Category Archives: Big 12 Football

Bob Bowlsby and the First Rule of Holes

The horse may be out of the barn, but the Big 12’s commissioner thinks the horse made a big, big mistake.

Bob Bowlsby this week questioned the reasoning of Texas and Oklahoma departing the Big 12 for the SEC to the point of calling the decision “silly,” citing several reasons. The Big 12 commissioner made the comments in an exclusive interview with CBS Sports during Big 12 basketball media day.

Bowlsby suggested the two powerhouses leaving his league will create competitive issues in the SEC.

“Their chances [to advance to the College Football Playoff] are better coming through the Big 12,” he said. “That’s a silly part of it. It’s not very much money [difference], and competitively, they’ve got a better path [in the Big 12]. It makes no sense.”

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Bowlsby just admitted his conference is weaker than the SEC.

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Hell hath no fury like an embarrassed conference commissioner.

Bob Bowlsby is such a whiny little bitch.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks in measured tones about Texas’ and Oklahoma’s decision to leave for the SEC. Asked if he’s still pissed off, the answer is nuanced but clear.

“Being, to use your term pissed off about it, I can’t allow myself that,” Bowlsby said. “I have to get over the sense of personal betrayal and do what’s necessary for our eight continuing members. And that’s what we did.”

Personal betrayal.

Trust me, Bob, there was nothing personal about it.  It was all business.  Just like when you turned around and raided the AAC to fill the open slots in your conference.

So why does Bowlsby believe the two schools are leaving?

“Haven’t the vaguest idea,” he said, sitting in the bowels of T-Mobile Center. “To this day, they’ve given us no answers to that question. Either one.”

Why not?

“You’ll have to ask them that,” Bowlsby said. “I’ve asked repeatedly, and they never made us aware of any concerns in advance. When we’ve asked the question since then, we’ve gotten no response.”

Either he’s totally clueless, or totally full of shit.  I’m voting on the latter, especially after reading this shot.

“They’re thinking they’re going to recruit better and they’re going to get more money,” Bowlsby said. “Anybody that thinks Texas’ football problems have been a result of league affiliation are completely delusional.”

Texas fans have long complained about the home schedule. For example, few fans are excited about Kansas coming to Royal-Memorial Stadium on Nov. 13.

“Well, here comes Vanderbilt,” Bowlsby said. “Every league is structured similarly to what ours is. There’s three or four bell cows and there’s the rest.”

Well, Bob, two of your prized bell cows just escaped from the ranch.  Good luck with that.

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Paranoia strikes deep.

Just a reminder that coaching douchebaggery isn’t limited to one specific conference:

This isn’t Riley’s first brush with media restrictions.

Neither Rattler nor Williams were made available for interviews after the emotional win, which marked the biggest come-from-behind victory in the rivalry’s history. ESPN sideline reporter  that Riley denied her the opportunity to interview Williams on the postgame broadcast.

The tweet, which was later deleted, read: “Dear viewers, please know I am always working for you. I asked to interview [Caleb Williams] postgame and Lincoln Riley said no. That kid deserved this stage and this opportunity. I actually apologized to Caleb who expected to be interviewed.”

Like coaches across the sport, Riley has a history of paranoia around outsiders viewing practice. In 2020, the University of Oklahoma applied an “opaque film” on 54 dorm room windows that could conceivably see the Oklahoma practice field. The move came as many classes at Oklahoma moved online due to the pandemic.

“While I don’t think very many people would intentionally expose our student-athletes to a competitive disadvantage, it would only take one instance to create an unfavorable situation,” Riley wrote in a letter to students affected by the blurring at the time.

Doing it for the kids is undefeated.  That’s how you know he means well.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, General Idiocy

The hunted become the hunters.

Here’s the official announcement.

The acceptances are already rolling in.

Now comes the question about timing.  I hardly believe the Big 12 is going to play at fourteen until Oklahoma and Texas leave.

Not to mention, as Andy Staples pointed out, I have a hard time thinking OU and UT will be on board splitting conference revenues by fourteen instead of ten.  In other words, send in the lawyers.

By the way, this is one sprawling conference now, from Utah to West Virginia to Orlando.  That should make for some terrific mid-week travel plans for, say, women’s volleyball players.  Academics?  It’s all for the greater good, girls.

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Destined for greatness

Bob Bowlsby’s gotta plan, man.

