Category Archives: Big 12 Football

Bob Bowlsby’s mad math skillz

OMG!  It turns out the Big 12 Commissioner was wrong when he said that adding two teams and a conference championship game would increase the Big 12’s chances of cracking the college football playoffs by 4-5%.  It’s moar!

Analytics from Navigate Research are expected to show the Big 12 has at least a 10-15 percent better chance of reaching the CFP in any given year if it expands as opposed to staying in its 10-team configuration.

That percentage at least doubles than the “4-5 percent” improvement commissioner Bob Bowlsby spoke about in Phoenix on Monday. That smaller figure discussed by Bowlsby only included the addition of a conference championship game, CBS Sports has learned.

The particular analysis used by Navigate for Wednesday’s presentation includes expanding the league to 12 with two additional teams, playing an eight-game conference schedule and staging a league championship game…

Oops.  This, of course, changes everything.  Except for this guy:

While the new data seems to suggest it would be in the 10-team conference’s best interest to expand, one league source called the existing analytics “statistically insignificant.”

If nothing else, expansion would provide a “buffer” of members if schools leave in the future.

Now there’s a comforting thought.  If Texas and Oklahoma leave, at least the rest of the conference would have the likes of BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, UConn, Houston and Memphis to fall back on for comfort.

You have a bright future ahead of you, Bob.

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“There’s no sense in dragging it out once we know all the pieces to the puzzle.”

There are times when I honestly wonder whether the Big 12 deserves to exist.  Take, for example, Bob Bowlsby’s latest thumb up his ass move.

As the Big 12 inches closer to decisions about its future, most of the data is in.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday that data compiled by consultants — up to 40,000 simulations from Navigate Research — indicated the best model for placing a team in the College Football Playoff is a 12-team conference playing eight league games plus a championship game.

Yes, that is something he actually spent money on.  And how much of an advantage would such a format give the conference in grasping the Holy Grail?

Bowlsby, who said the computer modeling showed the 12-member, eight-game schedule would slightly increase the league’s likelihood of getting teams into the Playoff, believes the data “will probably persuade some people one way or another.” But he said he wasn’t sure what his recommendation would be. He confirmed that the 12-team, eight-game modeled result indicated a four- to five-percent increased likelihood for a team to make the Playoff.[Emphasis added.]

To repeat, yes, that is something he actually spent money on.

In other words, in a best case scenario, rejiggering your conference from ten to twelve teams and adding a championship game (currently unnecessary with the Big 12’s round robin regular season schedule) would net you one additional appearance in the CFP every twenty to twenty five years.  That seems like a whole lot of trouble to go through when you consider they’ll expand the playoffs to eight teams long before then.

Maybe I ought to see if Bowlsby would pay me something for this post.

Honestly, I think the conference will vote to expand, but not because of this silliness.  It’ll be because of other silliness.

Bowlsby reiterated something he’s said before, too. For its financial stability, the Big 12 needs to act. The Big Ten’s recent reported $250 million deal for a portion of its media rights only highlighted the issue.

“If we do nothing, we’ll fall behind with the SEC and Big Ten,” Bowlsby said. “We may still be just as competitive as we are today, but we’ll fall behind financially.”

Aside from bruised egos, what exactly would that mean for the Big 12 schools?  A touch less opulence in locker rooms?  One less recruiting trip to Dubai?  A little less money in athletic administrators’ pockets?  What?  I doubt Bowlsby knows anything concrete.  He just knows they need to do something.  Now there’s a recipe for success.

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Not a good look for you, Baylor.

We’re at a point now where you cringe just seeing a header with Baylor’s name in it.

Shawn Oakman was arrested on sexual assault charges earlier this month, but a Waco Police Department report obtained by Rivals.com’s Alex Dunlap uncovered another disturbing alleged incident involving the former Baylor defensive lineman…

Dunlap added that Baylor knew of the report but didn’t discipline Oakman, who played his first of three seasons for the Bears later that fall…

If Baylor indeed knew of the 2013 police report involving Oakman and did nothing about it, it would fit with the alarming reports that the university consistently ignored serious allegations involving violence against women.

That would be the least of it.  Unless you’re Earl Ehrhart, in which case you see a much… um, different problem.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment

Sign of the times

There’s a report of another Baylor player under investigation for sexual assault.

The school president admits he’s lawyered up about his institution’s repeated problems in that area.

So what does that leave?  How about a nifty sign at the practice field?

baylor-football-posts-real-men-respect-women-signs-at-practice-field_9hg4kaaercov1uw9blyr7jp4w

That ought to take care of the problem.

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Nobody said it was going to be easy.

Andy Staples has a good piece up about the upcoming media rights battles facing three of the P5 conferences, the Big Ten, the Big 12 and the ACC.  Two of those fights (Big Ten and ACC) are likely to be of interest simply as gauges of where the broadcast market is heading from a value and delivery of content standpoint (“ESPN has reportedly lost seven million subscribers over the past two years. Assuming those people only had ESPN and none of the network’s other channels—most likely did, but let’s estimate conservatively—that’s seven million people who are no longer paying $6 a month for ESPN. That’s a loss of $42 million a month, or $504 million a year.”), but the Big 12’s contest is more existential than that.

