Category Archives: Big 12 Football

The days “when the Big 12 was the Big 12”

Er, wut?

That financial focus is especially the reality for the Big 12, which was born as a merger of two defunct conferences (the Southwest and the Big Eight); which lost members to three other leagues during the past several years of realignment…

The Big 12 is an amalgam forged out of failure.  It has no historical tradition as such with which to wrap itself in, something that makes it different from its four other P5 peers.  That means it feels even less restraint in its current money chase, which is why this strategy doesn’t sound as implausible as it might at first glance.

The most important data point in favor of Big 12 expansion, said Neal Pilson, a media consultant and former CBS Sports president, is the massive rights extensions the Big Ten reportedly struck with Fox, ESPN and CBS, which would nearly triple that conference’s annual rights revenue (not including the Big Ten Network), to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars…

For that reason, Pilson advised the Big 12 to take a page from the Big Ten’s playbook. Much as the Big Ten, a traditionally Midwestern league, recently added Rutgers and Maryland to plant its flag near several East Coast population centers, the Big 12, whose members reside in Great Plains states and Texas (and West Virginia), ought to invite Connecticut to join, Pilson said.

“Having Texas and Oklahoma and the other major Big 12 schools playing in the Northeast would create additional revenue opportunities and make it a more attractive conference in terms of new sponsors and a better linear television deal,” Pilson said.

Again, if you’re a fan of college football —  and if you’re reading this blog, that’s a pretty good indication you are — you recognize that one of the sport’s greatest strengths is based in its regional appeal.  If chasing “a better linear television deal” is to be the Big 12’s new raison d’etre, I’m not sure what that says about that conference’s long-term survival chances.  What depresses me, though, is the worry that this turns out to be the canary in the coal mine for the sport as a whole.


Filed under Big 12 Football

Today, in mixing politics and sports

Ladies and gentlemen, the governor of Texas.

I wonder how the presidents of the conference’s schools in Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and West Virginia will take that considerate advice.


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

Thursday morning buffet

Fire up the chafing dishes!


Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Just Ask Lou Holtz About Lou Holtz, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The Big 12 does a 180 on conference expansion.

Not even two weeks ago, we heard Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione proclaim that Big 12 conference expansion was dead.

“There aren’t any signs that we’ll talk anymore about expansion for a little while,” Castiglione added. “We don’t have a timeline on it.”

Eh, who needs timelines?

In the span of one afternoon, the Big 12 all but decided to change the very nature of its conference and shake up the entire college sports universe for the foreseeable future.

The conference of One True Champion is about to undergo One True Expansion.

Following a meeting of Big 12 presidents here on Tuesday, Oklahoma President David Boren announced that Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been authorized to engage schools interested in joining the Big 12 and said the league could grow by as many as four teams.

That’s quite the reversal.  Hope none of them suffered whiplash.

The tripping point appears to be the deal the ACC cut earlier this week with ESPN to establish its own network.

But the momentum changed Monday when ESPN reported that the ACC would soon announce a partnership on a new cable network and had agreed to a so-called “grant of rights” locking in its members for the next 20 years.

That means more money for the ACC, more stability and more of a threat to the Big 12 should another league — say, the Big Ten — consider expansion again the next decade.  [Emphasis added.]

I know people are focusing on the money — the Big 12’s current TV deals call for the per-school payouts to increase proportionally with the number of new members added, while nothing requires the conference to turn around and pay full shares to those new members (and it sure won’t), so there’s some short-term profit built into expansion — but it’s the ACC locking its members down financially and taking Notre Dame off the table, too, that’s got to have the Big 12 nervous.  P5 college football exists in an eat or be eaten world, and the Big 12 presidents have apparently decided they’re better off taking on lesser programs rather than sitting exposed waiting for the Big Ten and SEC to siphon off the cream.

Will it work?  Who knows?  As a reminder, this is what the likely list of candidates looks like today:

The leaders in the clubhouse for Big 12 expansion remain BYU, Cincinnati and Connecticut. The next tier includes South Florida, Central Florida, Memphis, Colorado State, Houston, Boise State and Tulane. If the league does add four schools, there’s really no standout candidate for that fourth slot. (Houston has the best program and television market of available schools, but there’s still some hesitancy within the state of Texas to allow the Cougars to use the Big 12 to potentially leap over current members). Schools like Temple, San Diego State and Northern Illinois don’t really have a chance, but will give it a shot anyway.

