Big 12 II: Judgment Day

Who could forget all the bad puns and catchphrases that you hear in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film? The one that stand out the most to me is when the Terminator says one single sentence to Sarah Connor “Come with me if you want to live.” The reason I say this because you could easily reword this and ask the Big 12 “expand if you want to live.” The Big 12 was fortunate this season to Oklahoma represent them in the playoffs. If Stanford would have not lost to Oregon, they would have easily leaped over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff rankings. Even Bob Bowlsby, the commissioner of the Big 12 and ironically the former athletic director of Stanford has stated that not having a championship game puts them at a disadvantage. Nonetheless, judgment day will be upon us on January 15th; that is the day that the NCAA will decide to lift its requirement of whether you need to have 12 members to have a conference championship. It seems that this will be ground zero for another round of expansion.

Currently, the Big 12 sits at ten member and they want to hold the possibility of having a conference championship game without expanding. The Big Ten added a last second provision that would require them to have two equal divisions. This may not mean anything on the surface but this shows that the Big Ten will be an obstacle for them. As a matter of fact, there have been some sources that even state that 70% of the conferences are ready to vote against them. If that happens, then all hell could possibly break loose. Conversely, there are other reasons to why they should expand: expanding market shares, giving more insurance of a team within the conference going to the playoff, and most lucratively, starting a conference network.

First off, the Big 12 covers only 5 states and the most important is Texas. This means adding more eyeballs to television sets. No longer are programs like Pittsburgh, Louisville, Florida State, or Clemson are available. The pickings may be slim but the cupboards are not completely bare. There are still some decent candidates available. They are as followed:

  1. Cincinnati- They are in a sizable market with a metro area of over 2 million people. Also, Cincinnati is in the state of Ohio, which is a very fertile recruiting ground. Just ask some out of state programs like Michigan where they got athletes like Desmond Howard from. Most of all, they would make a great neighbor to West Virginia and the past seasons, they have a been a consistent winner.
  2. Memphis- Another up-and-coming program with potential upside in a top-50 media market. Tennessee has been a great recruiting ground for schools like Ole Miss. They also have corporate sponsorship thanks to Fed Ex. Their only problem may be that they do not have the chops as a football program yet.
  3. BYU- They are the most established candidate available. They easily tap into the Salt Lake City media market and recruit well on the West Coast, especially with the Polynesian athletes. They have won a national title in the past and have a great tradition of winning. The only problem is that the Big 12 will create another outlier with them. The Big 12 has even said that if they wanted to expand, that they would prefer to expand eastward to ease West Virginia’s burden. Also, the fact that they would not play on Sunday may also create some problem. There might be the possibility of them being a football-only member.
  4. Central and South Florida- They are in the most fertile recruiting ground in the nation. Central Florida seen success with George O’Leary including a Fiesta Bowl victory and South Florida had at one time, been ranked #2 in the nation. Orlando and Tampa also reside in highly populated media markets and could allow the Big 12 to have bowl tie-ins in Florida. Their only problem is not being established enough.

Secondly, playing a thirteenth game will put them on the same level as the other Power Five conferences. Dave Boren, president of Oklahoma has even stated that the Big 12 needs to expand. He has been a very strong proponent of this action and has considerable influence. Texas has lost considerable clout with mediocre seasons and sub-par recruiting. They are losing their home state and are even having to raid the coffers of Florida for talent.

Lastly, adding more teams will allow them to have their own network. The hugest obstacle has been the Longhorn Network. Due to the fact that Texas underperformed under Charlie Strong, not too many people have been subscribing to it. As a matter of fact, the network has been hemorrhaging cash at the tune of $46 million according a news report. This may be the best thing that could happen to the rest of the members of the Big 12. ESPN just might dump it. Add to the fact that West Virginia’s new president, Gordon Gee, who was proactive as president in Ohio State with expansion, expansion may be on the horizon.

In conclusion, a lot of shifting pieces will be set in motion will be set in this meeting. At long last, something may be done to ensure the long-lasting survival of the Big 12.

News, Discussions, and Rumors 08/11/2015

A recent ESPN article by Jake Trotter is only adding more kindling to the fire with expansion rumors surrounding the Big 12. Will this ever end? The reason it will not is because this is something that needs to happen now. This has stemmed from the earth-shattering comments made by David Boren advocating for a twelve team league. Does that mean the Big 12 has to add two full members and carve up the money pie? Absolutely not. In the past, I have made overtures about the Big 12 adding two associate members. Honestly, from a football standpoint, BYU and Boise state are rock-solid. BYU has a huge following with the Mormon church and Boise has excited audience with its dazzling bowl performances. If that is not convincing enough, just ask Texas how good BYU has been and Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State.

P.S. I apologize that it has been a while since my posts but school and relationships keep you quite busy.

News, Discussions, and Rumors 03-01-2015

This is an article from a local TV station in Fargo, ND. North Dakota State, which has won an unprecedented fourth straight FCS national title has been subject to many rumors of moving up to FBS. Dean Bresciani, president of NDSU, states that the Bison are not in a big hurry to move up to FBS. They get schedule FBS foes without the extra cost of being in an FBS conference. Nonetheless, they have the choice of being in the MAC, Mountain West, or the Sun Belt. A lot of speculation points towards the Sun Belt because right now, they are one short of holding a conference championship. Nonetheless, there is a vote coming up that will give more autonomy in how conference will align division and even could have ramifications on the number of schools required to hold a championship, which would make expansion a moot point.