Supposedly things are moving fast enough that he’s already met with Houston.  And, yes, it’s impossible to ignore the irony of a league whining about being raided turning right around to do the same thing to shore up itself.

The $64000 question, of course, is will that do the trick.  Color me skeptical.  The Big 12 is losing Sagarin’s number two and number ten rated teams and attempting to replace them with numbers 23, 34, 65 and 95.  How much does Bowlsby figure that’s gonna impress the selection committee?

To put it another way, Bob Bowlsby may not be saying it out loud at the moment, but he’s firmly on the 12-team playoff train.

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“There is a lot of interest in the Big 12 Conference.”

The Big 12 is going to fight for its right to partay.

With the announcement Thursday that the Pac-12 Conference will not explore expansion in the near future, the fracturing Big 12 will throw its energy into looking at potential new members, Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt said.

The Texas Tech athletics director is part of a four-person expansion subcommittee tasked with leading the effort, which starts immediately.

“Right now, our complete focus is to make the Big 12 as strong as it can possibly be,” Hocutt said, “and I expect that Texas Tech will play a leadership role in that. We’re going to continue to be part of the Power Five structure in college athletics.”

You know they’re serious about it when they bring in the big gun.

Hocutt spoke hours later before a Red Raider Club kickoff event at which U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, addressed Tech fans. A Tech contingent has been seeking redress from the state’s political leaders since Texas and Oklahoma threw the future of the Big 12 into disarray with decisions to leave for the Southeastern Conference by July 1, 2025.

… Speaking from the stage, Cruz told Red Raiders fans that Tech matters in West Texas, across the state and nationally. He said he was in Minneapolis two years ago, “cheering on Tech” in the championship game of the men’s NCAA Tournament.

“College football right now is in flux. This is an uncertain time,” Cruz said. “But I want to say something clearly and unequivocally: Texas Tech belongs in a Power Five conference.”

Yeah, that should do the trick.  And if it doesn’t, there’s always whining.

Hocutt took thinly-veiled shots at the movers and shakers behind the latest realignment moves. He said that trust has been broken “and without trust, there’s very little relationships.”

“I’m not sure that we’ve ever seen so much distrust and just turbulence within college athletics as we’re seeing now,” he said, “and it’s really unfortunate, the lack of relationships and trust. I think we’ve got to really re-establish some foundational aspects of college athletics as we move forward because things are changing and they’re changing fast. It’s a different time, and it’s going to be different in the next five or 10 years.”

Like he wouldn’t be sprinting for the exits if a P5 conference wanted his school.

I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Political Wankery

Do you remember Bowlsby?

Yeah, the Big 12 got a resounding vote of confidence yesterday.

On the one hand, Phillips said this about the Big 12: “We want and need the Big 12 to do well. The Big 12 matters in college athletics. The Big 12 matters in Power 5 athletics, and our FBS group. And so I can just tell you that we’ll be watching what occurs here.”

So why not include the Big 12 as part of this new alliance?

“At the time that we got together, there was great instability,” Phillips said. “Is the Big 12 going to be together? Are they going to join another conference? Are they going to lose members? What is the end game? And I think the three of us felt like we had stability in our leagues. And that is what the enterprise, I think, would benefit most [from].”

Might want to start work on updating that resume, Bob.

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The Jed Clampett Alliance

Sooooo… this dropped last night.

The Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC have had preliminary discussions about forming an alliance, likely built around scheduling but possibly other areas, sources told ESPN.

Commissioners George Kliavkoff (Pac-12), Kevin Warren (Big Ten) and Jim Phillips (ACC) have been in regular communication, and have also had some in-person discussions. Kliavkoff and Warren were together this week for Rose Bowl meetings. Pac-12 sources said all three commissioners met last week in Chicago.

“I’ve been in frequent and regular contact with all of the other A5 commissioners the last few weeks about the four or five complex issues that are facing our industry,” Kliavkoff told ESPN on Friday night. “Anything beyond that is just speculation, and I can’t comment on it.”

Needless to say, social media was en fuego over the news.  Plenty of spicy takes and rampant speculation.  Do I have thoughts?  Of course I do!

The underlying motive — “that bastard Sankey… we’ve got to do something to respond!” — is easy to understand.  It’s the end game that’s murky.

Athletic directors in two of the leagues discussing an alliance told ESPN that nonconference scheduling likely would be the focus, but that there aren’t many details yet. The SEC’s addition of Texas and Oklahoma, plus commissioner Greg Sankey’s involvement in proposing a 12-team expanded College Football Playoff model, has been seen as an attempt to consolidate power.

“There is some alignment in us against them a little bit,” a Power 5 athletic director said.

Yeah, that’s a pretty good summary in three sentences.  Now, on to the bullet points:

  • First of all, the hypocrisy is pretty thick here, at least as it pertains to the SEC’s power grab.  Colorado was poached from the Big 12 by the Pac-12.  Maryland was taken from the ACC by the Big Ten.  Hell, the ACC basically destroyed the Big East when it expanded.  So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not totally moved by the bridge too far attitude on display here.  There isn’t a single one of these three conferences that wouldn’t have welcomed Oklahoma and Texas with open arms, given the opportunity.
  • Second, and this is where the murk starts to seep in, is how this move is seen as some sort of resistance to ESPN’s power, particularly as it relates to the broadcast rights to an expanded CFP.  Skipping past the hilarity of the light bulbs suddenly going off over the heads of the three commissioners after years and years of evidence of Mickey’s power, the way to make that work is to hold the four-team field in place until the current contract expires in 2026.  That’s something the Ohio State-led Big Ten and the Clemson-led ACC can live with, but is the Pac-12 really prepared to remain irrelevant in the postseason for another five years?  That’s quite the sacrifice for the greater good.
  • The scheduling aspect of this had all the usual suspects excited:  a Big Ten-ACC Challenge!  Clemson-Southern Cal, baby!  Eh, the high end matchups are the easy part.  In fact, college football has already shown over the past couple of years that you don’t need an alliance to schedule high profile non-conference games.
  • The tough part of this comes when you have to rearrange many things to get that Georgia Tech-Washington State game that the viewing public so badly craves.  Let’s assume the three conferences agree for each of their teams to play a game against a team in each of the other two.  What existing games are going to be sacrificed?  Does the Pac-12 drop its ninth conference game?  Do the three ACC teams that play state rivalry games against SEC schools ditch those?  How much in buyout fees of guarantee games do these schools pay?
  • The ironic and depressing thing here is that in one breath these three conferences want to resist ESPN’s vision for the sport while in the next reduce their reliance on regionalism in embracing a more national approach for viewership, which is precisely what the network’s approach has been since the four-team CFP has come into being.  It’s as unsurprising as it is shortsighted.
  • Oh, and as if we didn’t already know, the Big 12 is well and truly fucked.  Kliavkoff meeting with Bowlsby while secretly meeting with the other two P5 counterparts is a page out of the same playbook Sankey ran.  If Bowlsby’s schools weren’t already looking for a way off the boat, they’re surely scrambling to find the life rafts now.

Bottom line, I’m not sure why an alliance of sorts is necessary.  If the goal is to thwart ESPN, all you need for that is a voting bloc that is big enough to outvote the SEC in order to control the outcome.  (Though it’s worth considering that there’s nothing about this alliance that’s attractive for Notre Dame or the G5 conferences, both of which have as much to gain from a 12-team CFP as does the Pac-12.)  There’s also nothing about this that’s going to reduce the SEC’s cash flow after it grows to 16.

As far as a scheduling alliance goes, that only works if…

Needless to say, I don’t think Greg Sankey lost any sleep last night.

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Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Dear Attorney General

Senator from Kansas asks the Justice Department to investigate ESPN for potential antitrust violations related to Oklahoma and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

… Because they have the television rights to the SEC they will benefit from the additions of Texas and Oklahoma immensely. Conveniently, the ESPN-SEC deal begins in 2024 and their contract expires with the Big XII only a year later when the teams are slated to join the SEC.

While the terms of the contract are unknown to me, it’s important to note the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that the exclusive right to televise all league games is a violation of anti-trust laws. While the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 was passed to overturn this decision for professional football, college football broadcast packages are not subject to the antitrust exemption in that law.

While the terms of the contract are unknown to me…” is a short way of saying “I have no idea what’s going on, but my constituents want me to yell about it anyway”.  Politicians, man.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Political Wankery

TFW they expect you to do something

Shot.

Chaser.

I’m sure this will work out just fine.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Pac-12 Football