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More Death Throes for the Big XII?

2011 September 1
by Phil Miller

Yesterday I posted that the Big XII is an unstable conference, but I thought it unlikely that it would dissolve.  Perhaps I was being optimistic, but Kirk Bohls has some interesting thoughts about what may come next.

Go ahead, Sooners. Make the last move that sinks the Big 12.

And it is quite possible, in light of Texas A&M’s defection, that your move will be one that politically astute Texas quietly supports while also hoping that it happens quickly. The Longhorns would dearly love the Sooners to take the lead. And much of the heat that comes with it.

Should Oklahoma act upon its earnest desires and seek an invitation to join the Pacific-12 Conference — something I’m fully expecting to happen within days, if not hours — that decision could well be the killing blow to the Big 12 while also providing Texas the political cover to follow suit and ask for admission as well.

…Your new Pac-16 members: Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The era of the super conference begins.

The Longhorn Network gets folded into the Pac-16 as a downsized regional network, joining the six regional networks that already exist within the conference.

Missouri ends up in the Big Ten or ACC, and Kansas heads to the Big East. If for some inexplicable reason Texas chooses not to pursue Pac-12 membership, look for Texas Tech to be left out and expect the Pac-12 to focus on Kansas and Missouri along with OU and OSU. Don’t dawdle, Texas.

ESPN’s David Ubben posted these tweets this morning which lends creedence to Bohl’s prediction.

Anybody ignoring Oklahoma’s silence on the “We <3 Big 12!” press release front today isn’t paying enough attention.

Things that make you go hmm… RT @Agallion Tech and OSU didnt say anything either

Bohls says it comes down to trust, or more precisely, the lack of it.

Because the Big 12’s options are few, its future is tenuous at best. No one seems to trust anyone any more. Everybody is jealous of Texas’ clout and tired of its flaunting of the Longhorn Network. Most of the Big 12 schools are petrified they’ll be left out. With good reason.

Sports leagues are cooperatives, but Texas never seemed able to grasp that fact sufficiently to stabilize the Big XII.  If Bohl’s prediction comes true and Texas ends up moving with OU, OSU, and Tech to form the Pac 16, will it set aside it’s Texas-sized ego for the good of its new conference?

What about the leftovers?  It would seem that Kansas and Missouri would land somewhere in a major conference.  Missouri’s football program looks as strong as it’s ever been and Kansas has it’s storied basketball program.  Yes, this realignment is all about football and moving towards a football playoff, but the Jayhawks would bring a lot of basketball eyeballs to whatever conference KU ends up in.

What about poor Iowa State, Kansas State, and Baylor?  If I were the AD’s at those schools I’d be praying like hell and saying all the right things.

9 Responses
  1. September 1, 2011

    Realistically, aren’t there better matches for the PAC-12 than OSU and Texas Tech. Couldn’t they take OU, Texas, Kansas and Missouri?

  2. michael c permalink
    September 1, 2011

    It would not be easy to separate OSU and OU, but I would have said the same about UT and A&M. I personally think the PAC-12 is bad for UT and OU, not the other way around. The travel to WSU or Eugene from Austin or Norman would be very hard for sports other than football. Because of the A&M induced enmity towards the SEC, I can’t see UT, OU, and going there instead, even though it would make the most geographical sense. Most of the best schools in the middle and southwest of the country that made the jump to AQ leagues did it recently to the Big East, taking away a decent list of schools (particularly Louisville and TCU) that would have made great sense in the Big 12.

  3. superdestroyer permalink
    September 2, 2011

    A possible path for the future:

    1. Four 16 team superconferences: SEC, BIG 10, PAC 10, ACC/Big East. The other 60 schools in Division I are on the outside with zero hope.

    2. The four conference championship games become the defacto first round of a college football playoff.

    3. The 64 schools leave the NCAA so that they can pay their payers, loosen recruiting, and eliminate academic rules. It also eliminate the small bowls where the big schools loose so much money.

    4. All of the other members of the NCAA are faced with the prospect of either competing on an unlevel playing field with the Football 64 or staying separate. If the schools stay separate, it marks the end of March Madness, frozen four, CWS, WCWS, and other NCAA championships.

    5. Some school that is outside of the 64 will decide that spending millions on a money losing athletic program is a dumb idea and will drop sports. Is there any studies of schools that have dropped football or dropped sports? After a few schools drop football and surivie, many other schools will follow.

    The end result is that the college sports world is about to get much smaller with 64 schools have large sports programs and many schools either moving down or giving up on trying to have sports teams.

  4. September 2, 2011

    Fun stuff Phil. Thanks for the post.

    I make the case that A&M is just paving the way for Texas in the SEC. The logic is at my Sports and Monsters blog. http://sportsmonsters.blogspot.com/

    My logic says Texas to SEC to make it 14. Oklahoma and ND to the Big Ten to make it 14. BYU and “somebody” to the PAC 12 (probably Boise State but OK State might be the stronger candidate–after all, OK City has been in the Pacific Coast League for years). That makes 3 with 14 teams.

    This allows the BCS to dump what’s left of the Big 12 as they surely would love to do with the Big East and concentrate the big money on just 4 conferences.

    However it works out, I agree that larger conferences are coming.

  5. September 2, 2011

    PAC 12 will NEVER take BYU. Won’t play on sundays and low academics

  6. Phil permalink
    September 2, 2011

    Rod: I’d be *really* surprised if OU went to the Big 10, although I agree with you (on your blog post) that OU would “raise the average” value (I assume you mean the average value of the national media contracts). But would OU want to go? It would raise the academic stature of OU and and they could rekindle the OU NU rivalry. But, like michael c writes, I doubt that OU would want to kill off the rivalry with Texas and their Bedlam series with OSU.

  7. September 2, 2011

    OU and UT wouldn’t move to the PAC-12 because of its a better “fit”. I think it all comes down to money.

    I don’t think the travel would be that bad. The conference would probably be split East/West, and they’d be in a division with Utah, Colorado, Arizona/ASU and they four new teams.

    BTW, I don’t think the PAC-12 wants BYU. It could easily have offered them with this last expansion and took Utah instead.

  8. Franklin permalink
    September 2, 2011

    I don’t think Tech makes any sense in the PAC. They were included in the deal with the PAC the last time the big 12 was about to fold but with A&M’s departure it is clear that the Texas legislature will not require Tech to go with UT. UT and Tech don’t have musch of a rivalry and Tech’s sport’s revenue is towards the bottom of the big 12 as well as other BCS schools. Plus, they don’t give the PAC any additional TV markets if they already have Texas.

    Choosing Tech over KU or MU is stupid. KU, whose football program is down right now but…, recently won a BCS bowl game, gives the PAC new TV markets, and are consistently bringing in more sports revenue than all but four of the current PAC schools due to their basketball money and TV appearances. They also have a national basketball program which rivals UCLA. A USC/ Kansas match up in football excites everyone about as much as a USC/ Tech match up. However, a KU/ UCLA basketball game is the national game of the week and Tech does not come close to giving the conference any national attention.

    MU gives the PAC additional TV markets and a decent football program to boot, that can compete against the USC and Oregon.

  9. superdestroyer permalink
    September 3, 2011

    Al,

    BYU’s Academics are better than Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State, Colorado, and Utah, and Washington.

    Actually, Arizona State has the worst academics in the PAC 12. The Pac-12 is actually four really good academic schools in California and eight OK 1100 SAT state universities. There is nothing special about the academics of the PAC-12 outside of California. UT-Austin would be the better academically than the 8 schools outside of California

    See Collegeresults.org for the numbers.

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