How you take four schools from that bunch escapes me.  But I’m not as sharp as Bob Bowlsby.

The other thing I don’t get is Texas’ angle.  What do the Longhorns get out of conference expansion that they don’t already enjoy?  Remember, this is a program that had no problem sniffing around for a deal with the then Pac-10 a few years ago and conceivably would find plenty of interested partners if it chose to shop around tomorrow for a more stable home.

The problem the Big 12 has is that it is a small scale representation of college football’s larger haves/have nots problem, with wealthy programs like Oklahoma and Texas at the top and smaller set ups like Iowa State at the bottom.  From a survival standpoint, the small fry need conference expansion a lot more than the big boys do.

I don’t know if what the Big 12 has in mind is going to have much of an impact on conference expansion in general, although I suppose that between the ACC’s deal and what the Big 12 has put on the table, if you’re Delany or Sankey with any thoughts of grabbing a few tasty morsels for your own banquet, there may not be a better time than now to grab a plate.  On the other hand, if Big 12 expansion turns out to be a flop, you might be able to negotiate better terms with a Texas or Oklahoma needing a safe place to land quickly.

In any event, it’s not hard to predict a few awkward moments are coming.


Filed under Big 12 Football

If stupidity were an Olympic event…

Bob Bowlsby would be in line for a gold medal.

In case you were wondering how it was going in the Big 12 after the scandals at Baylor, here’s this thought from Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby at Big 12 media days:

… But let it suffice to say as it pertains to all of our institutions, we are very committed as a group of ten schools to eradicating sexual assault on our campuses. It almost goes without saying that when you combine alcohol and drugs and raging hormones and the experiences of 18-22 years old, it’s probably unrealistic to think that these kinds of things are never going to happen.

All that’s missing is sincere advice to victims everywhere to lie back and enjoy it if it should happen.

Raging hormones lead to rape?  It’s rather staggering to hear someone say this.  And in any event, it isn’t alcohol that causes sexual assault; it’s the one doing the assaulting who causes that.

So, yeah, this is sad and even a bit revolting.  And if Bowlsby’s a dumbass for saying it, what do we call the school presidents who think he’s doing a bang up job as Big 12 commissioner?


Filed under Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment, General Idiocy

That’s why he gets paid the big bucks.

Greetings from the Big 12.

It’s the former Baylor head coach you’re not supposed to remember, Bob.


Filed under Big 12 Football

You can never have enough data points.

The Big 12 is a ten-team conference.  It determines its conference champion in the fairest way possible, by requiring its schools to play a round-robin nine-game conference schedule.

That, of course, isn’t good enough.  With no championship game, there’s money being left on the table.  With no championship game, there’s a feeling that something’s missing for the CFP selection committee to weigh in comparison with the other P5 conferences that have championship games.

And so, even though it’s completely unnecessary, and in fact is just as likely to make things messier in the event that the team which lost in the regular season comes back to win the conference title game, the Big 12 is moving towards having a championship game.

That’s all right with Bill Hancock.

… Hancock praised the Big 12’s decision to reinstitute a championship game in 2017, mirroring the other four major conferences. He emphasized, though, that the primary benefit is not necessarily the fact that all champions will now play 13 games but that the Big 12’s champ will now add another top 25-caliber opponent to its resume.

“How much the Big 12 will be helped by getting another game against a quality opponent — to me, that’s the game-changer,” said Hancock.

That’s a real game-changer, alright.  It’s a perfect example of sacrificing the significance of the regular season to enhance the postseason chase.  And it’s the path that college football, just like men’s basketball before it, is steadily traveling down.  The morons running the game are slowly destroying the character that makes college football unique, the emphasis on regional interest and the regular season.

I’ll keep saying it:  enjoy what you’ve got now, folks, because ten years from now, it won’t be the same.  Not even close.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football