Blog Entry

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

Posted on: August 29, 2011 8:37 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 9:05 pm
Let's look at this current conference alignment thing a different way. No commissioner wants to be seen as the one to cause Alignment Armageddon. But if it has to be the Big 12, who could blame Dan Beebe? His embattled league has suffered enough. Suddenly it has options, good ones, with or without Texas A&M.

We all pretty much agree that we're headed sooner or later toward the age of the super conference with four 16-team (or whatever number) conferences. The question is how or when. Right now, we stand on the precipice with Texas A&M wanting to go to the SEC, but the SEC still thinking about whether to take the Aggies.

That's because the SEC doesn't have to expand. It's fine how it is with 18 years to run on a $3 billion contract with CBS and ESPN. If A&M goes then sooner or later, the SEC is going to have to get a 14th member. Commissioner Mike Slive seemingly loves A&M but he -- and his presidents -- don't necessarily want to be that guy, responsible for breaking up another league.

The question is whether Beebe has such reservations. And as long as he has Oklahoma and Texas, he has leverage.

As mentioned, it's looking suddenly like the Big 12 is dealing from a position of strength. It could lose Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC and still be able to lure two teams (or more) to stay viable. Why? As long as the Texas/Oklahoma axis remains solid, so is the league. Fox invested $1.17 billion over 13 years just for the secondary rights. The Big 12 is going to hit another big financial home run in a couple of years when it goes out to bid. (The assumption is that ESPN will re-up for the primary rights.)

To this point, Oklahoma has shown a willingness to stay with Texas. While the schools are rivals on the field, ADs Joe Castiglione and DeLoss Dodds are close. They know that the fortunes of the two superpowers are mutually beneficial.

If Texas and Oklahoma stay bonded, the Big 12 is in somewhat of a position of power. It could raid the Big East and go to 12 or 16. Why not go get Pittsburgh and Louisville? Sure, Big East basketball great but think of a hoops league with Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Pittsburgh and Louisville.

BIG POINT NO. 1: Even though the Big East is due for a windfall rights fee of its own in a few years I'm told that the pending primary rights deal for the Big 12 would be bigger than the Big East's entire deal. 

Would that possibility pry Notre Dame loose? Not likely. ND AD Jack Swarbrick reiterated for the millionth time on Monday that his school is happy with independence. ND probably would need eight home games to make the deal work in the Big 12 because of its deal with NBC, at least one of those being a neutral site game. The school makes a reported $15 million a year from that deal. The Big 12 wouldn't say no then ND also reaping $20 million from the Big 12 deal. Heck, it's Notre Dame.

Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said publicly last year that the Big 12 would be an attractive place for Notre Dame's minor sports. The schools do start a four-game football series in 2015.

While we're at it, let's also forget the talk of Arkansas, SMU and Houston to the Big 12. Arkansas would be taking a pay cut. The Big 12 is already in the Dallas, Houston and state of Texas markets. SMU is making its case in part because it has been to back-to-back bowls. Is that all it takes these days?

In this age don't think of conference affiliations, think of which schools assembled together make for the most lucrative media rights deals. Remember, geography matters little. When TCU enters the Big East in 2012 that will be its fifth conference since 1995.

That's why the pool of candidates for the SEC's No. 14 has to include Missouri, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia Tech. That's not the list, it's a best-guess list if you believe that the SEC isn't going to expand inside its footprint. That means no Georgia Tech, no Louisville, no Clemson, no Florida State.

Whether the Big 12 loses Missouri or not, BYU has emerged as an attractive replacement for Texas A&M. That's not news. BYU has a loyal and large following. The question is whether BYU would give up its long-range plan for independence after only one year. One source last week went as far as to say BYU would be "excited" about the prospect of joining the Big 12.

AD Tom Holmoe told Brett McMurphy this month that his school was happy at the moment

While the Cougars have ESPN as a scheduling partner, it has to become apparent to the school sooner or later that it is all but out of BCS contention in most seasons. By going independent, it has the essentially the same BCS status as Army and Navy. That is to say, the only automatic berth would be if BYU finishes No. 1 or No. 2.

The six BCS conference champions are guaranteed a bid. A champion from one of the five non-BCS leagues get a bid if it finishes in the top 12 or top 16 if it is ranked higher in the final BCS standings than a BCS conference champion. Notre Dame (because it's Notre Dame) gets an automatic bid if it finishes in the top eight of the BCS.

Army, Navy and BYU? Guaranteed only in the top two. BIG POINT NO. 2: Essentially that means BYU could finish 10-2 (or even 11-1) and have nothing guaranteed in the BCS.

Earlier this year, I wrote that BYU's independence was more about faith that most people thought. I'm starting to think all it would take is one year of being left out of the BCS (and a call from the Big 12) for the school's fans and officials to change their minds about independence.

