Tag Archives: Big 12 Conference

Sooners Must Find Escape Hatch

In the almost four decades of me being a college sports fan, nothing compares to the stupidity and chaos of conference realignment. And, while the musical chairs exercise from six years ago has mostly died down, the Big 12 continues to keep the music going for indefensible reasons.

I write this as a born and bred Sooner raised just a short drive from Norman, Oklahoma. My childhood shaped my worldview that the University of Oklahoma and its football program are, without question, college football royalty. Regardless of this indisputable fact, OU’s membership in the Big 12 can’t come to an end fast enough.

Someone, please make this nightmare stop because the administrators leading this absurd parade are sucking the ever-loving joy out of my passion for college football. So, you want a solution?

Let’s take a look at the options OU is facing in the Big 12-4+2=10.

Option 1: For the love of Bud Wilkinson, EJECT!

The least likely – but most coveted – scenario is the one where OU leaves for either the SEC or Big Ten as soon as possible. Staying here is a losing situation and, frankly, OU’s resume and those conferences’ histories make the prospect worthy of marriage. Simply put, the Sooners would fit nicely with either conference and add competitive value.

The question has been posed to me: “what value does OU bring to either of those conferences?

Simple. They’re winners. A history of national hardware rivaled by only a handful of other schools in the country. In this century, the Sooners have won a national title, played for three more and were in the College Football Playoff last year. This is a program that has played top-tier opponents and beat them. In last six years alone, OU swept two-game series with Florida State and Tennessee and split with Notre Dame.

What about the other sports?

OU competes at the elite level in sports throughout the athletic department. But, realignment is about football. Everything else is superfluous, so I’m not going to run down the rather impressive list of accomplishments in hoops and the Olympic sports.

Would OU offer TV sets and revenue opportunity?

Let me say this clearly. WHO CARES? At some point, college administrators were able to convince fans that the possibility of a more lucrative TV contract was important…to the fans. The bean counters were able to get fans to buy into the idea that “expanding a conference’s digital footprint” was logic enough for adding a team to a league’s roster.

I am an OU fan. I want to watch the Sooners play in a league that is fun and worthy. How much money OU makes from a conference TV contract couldn’t mean any more to me than the premier date of the next Bridget Jones movie. OU needs to be connected to those who view college football with the same level of intensity.

SEC fan bases would be kindred spirits to those who don the crimson and cream. Fans down South are passionate. They’re committed. They’re irrational. They have it all! OU would be a cultural fit and would bring a football tradition that would be second only to Alabama. An SEC West slate that included home games against LSU, Ole Miss, Auburn and Arkansas, offset by road trips to Tuscaloosa, College Station and Starkville? Sounds like Heaven.

The Big Ten would also be an incredible step up and would also surround OU with schools whose fans care about football year round. While being in a league with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State would make my heart skip a beat, the thought of renewing the Nebraska rivalry makes me want to drive across town and pop open a Pearl Beer on Barry Switzer’s patio.

Option 2: Dilution by Expansion

Currently, at least 20 mid-major schools have sent candygrams and gift cards to the Big 12, hoping to win their hearts, affection and an invite. A list that includes Houston, BYU, New Mexico, Arkansas State and Tulane make up the cast for the worst season of The Bachelor ever.

This whole laughable display is the equivalent of your buddy telling you that he can set you up with a prom date. Your immediate question is, “is she hot?” and his reflex response is “dude, she really rocked last week’s biology quiz and I hear she’s a good dancer.”

Adding some mid-level programs to an already porous conference membership would be the most Big 12 thing ever. As a lifelong Sooner, nothing sounds more ridiculous than being in a conference with Central Florida or Cincinnati.

So, if OU isn’t going to leave immediately, then the next best thing is for the Big 12 to stand pat at 10 teams and then seek another destination when the current TV agreement ends in 2025.

Option 3: The Pipe Dream

There are scenarios that have been suggested where the Tiny 10 steals a notable from a Power 5 conference. While it would be absolutely fantastic for Nebraska to come back to the conference and join Florida State as Teams 11 and 12, that is not a realistic view of the world.

Any Power 5 school that would want to jump into this dumpster fire would be out of their minds. The Big 12 is a constant, dysfunctional, open-air catfight and the people in charge show no desire to operate with respect or self-awareness.

I have yet to meet anyone who wants this university to stay here for one more second, much less wait until the broadcast grant of rights agreement runs out in a decade. As someone with a front row seat to this horror show, it’s not a place that any other Power 5 school wants to be a part of.

How did we get here?

