Category Archives: Big 12 Football

When Big 12 membership absolutely positively has to be there overnight…

You can sit there, gussy yourself up a little bit and convince yourself that you’re a terrific fit for the Big 12.

Or you can try outright bribery.

On Feb. 24, Memphis president David Rudd penned a letter to Gee and copied Oklahoma president David Boren and Baylor president Ken Starr, the other two members of the composition committee, as well as former Big 12 board chairman and Kansas State president Kirk Schulz. In the letter, Rudd pledged that Memphis will make a $500 million investment in academic and athletic infrastructure over the next five years. Rudd also enclosed a letter from FedEx chairman Fred Smith, who stated that the delivery services giant headquartered in Memphis will be behind the school’s Big 12 campaign.

“We strongly support the university’s efforts to become a member of an expanded Big 12 athletic conference,” Smith wrote to Rudd in a letter dated Feb. 23. “In support of [Memphis’] Big 12 aspirations, we have researched college conference sponsorships and are prepared to become a major Big 12 sponsor of football and basketball.”

Smith also wrote that FedEx would be prepared to sponsor a Big 12 championship game.

“We believe the University of Memphis and the Big 12 are a great fit and hope our support will contribute to the University of Memphis becoming a member of this storied athletic conference in the near future,” Smith wrote.

Sounds like a match made in heaven.

 

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Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Just Bidness

“We’re going to force the president to tell us where we stand.”

The Oklahoma board of regents gets all “you’re not the boss of me” with the school’s president about Big 12 expansion.

The most strident and powerful voice in favor of Big 12 expansion has a significant opponent at his own school.

Max Weitzenhoffer, the Oklahoma board of regents chairman, told CBS Sports he will try to convince influential OU president David Boren to ditch Big 12 expansion.

“I can tell you I’m not alone,” Weitzenhoffer said.

The seven-member board, which serves as the school’s governing body, will meet Thursday. At that time, Weitzenhoffer said, he will seek clarification on the board’s input regarding the school’s vote on expansion.

At least one other regents member, Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clay Bennett, is against expansion, Weitzenhoffer said.

“One-hundred percent [with] what we’ve been talking about,” Weitzenhoffer said of Bennett’s position. “We just want to let him [Boren] know, we don’t like it.

“If it goes forward, it may get to the point where we may not be able to stop it.”

Why the conflict?  Hint:  it’s a five-letter word beginning with “m” that rhymes with honey.

He added he is “very close friends” with Boren but added, “We’re not on the same page. They keep talking about more money, but it’s really not that much more money.”

It is known that any expansion candidates will be paid “pro rata” — the same annually as current Big 12 members, about $23 million per year. What is not known is what additional money — if any — rightsholders ESPN and Fox would be willing to pay the Big 12 for expansion.

Judging from this, Weitzenhoffer may very well have the better argument:

Weitzenhoffer explained why the Big 12 stands to gain little in expanding to schools most commonly mentioned — Boise State, BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis and South Florida, among others.

“Those are the ones I keep hearing,” Weitzenhoffer said. “They have no seating capacities in their stadiums. They really don’t build them up. They really don’t have any TV. I really don’t know what we have to gain by that.”

“The problem with Cincinnati is … then they start getting all this money,” Weitzenhoffer said. “Then what do we do? We build up somebody we don’t want to build up.”

At least six of those expansion candidates have capacities at or below the Big 12’s two smallest stadiums — TCU and Baylor (approximately 45,000). Only UConn ($72 million) would be close to the lowest-revenue athletic departments in the Big 12 (Baylor and TCU, each at approximately $71 million).

The real money is elsewhere.  The Big 12’s problem is that the real money isn’t going anywhere else.

The only way expansion makes sense, Weitzenhoffer said, is snagging teams from a Power Five conference. With the exception of the SEC, those conferences are bound together at the moment each by a grant of rights. If any school leaves, its television rights are retained by the existing conference.

Thus — short of a bitter, protracted court challenge — no Power Five schools are likely to leave until the middle of the next decade.

“I don’t think anybody can [be shaken loose],” Weitzenhoffer said, adding, “We’ve been fiddling with Notre Dame for years … but they’re not going to be leaving.”

Eh, it could be worse.  At least the Big 12 has the bold leadership of Bob Bowlsby at the helm.

 

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Don’t mess with Texas.

If things are the way this report indicates,

Big 12 leaders have been in talks about essentially converting the Longhorn Network into the Big 12 Network, sources said. In return, Texas would still make more money from the network than any other school.

The Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference are the only the so-called Power 5 conferences that do not have their own TV networks.

It’s believed seven of the 10 schools favor expansion. But Big 12 bylaws call for a super majority vote of 75 percent (so at least eight schools) to make a major change. Texas is believed to be influencing Texas Tech’s and Texas Christian’s decisions to also be reluctant to expansion.

Texas Tech has long fallen in line with Texas. Both are public universities that have been in the same league together since 1956, when they were in the Southwest Conference. Texas and Texas Tech were founding members of the Big 12 in 1996.

TCU is believed to be following Texas’ lead because the conference’s power broker reportedly helped the Horned Frogs get into the Big 12 four years ago.

… Bob Bowlsby can’t make up enough data to jump start Big 12 expansion.  And why would Texas cooperate, anyway?

Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls recently shared his thoughts:

I still see no willingness on Texas’ part to fold the Longhorn Network into a Big 12 network, even if the league gives the Longhorns an extra $15 million share to cover its LHN income, because, the Texas source said, “we would get the same money, but lose our branding and having our own channel? Not very compelling. If we get rid of LHN, it will be to change conferences, in my opinion.”

Branding is a sensitive topic in Austin.  Just ask Steve Patterson.

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

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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Filed under Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment