble Iowa quickly abandons his intention to voice his objection to Iowa State’s inclusion in the Northern League. If he were to speak up, what fate would the king have in mind? Banishment from the kingdom and exile to the MVFC (Missouri Valley Football Conference)? No. Upon further reflection, Iowa realizes the king’s plan is perfect after all.
The next to stand and step forward is noble Michigan, joined by noble Purdue, who elects to stand behind Michigan to avoid the king’s direct gaze. “Your Majesty,” Michigan begins. “What about Notre Dame? He is left to manage his affairs independent of the rest of the nobility. Yet, his inclusion in the Northern League would greatly strengthen and enrich the League.” “Noble Michigan, you make a valid point,” the king replies. “However, noble Notre Dame has established strong and long lasting trade agreements with other nobles throughout my kingdom stretching far beyond his immediate domains. This trade brings far more coin into my coffers than if his activities were restricted to the Northern League. For that reason, I insist these trade agreements be maintained. It is my decision, not his request.” “Of course, your Majesty. Very wise.” Michigan and Purdue quickly take their seats.
The last to stand and step forward is noble Alabama. “Your majesty, your plan is a masterpiece. We, the nobles of your kingdom, shall follow your decree in every detail. Each of us may wish for a change here or there, perhaps for our individual selfish interests. However, taken as a whole, with all of its intracacies, your plan is truly sublime and can not be improved upon. The entire kingdom will be strengthened and prosper. Please, sire, grant us your leave that we may go forth from your presence to do your bidding and accomplish your will.” The king replies, “Noble Alabama, you have spoken well. Let it be so. This counsel is hereby concluded.”
“Long live the king!”