Meanwhile, the "composition language" in the SEC contract is probably similar to that of the Big 12's. That means ESPN would most likely try to renegotiate downward its current deal with the Big 12. Say that is 10 percent of the contract given that A&M represents 10 percent of the Big 12. At that point it becomes like rearranging deck chairs. ESPN could tell the SEC, the money it is taking away from the Big 12 goes to the SEC. In essence, A&M's money would follow it to the SEC.

It isn't that easy. The SEC would most likely negotiate for more saying it is gaining huge viewership in the state of Texas. BIG POINT NO. 3: What's forgotten is the SEC isn't starting from a zero position. In case you haven't noticed, ESPN is already in Texas. SMU AD Steve Orsini told me last week that the ratings for Big 12 and SEC games in Dallas are "even." Whether that's true or not, there is already a big following for the SEC in the Lone Star State because there is a big following for the SEC everywhere. That's why the league already gets the big bucks.

A further hang-up on this A&M thing: It's better for everyone if the SEC expands by two all at once. That's one negotiation, rather than two. But if Texas A&M is one, what's the other?

It might not matter to the Big 12.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 6:19 pm

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

One of the things that hasn't been discussed is the Big-10.  They aren't going to sit idle and wait for everything else to happen to them.  The Pac-10 won't either. 

If you want my opinion, the Big-10 Will raid the Big East and perhaps Missouri to get to 16 (Think Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Syracuse).  The SEC will take A&M and raid the ACC for three more (Florida State,  Miami, Clemson).  The Pac-12 will take Oklahoma, Oklahoma St. and perhaps Texas Tech).  The ACC will combine with the Big East and perhaps the Kansas Schools to form a super Basketball conference.

That's my opinion.  Texas will be left as an independent like Notre Dame because they won't share their revenue.  Their non-football sports will have to hook up with another conference.  Maybe the Big East as well.


Since: Mar 6, 2007
Posted on: August 31, 2011 11:50 am

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options


Since: Apr 10, 2009
Posted on: August 30, 2011 4:26 pm

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

So, I was reading this article:



I had this crazy thought. What if the SEC brain trust got together and said, "You know what? We're already the kings of football, we don't really need any more power teams to prove that point. What if we offered A&M, MU, KU and UNC? Wouldn't that make us the best college sports conference, period?" 

Since: Feb 2, 2010
Posted on: August 30, 2011 10:44 am

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

Virginia Tech, Maryland and North Carolina all have an interest of zero in the SEC (Virginia Tech's is less than zero).
You give no reasoning whatsoever for why these schools have no interest.  I'll give you UNC because of their basketball focus, but I don't see how they would get an offer anyway right now given their recent infractions and current uncertainty.  They might fall off the football map entirely.

But Miami's lack of production in the conference thus far and impending ncaa hammering leave the conference in bad shape overall.  VT has documented significant losses from recent bcs games due to poor matchups and general fan apathy from being in the same game over and over.  Why would they not leave?  They could compete in the sec east, and would make far more money not going to a bcs game in the sec than going to one in the acc.  The politics there are also not what they were last time around.  There are new people in charge, the budgets look more dire, and in general VT needs its sports more than UVA does.  UVA being stuck in a lower tier conference would be much less of a problem than VT being stuck there.

Maryland is interesting, but I don't see the style fitting very well, and its significantly more north.  Though its located closer to DC the fanbase all resides north of its location.  VT rules the northern virginia area which is the vast majority of the DC metro.  For proof just look at the draw they've produced for Boise and USC at FedEx in recent years.

Since: Apr 10, 2009
Posted on: August 30, 2011 10:24 am

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

All right, here's my bold prediction: 

Big XII offers and gets acceptance from BYU, Pitt and WVU 

Since: Aug 9, 2010
Posted on: August 30, 2011 10:10 am

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

Everyone is assuming that the SEC won't expand within it's own footprint.  Florida, now with five major schools and a total of seven in FBS, mean that the SEC is losing a lot to other conferences in this major state.  Florida State has always wanted SEC membership and in many ways is a better fit than Florida.  Don't count out FSU for membership in the SEC East, which also brings some balance.

Missouri only makes since for TV Market.  There are no ties here.  None to A&M and none to Arkansas.  

Virginia has laready said no interest.  VA politics won't allow either UVA or VA Tech to move.  Can't see North Carolina moving without Duke.  No city schools in the SEC, so forget Louisville and Miami.

If anything Arkansas now feels out of place as A&M and LSU become big rivals.