Six years ago, OU had an invitation to join the SEC in tandem with Texas A&M. But, the university leadership turned it down because they only would go somewhere if an invite included Oklahoma State. Turning down the SEC – especially with the OSU attachment stipulation – was an insane decision then and it has proven to be even dumber now.

The University of Oklahoma brings significant value to the reputation of any conference. From historical success to being a current elite, OU football is a product that the SEC and B1G would want to have. It’s time for OU to load up the schooner and find another place to call home.

E-mail Mark at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MarkCFried.

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BYU Should Be Admitted to Big 12 Despite Athlete Ally’s Frivolous Concerns

The last time I checked in on Big 12 expansion, Houston and BYU were positioning themselves, with the help of their respective state governors, as the leading candidates for Big 12 membership. In staying true to form, there is yet another plot twist to the Big 12’s expansion saga as LGBT groups are balking at the idea of BYU being admitted to the Big 12. These LGBT groups are not happy about BYU’s honor code and the stance that the institution takes towards homosexuals.

I can see why LGBT groups would take issue with this portion of the honor code as it does not fit into the mainstream definition of acceptance. However, homosexuals are not banned from attending BYU. They are banned from acting on their sexual urges. I consider this type of splitting of the hairs to be ridiculous, but, contrary to what these LGBT groups suggest, BYU does not deny admission based on sexual orientation.

And besides, we’re talking about admission to a conference based on the athletic market value of the institution. It really is that simple and to make conference expansion a deeper issue is silly.

One LGBT group, Athlete Ally, went a step further in denouncing BYU and how its honor code aligns with the honor codes found at the current Big 12 institutions when the group said that adding BYU “would be inconsistent with Big 12 membership values.” 

First of all, this isn’t Athlete Ally’s call to make and Athlete Ally is not in a position to speak on behalf of the Big 12. But the group has made their statement and it must be dealt with. The Big 12 would be smart not to base its decision on who to admit to the conference based on the preferences of activist groups. If BYU is admitted to the Big 12, just what is Athlete Ally going to do? Hold a rally denouncing the conference? If so, big deal.

My second issue with Athlete Ally’s statement of BYU being inconsistent with Big 12 values is that the group is showing a lack of awareness when it comes to the recent events at Baylor. There should be no implication that LGBT acceptance trumps the travesty that occurred at Baylor, but that is precisely the implication that Athlete Ally is making. If Athlete Ally really wanted to be the watch dog for Big 12 values, the group would not only be fighting to keep BYU out of the conference but they would also be fighting to kick at least Baylor out of the conference.

The two questions that the Big 12 needs to consider are whether or not BYU fits its athletic model and whether or not BYU’s views on homosexuality should factor into the decision to admit them into the Big 12.

To answer my first question, yes, BYU should be admitted to the Big 12. The Cougars are the best available program and the Big 12 would be stupid not to include them in its expansion plans. As for my second question, no, BYU’s views on sexual orientation shouldn’t come into the equation as the Big 12 decides which schools will be invited to join its conference.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom

Photo: Jamieca/Flickr.

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Will History Repeat Itself with the Southwest Conference and Big 12?

The reason for college football expansion all starts with the state of Texas. In 1982, SMU finished second in the polls. This was the last time a Southwestern Conference team competed for a national title.

What really hurt the Southwestern Conference was the constant NCAA violations. The last eight Southwestern Champions lost their bowl games. They didn’t have any powerhouses anymore because the NCAA went after them because of how dirty they were.

Arkansas, one of the three teams (Arkansas, Baylor and Rice) not hit by sanctions, left for the SEC to gain part of their television deal and to get out of a dying conference due to the constant punishments handed down by the NCAA.

Once Arkansas left, the remaining members of the Southwestern Conference had to get a fresh start to help their image and become prominent once again. The SEC expanded in 1990 from 10 to 12 teams. In the same year the Big Ten added Penn State and in 1991 the ACC expanded to nine teams by adding Florida State.

With all of these conferences expanding, they also added television deals with major television companies. While all of this was going on Texas became desperate and decided to leach on to a conference so they could become prominent again in the eyes of the nation.

Fast forward to 2010. What caused Texas A&M, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska to want to leave the Big 12? The state of Texas, once again. Texas came into the Big 12 making demands, creating television deals and looking out for its own well-being before every other team in the conference.