A Clockwork Burnt Orange

This is your humble narrator giving you the most lurid details of this torture. It seems as if Steve Patterson and the rest of his droogs have tried to snuff all details of expansion from your subconscious. The powers that be seem to be creepily committed to their conference being just an afterthought. Talking heads like Bob Bowlsby have put a lot of people through the Ludovico method of making as if the thought of adding two teams for a conference championship would make them nauseous to the point of death. The Big 12 has seen itself on the outside looking in because they do not have a conference championship. The Big 12 will try to get an exemption but that will not hold water. The other conferences should give a snappy rebuke and tolchock for even trying such a preposterous proposal. Nonetheless, there is a solution, if you are proactive:

1. Try to get that exemption- Like in my previous posts, what a ludicrous idea. Why should they change the requirements when everyone else had to fall in line, just because this is what the Big 12 wants?

2. Add two football-only members- This idea has some real traction. BYU, Boise State, or Air Force are intriguing. BYU would have its sports already in the West Coast Conference and BSU or Air Force could park their other sports in the WAC or Big Sky. The only hiccup I see would be that they still isolate West Virginia

3. Add Memphis and Cincinnati- These two would be great additions overall. Sizable markets for both and they would be closer to West Virginia.Their programs are also stronger as a whole. One plus is the years of consistency of Cincinnati while Memphis could emerge as a power.

Mostly likely, my talk is just mere wishing on my part. Unfortunately, I do not make these decisions. Incompetent dullards like Bob Bowlsby makes these decision. Big 12 fans, enjoy not going to the playoffs, year in and year out.

FYI, this is an article from the Dallas Morning News. It seems they are Big 12 apologists.

Put On My Blue Suede Shoes

The whole college football universe has been buzzing about the first ever four-team playoff that consists of Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. The first three are obvious but just as you had with the BCS, the final team is always going to have controversy surrounding it. Baylor and TCU have been screaming at the tops of their lungs saying “Why not me?” Well, I respect the committee’s decision and they did not come into it lightly. You have two co-champions with TCU and Baylor but Ohio State is the outright champion of the Big Ten with a convincing 59-0 drubbing of Wisconsin, the best rushing attack in the nation. If you are Memphis, you got your feet ten feet off of Beale. This post will hope to shed light on a sudden revelation I had: Memphis would actually be a great candidate.

They just finished with a 9-3 record and a share of the American Athletic Conference Championship. Memphis, for a while, had a joke of a football program. They were the school that everyone would like to schedule a Mickey Mouse game with. The way things are looking for them, they have nothing but upside and this will not be the case anymore. Elvis has risen back from the dead as it seems, meaning that the job that Justin Fuente has done there is nothing short of but miraculous. He has won more games this season than his first two seasons combined. Memphis has the resources including a great fan-base in the Mid-South and a stadium that could hold almost 60,000 people. It will be interesting to see how their defense stacks against BYU’s explosive offense in the Miami Beach Bowl.

Another great reason would be that they also have a marquee basketball program. Memphis has made it all the way to the Final Four more than once. If them and Cincinnati are added, could you imagine match-ups like Kansas-Memphis, a repeat of the 2008 National Championship, Cincinnati vs. Oklahoma State, etc. Memphis has always been competitive and would only strengthen and bolster the basketball brand of the Big 12.

With the search for markets, Memphis has got it covered. Memphis is a top 50 media market with a metropolitan area, which covers three states, of over 1.3 million people. That is a lot of eyeballs to be had. Not to mention, Memphis is home to some damn good barbeque and hub for great musicians. Also, the state of Tennessee has been attractive for big businesses to move there.

Geographically, they are a great hub. They would be a much-needed travel partner, along with Cincinnati, to West Virginia and Iowa State. Plus, the Big 12 could get a tie-in with the Liberty Bowl through Memphis.

In relation to big business, none is bigger in Memphis than Fed Ex, who decided to put their international headquarters there. If you have seen Castaway, you definitely know this already. When Memphis was in C-USA, they were so desperate that it was rumored that Fed Ex was willing to give the Big East $10 million to sweeten the deal. Fed Ex is tied to the hip with Memphis. Fed Ex could be wild card that could have a hand in the Big 12 pulling the trigger. If what was rumored really did happen, would Fed Ex do the same for them to move up to the Big 12? Perhaps, but only time can tell.

Overall, Memphis would be an interesting addition to the Big 12. They have the tools to be competitive and would ease some of the burden that only a handful of the schools in the Big 12 have. I may have a little bit of a bias going for them because I am an alumnus at Southern Miss. I really lamented the fact that Memphis would accept an invitation to what was the Big East. I miss the Black and Blue Rivalry but I wish them nothing but the best. It is like Mark Cohn said in his song, “you got a prayer in Memphis.” You know what? I am pulling for them too.

News, Discussions, and Rumors 12-08-2014

I am pouring through various news agencies and here are some juicy articles I have found on potenrial Big 12 candidates:

Here is one on Cincy:

Another article from Salt Lake Tribune is a “ha-ha” piece by Gordon Monson against the Big 12 snubbing BYU.

A radio report mentioning both Memphis and Cincinnati as the two likely schools admitted:

News, Discussions, and Rumors 12-07-2014

My prediction has come to fruition: the Big 12’s lack of a conference champioship game has cost them dearly. They will seek an exemption but they will not get it. The other conferences will not stand for it. So the only option left is to expand.