What’s ahead for the Big 12ish
Now that it is apparent the Big 12 will survive, I can’t help but be amused by the irony. The Big 12 now has 10 teams and the Big 10 now has 12. I’d say make a trade – swap the names and future considerations for a first rounder in 2014. Of course, that also brings up the obvious question… Is the Big 12 going to stand pat with 10 teams?
The first thing that pops into my mind is the question about the north versus the south. Is it going to remain a two-division conference? If so, who is going to bolt the south to come to the north (five in each)? Whoever it is will probably be thrilled to have a shot at winning a division. You figure it would be Oklahoma State, but separating OU and OSU sure isn’t clean.
If the conference adds two teams, that would have an effect on the north/south question no matter who they were.
If they don’t separate into divisions, then you will have a lousy situation for existing B12 north schools. K-State, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa State likely have no chance to win the conference in football. They may not have anyway, but at least they had something to fight for – the north division title. Take that away and … what’s the point? The conference season is over before it even begins.
I would like to see the B12 remain at 12 teams. Maybe they could go after Arkansas. You never know until you try. Maybe the Longhorns would allow another Texas team into the party (TCU). Maybe they just go out to Utah and take the Utes and the BYU Cougars. Those would be two really nice additions – at least from a quality perspective – if not eyeballs… though don’t underestimate the number of fans of those two schools in Big 12 country.
Although none of these teams are likely additions anytime soon – if ever, those schools have produced some very good basketball and football teams in recent years.
Football: The most memorable item to mention is their undefeated football season and final #2 ranking in the AP poll in 2008. They also ended #4 in the football poll in 2004 and have been ranked several other times.
Basketball: The Utes have won 23+ games 13 times in the last 20 seasons. That includes a 30 win season, two 29’s and two 28’s.
Football: BYU has ended up in the final rankings four of the last five seasons and 10 times in the last 20 years – including a #5 ranking in 1996.
Basketball: The Cougars have won 20+ games 15 of the last 20 seasons. Like Utah, they had a 30 win season (last year). In fact, in the last four years, they have averaged 27 victories.
Football: The Frogs have become one of the best FB schools in recent years. Since 2000, they have ended in the AP top-25 seven times – including #7 in 2008 and #3 in 2009.
Basketball: Even though they are not a basketball school at this point, it’s still worth mentioning that they won 27 games as recently as 1998. And, you have to figure if they became a member of the Big 12, they could hire a quality coach.
Football: Though not the football power they once were, the Razorbacks have ended in the rankings three times since 1998 and been the top team receiving votes on two other occasions.
Basketball: Same story. Arkansas has a strong tradition in the sport. Over the last 20 years, they have won 30+ games four times and numerous other seasons with 20+ victories.
None of these schools bring in huge ratings for television, but how many Notre Dames are sitting out there waiting to be plucked?? The bottom line is that they would be solid additions to the Big 12 – which, unless they make this agreement airtight, will be at the risk of having other conferences constantly nibbling at their sores.
Though I suspect the ten ADs are just happy to have stopped the bleeding with two defections, now is exactly the time they should add to the conference. At the rate things are going, it’s probably only a matter of time (days?) until the Pac-10 goes after BYU and Utah. If it can be shown that a conference can divvy up the revenue based upon what each school brings to the table (see Texas), they will take Utah/BYU and just offer them less than their other members – and they will probably take it because it’s still more money and a lot more prestige than they presently have.
It’s nice to have some semblance of normalcy again. It’s like being on a plane and the power goes out and the masks drop and the next thing you know you’re standing on the wing in the middle of a river. Thank God for soft landings!