Texas did everything in its power to keep Texas A&M and the rest of the conference down by creating the Longhorn Network. Texas got rid of the prop 48 or partial qualifying players that the Big 8 once had. Texas also attacked Nebraska’s Association of American Universities status causing a major rift between the two schools. With Nebraska and Texas A&M both feeling wronged they began to looking to leave the Big 12 Conference. With two major players in the Big 12 looking to get out Missouri and Colorado began searching for safer conferences to align with.

So once the second wave of conference realignment started the Big 12 lost four members. Colorado to the Pac 12, Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC and Nebraska to the Big Ten. The Big 12 was then forced to look for less nationally predominate teams to keep its head above water, taking in West Virginia and TCU to help the conference survive.

This third wave of conference realignment threatens the Big 12 yet again with rumors of Kansas and Oklahoma going to the Big Ten, with West Virginia rumored to go to the ACC and Texas not budging on their money losing Longhorn Network. What conference will want to deal with Texas and all of its conference imploding tendencies regardless of their television deals? Texas has been in two conferences, one has dissolved and the other on the verge. What will happen next?

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New Bevo, Old Baylor

On Tuesday Baylor finally responded to the reports that Ken Starr has been fired from Baylor University. As of the latest report they still have not made a decision on whether or not they will fire Starr. The spokeswomen for Baylor, Tonya Lewis, said, “we will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the University will provide it. We expect an announcement by June 3.” It is speculated that President Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw will be losing their jobs, but head football coach Art Briles will not. It will be interesting to see if it was just a rumor, but for the sake of Baylor I hope it isn’t.

The University of Texas has selected a new Longhorn steer mascot. The school had to select a new mascot because Bevo XIV, who was on the Texas sideline since 2004, passed away in October 2015. The mascot will be introduced for the 100th anniversary season of its first appearance. The longhorns will play Notre Dame on September 4, the first appearance of Bevo XV.

Nothing has been made official yet but from the sound of it Wil Grier will be able to play for West Virginia the first game of the 2017 season. Grier is enrolled at West Virginia but due to testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs he may not be able to play until mid season. According to Holgorsen this might change. Holgorsen said, “I fully anticipate him being eligible for the opening game of the 2017 season.” If there is a will there is a way. I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow the NCAA waives the rest of his suspension and lets him play the full season with the Mountaineers.

Bev Kearney sued Texas for at least one million dollars in damages in 2013. Kearney was the head track coach and had a romantic relationship with one of her sprinters over a decade earlier. It has taken so long for her to get justice because the University has been appealing the issue. Kearney is saying she was more harshly punished because she is black. A white male football coach did the same thing and was only reprimanded, not fired. Kearney is seeking statements from Mack Brown, former athletic director DeLoss Dodds, former school president Bill Powers and current women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky. The statements they will write are on how exactly they handled the situation at the time it was brought to their attention. This case has been swept under the rug recently due to the Baylor scandal, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

Sylvester Turner an alumni of the University of Houston believes that when Oklahoma comes to town on September 3, the Cougars will beat the Sooners by “14, or possibly 21 points.” Did I mention Sylvester Turner is also the mayor of Houston? He has turned a lot of heads by making this statement and has also provided some locker room motivation for the guys in Norman. The Cougars are coming off of a really great season, but I have a feeling the Sooners will be ready for them, especially after that comment.

As the time draws near, it looks less and less likely that the Big 12 presidents are going to vote against the Big 12 expansion. After all of the schools that have sold themselves to try to get into the Big 12 it looks like they will all be disappointed. Apparently, after six years, the Big 12 is not in the “decision-making” stage, so it probably won’t ever be. If no expansion happens I think the Big 12 will fall apart in the next couple of years and Oklahoma will be the first school to leave.

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Pre-Season Offensive Big 12 Team

As the summer approaches it means that fall is right around the corner. Pre-season polls for college football have already started coming out and pre-season predictions for conference teams will quickly follow. Here is a very broad prediction of how I think the All-Big 12 team for the 2016 season will shake out, starting with the offense.

The All- Big 12 team quarterback will be Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is a great ball handler who has made many great plays these past few seasons. Mayfield hasn’t had many interceptions due to the way he scrambles out of the pocket and completes passes or gains yards on the run. Mayfield has a 68.6 percent completion rate. He has 3,389 passing yards with 35 passing touchdowns. Mayfield is predicted to win the Heisman this year, which probably means that he will not even be nominated.

