Over the past few weeks there’s been a lot of noise that conferences were going to expand or contract based on what may be happening in the Big 12. The facts of the Big 12’s situation are known: there are 10 teams, some in the conference would like to expand to 12 so there can be a conference championship game in football and – I’ll say it – no one likes Texas. I’m about as neutral in this one as one can get, but the reality of the situation is that there are only two teams that actually count in the Big 12: Texas and Oklahoma. Sure, Baylor and Texas Christian were good last year, and one might have been able to get into the playoff had there been a conference championship. Might is the keyword there.
Here’s the long and short of it: THE University of Texas would be incredibly stupid to leave the Big 12 for another conference and should only leave if it were going to go 100% independent. Texas is one of the few schools that could do it, but to leave for the Pac-12 or SEC is in an exercise in futility.
On the other hand, Texas can do its Big 12 brothers and sisters a huge solid by working out something with ESPN to convert the Longhorn Network into a network that the entire conference can reap the benefits from. Is this likely to happen – no, is it totally out of the realm of possibility – of course not.
To be clear, we’re ONLY having the doomsday Big 12 conversation because neither Texas nor Oklahoma are good right now, and the former members of the Big 12 who are in the Big Ten and SEC are enjoying the conference in a down state. Keep in mind that neither Nebraska nor Missouri are really bringing it in their respective conferences. Both schools are in the significantly weaker divisions of their respective conferences also.
Missouri played in the SEC Championship Game last season, but if they won does anyone think they were going to the playoff?
What I don’t understand is why the people from Missouri, Nebraska and wherever care so much about the Big 12. They left. No one forced them to leave. Scuttlebutt says Missouri wanted to get in the Big Ten but Mike Slive and the SEC showed up first. I don’t know if that’s true, but it would make a hell of a lot more sense for Mizzou to be in the Big Ten than it does for them to be in the SEC.
There, I said it.
Look, none of the moves in 2010 made any sense. Colorado doesn’t belong in the Pac-12, West Virginia doesn’t belong in the Big 12, and if you try to tell me Missouri is a southeastern state, I’m taking your citizenship away.
The absolute worst thing is that Texas leaves the Big 12 and joins the Pac-12. So, now we have four ‘power’ conferences (read that as two: Pac-12 & SEC) with the absolute majority of the off-the-field-power to get anything done in two – Big Ten and SEC. Sorry, Pac-12, you’re the most balanced conference from top to bottom, but as long as you’re on the west coast and playing on Fox, no one really knows who you are.
Texas, Oklahoma, and whomever the biggest players are in the Big 12 need to get their acts together and figure it out. This isn’t difficult: when Texas and Oklahoma are good the league has FIVE good teams.
Baylor, TCU, Texas, Oklahoma – and you can pick your rotating marginal team every year.
And really – Baylor and TCU need to prove themselves over multiple years before we can consider them consistent mainstays in the conference.
The other eight schools in the Big 12 and haters in the rest of the country need to realize that Texas can literally do whatever they want. There are very few athletic departments that generate the type of cash they do despite the lack of athletic success over the past 10-ish years.
Texas in same breadth needs to get off its high horse and realize they are single-handedly holding the conference back. Steve Patterson (they haven’t fired him yet, have they?) should call whomever at ESPN, get on his knees and beg (this is a family site) that the four-letter rip up the Longhorn Network contract and do whatever to convert it into the Big 12 Network.
At that point Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby should find two patsies to join the conference and have a conference championship game. I recommend Houston, cause I like Tom Herman, and BYU cause they’re independent. Houston brings a big television market and BYU brings some religion – which is something that conference can really use at this point.
All that being said the question remains, is the Big 12 going anywhere? No. I know the haters would love to see the conference go away, but if Texas and Oklahoma remember how to play football, all of this becomes moot.
In short: the Big 12 is fine.