That’s because of that conference’s 800-pound gorilla, the University of Texas.  There is a growing number of Big 12 voices who call for the end of the Longhorn Network, Texas’ sweet $15-million/year deal, so that all the schools can join together and create a conference network.  Never mind that the other Big 12 schools sold their third-tier rights just as the ‘Horns did.  The real irony is that the Longhorn Network is what saved the Big 12 a few years ago in the first place.

For those who don’t remember, the Longhorn Network is one of the main reasons the Big 12 still exists. Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado were headed to the former Pac-10, but then the Longhorns pulled an 11th-hour okey-doke on commissioner Larry Scott when the schools out west wouldn’t agree to let Texas form its own television network. So, the Longhorns made nice with the rest of the Big 12 and got their network.

So now, to make this work you have to (1) convince Texas that it won’t lose a penny by terminating the LHN in exchange for a conference broadcast arrangement; (2) require every other conference member to terminate their third-tier media rights deals while making sure that Texas is at the front of the line being made whole from however the new revenue stream is recast; (3) probably add two schools into the mix, which means making sure the pie is enlarged enough that the existing members don’t miss a beat on the money flow; and (4) convincing Texas that ensuring the Big 12’s stability is in its best interests.

Does that sound to you like something Bob Bowlsby can pull off?

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Come together… right now… over the Longhorn Network.

Mike Gundy has a bone to pick with Texas.

Texas needs to eliminate the Longhorn Network in order for the Big 12 to avoid facing increased instability, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told CBS Sports on Monday.

Gundy’s comment was made as he said the league overall needs to market itself better. The conference, he said, is at a disadvantage because of the widespread distribution and success of the SEC Network and Big Ten Network.

Eliminating LHN, which he called a “failure,” and creating a conference-wide Big 12 Network would give the league more national exposure, Gundy added.

“If we don’t eliminate the Longhorn Network and create our own network, they’re going to continue to have issues with this league,” Gundy said as the Cowboys returned from spring break to continue spring practice.

He continued: “You don’t have a Big 12 Network; you have a network within the league that people consider a failure.”

LHN’s struggles are well-documented. The school-centric network reportedly has lost $48 million since its launch in 2011. Its annual losses are now in the single-digit millions, according to a source. Both ESPN and Texas seem committed to the 20-year, $295 million agreement that would pay the school an average of $15 million per year.

“Everything is based on marketing,” Gundy said. “Right now the Big 12 is not getting the marketing we need because of the Longhorn Network. Now, nobody wants to hear that but …”

The Longhorn Network is a failure only to those keeping an eye on Mickey’s balance sheet.  If you’re keeping the books at Texas, $15 million dollars a year looks pretty good – and when you realize that’s money none of your peers is getting paid, it looks even better.

So the ‘Horns should give that up in the name of doing the right thing for its competitors?  When’s the last time a football power behaved that magnanimously?  It’s simply not in their DNA.

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“Success isn’t all tied to the money, but it certainly isn’t unrelated.”

Dennis Dodd sounds the alarm for the Big 12.

The evidence is mounting. The signs are there for the Big 12. The conference has to do something to address its future.

While there remains a slow, deliberate pace among Big 12 members considering expansion and/or a conference championship game, the league’s clock is ticking.

It’s the economy, stupid.

Bowlsby summed it up this way when asked the financial gap between his league and the SEC, a number that currently stands at about $9 million per year in rights fee revenue.

“If we do nothing, 12 years from now, we’ll be $20 million per school behind the SEC and the Big Ten,” he said.

Sure, that sounds crass, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

Here’s the problem.  Even if the conference could find a couple of attractive expansion partners – and as Donald Trump might put it, that assumption is huuuuge – it’s still saddled with Texas and The Longhorn Network.

If eventually there is a Big 12 Network, it’s clear Texas’ collective ego will have to be soothed. It sort of has look like was their idea to fold the struggling Longhorn Network into a conference-wide network.

LHN, to this point, has been a financial failure, losing a total of $48 million, according to the San Antonio Express-News. A source told CBS Sports that the network continues to lose single-digit millions.

But more to the point, Texas isn’t.  It’s raking in $15 million a year for twenty years.  What does Bob Bowlsby have to offer to make up for that, especially in the context of conference expansion, which means ultimately having to split the pie into more slices?

This is the best Dodd can come up with:

… A reasonable solution could be Texas being the centerpiece of a Big 12 Network.

“Texas is always going to dominate the content on the network,” an industry source said. “They’re good in baseball. They’re good in softball. They’re good in volleyball. They’re good in swimming. They’re going to have a lot more presence than other schools just because they’re better than other schools most of the time.”

See how the Texas ego begins to be soothed? We’re essentially talking LHN branded as the Big 12 Network.

A rebranding?  Seriously, that does sound like something Bowlsby would come up with… and that Texas would pass on, after it caught its breath from laughing so hard at his proposal.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.