SEC Prediction:

1.  Texas A&M
2.  Florida State
3.  North Carolina State Offered

If Arkansas joins Big 12

1.  Texas A&M
2.  Florida State
3.  North Carolina Offered
4.  Duke Offered

BIG 12 Prediction:

1.  BYU offered -  Offered and may accept
2.  Arkansas offered - Doubtful
3.  TCU/SMU/Houston All Offered 
4.  Colorado State Offered when TCU turns down

Big Ten Prediction:
1.  Kansas and Missouri Offered


Since: Oct 4, 2009
Posted on: August 30, 2011 9:45 am

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

Why not combine the MWC and what's left of the Big 12? Simple answer

Since: Nov 21, 2010
Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:43 am

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options


Why not refer to the Big 12 as the Big 8, plus 2?  Calling it the Big 10 gets too confusing.   

Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: August 30, 2011 3:14 am

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

So your proposal is to go to 6 Super-Conferences instead of 4, and have 14 in each? You mention the Mountain West Champ as an 8 seed, so I am assuming you are referring to the Mountain West as being one of the 6 which conferences are you thinking or proposing will make it?

Because as of now, these are the big conferences: (and I rate these in my opinion of strength right now in all sports)

1. SEC
2. OLD BIG 10, formerly BIG 11, and now currently BIG 12 (we just need to change the name completely to a regional name, like the MIDWEST 12)
3. PAC-12, formerly PAC-10
4. ACC5. BIG 12, currently the BIG 10, and about to be the BIG 9 if Texas A&M leaves
6. BIG EAST (give them the nod over the Mountain West, even though the MWC is better in football, because of their dominance in NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball)

If there were 6 Super Conferences, then I think they would go in this direction:

6. BIG EAST 14

So maybe the Big 12 (now the Big 10) would change its name back to the SOUTWEST CONFERENCE? And if A&M leaves, and possibly with a good chance Missouri leaves, and either joins the SEC or the BIG 10, then that means adding 6 more schools to make 14 because they would be left with 8 after MU and A&M leaving. So add TCU, BYU, Boise State, Memphis, SMU, and Houston maybe? With other possible additions being Rice, Southern Miss, Nevada, Fresno State, Colorado State, Air Force, or Notre Dame. But let's face it, all the big-draw programs outside of Notre Dame would already be taken, so there would be no addition of the bigger schools, just smaller schools, thus this conference would be a Texas-Oklahoma driven conference, and they would probably be in different divisions and play each other every year in the championship.

Honestly, I don't like it. I like the sound of the 16 team conferences, and I think the Big 12 will be one of the odd men out in the scenario. It will be the Southeastern, Pacific, Midwestern, and Eastern/Atlantic in my opinion. Texas if it can, may go independent, and Missouri to the SEC, with Oklahoma/OSU/Texas Tech to the Pacific and Kansas/KSU to the Midwestern, and the possibility of Baylor and Iowa State getting swallowed up in the void that is left.

But we will see. When the building blocks start falling, it should be as fun to watch where teams land as the NCAA tourney.....

Since: Apr 10, 2009
Posted on: August 30, 2011 1:05 am

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

Its odd, but I actually suggested this craziness about the Big XII possibly raiding the Big East and being the first to 16 to try and insulate itself from further poaching. Reading some of the Big East blogs, there's already some subtle dislike between the dual sport and basketball only schools. If there is a push to go to Super Conferences, the Big East and ACC are just as susceptible as the Big XII is. Basically, they would follow the land grab idea the PAC tried last year, get six or seven teams (depending if they want BYU or not) and have a hug conference footprint that would be strong in both football and basketball.

West Division

MU, KU, KSU, OU, OSU, Texas, Tech, Baylor

East Division

ISU, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn

Or, if Syracuse and UConn don't want to break up their Big East basketball ties:


ISU, KU, KSU, MU, Pitt, WVU, Rutgers, Cin


OU, OSU, Texas, Tech, Baylor, TCU, South Florida, Louisville

I haven't even broached the subject of BYU or a distant pipe dream of Notre Dame. The arrangement wouldn't even have to be traditional divisions, it could be a quad system:

North: ISU, Cincinnati, MU and Pitt
Midwest: OU, OSU, KU, KSU
South: Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Louisville
Northeast: WVU, Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn

Each school could have a permanent cross quad rival if it wants: Texas-OU; WVU-Pitt; KU-MU; Syr-Lou; KSU-ISU. Or, they can just make the cross quad game a random rotation in the schedule. Play everyone in your quad for three games, another quad on a rotating basis for four games, and then the permanent rival/rotated cross quad for one or two games (depending on how many non-con slots you want to leave open, for a total of 8-9 conference games. You have to win your quad to advance to the playoffs: four teams with some sort of seeding structure, winner gets best BCS game.

It would probably receive a huge multi network TV deal, bring together teams that normally don't play one another into huge TV market areas. Heck, they could probably get more once they pitch the outstanding basketball ideas you can add on top of this football arrangement.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or