The All-Big 12 team running back will be a hard decision. Samaje Perine and Shock Linwood will more than likely compete for the top running back in the conference. Samaje Perine has ran for 3,062 yards and rushed for 37 touchdowns. Perine also had 215 receiving yards with one touchdown. Perine made the All Big 12 team in 2014 and 2015 so it would be no surprise to anyone if he made the team again. Shock Linwood ran for 3,462 yards with 34 touchdowns. Linwood had 180 receiving yards with a touchdown. He dominated the past two games during the 2015 season for the Bears including the bowl game against North Carolina. He stepped in big when the Bears were without a quarterback late in the season.

The top three receivers for the Big 12 either graduated or went into the draft so there will be three news guys that will be stepping into that role. It is hard to pick just three top receivers for the 2016 season, but I’ll go with James Washington, Shelton Gibson and KD Cannon. James Washington from Oklahoma State would be the first player to fill the slot. Washington gained over 1,087 yards, with 10 touchdowns. As the 2016 season approaches Washington is the only Big 12 wide receiver to top 1,000 yards receiving in 2015. He should be the number one receiver on the preseason All Big 12 team.

The number two receiver will more than likely be Shelton Gibson from West Virginia. Gibson totaled 887 yards and nine touchdowns. Gibson didn’t have a very good 2014 season with only gaining 60 yards. He made a huge impact in 2015, as a sophomore. He should be the second biggest wide receiver in the Big 12 this year. The third biggest receiver in the Big 12 should be KD Cannon from Baylor. Cannon was the second wide receiver for the Bears, but now that Corey Coleman has graduated, Cannon should be the top receiver. Cannon totaled 1,030 yards receiving during his freshman year. But last year Coleman played and Cannon only gained 868 yards. Cannon should explode this season and should be the third best wide receiver in the Big 12.

The offensive linemen that made the 2015 All Big 12 team all graduated. It is hard to determine who exactly will be on this list for this year so if I had to choose a team with the most representatives I would choose the Baylor offensive line. A lot of their line is returning so they should be dominant up front. The only other change on the offensive side of the ball would be the kick and punt returner . Alex Ross transferred to Mizzou so he will not be in the Big 12. This season should be an exciting one with many new faces to represent the Big 12 on the field.

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Big 12 Links: Will Jerry Kill it at Kansas State?

The past few months for Kansas State athletics have been anything but pleasant. Four years ago the Wildcats football, men’s basketball and baseball teams all won a share of the Big 12 title. Since then the programs have seen their struggles. This year the record for the three teams combined is 49-49 so far. This will change with baseball still being played. Wildcat athletics has seen better days, but Athletic Director John Currie isn’t worried, at least not yet.

Athlon Sports released their prediction of the 2016 College Football Top 25 this week. The first Big 12 school they have on the list is Oklahoma coming in at #6. Since the Sooners are predicted to win the Big 12 once again, this is no surprise. Baylor comes n next at #14. With everything currently going on at Baylor I could easily see them dropping out of the top 25 even before the season starts. TCU is the third Big 12 school on the list with a #18 ranking. It will be interesting to see what the Horned Frogs can do on the offensive side of the ball now that a lot of their key players are gone. Oklahoma State rounds out the list at #25. Their QB-receiver combination will be deadly and will be a force to be reckoned with.

Of course the best part of college football season is the primetime games on T.V. Bleacher Report came up with a top 10 list of games that will be perfect for primetime television during the upcoming 2016 season. Two different games on this list involve Big 12 schools. The first game is TCU vs. Baylor. This will be a battle for the team that could possibly finish second or share an overall title of the Big 12 depending on how well Oklahoma does during the season. The second game that should be in prime time is Ohio State at Oklahoma. This game is going to be a big one for both teams. This could be the first and only loss for either team. I think it will be a really good back and forth battle and hopefully Oklahoma can come out on top.

Former Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill has been named associate athletic director at Kansas State. As a Kansas State alumna it will be very interesting to see what this hire does for the University. Kill has no intention to be a head coach ever again. He resigned from Minnesota last October due to health reasons. He will be returning home to Kansas with a new perspective that should help the Cats in many ways. Every Kansas State person I have talked to is very excited about this hire, and I am too.

West Virginia backup running back Donte Thomas-Williams has been dismissed from the Mountaineers football team. All that was said was that it was because of an undisclosed violation of team rules. Thomas-Williams will not really be missed by the Mountaineers. Thomas-Williams rushed for 43 yards in four games last season. He has some potential but did not show it.

A lot of talk has come out about expansion of the Big 12. Dennis Dodd made three valid points as to why going back to twelve teams in the Big 12 might not be a good idea. The first point was that no schools can change the conference’s fortune. Adding certain schools will not look good on a resume for the conference. The second point is that the television money isn’t going to be there. This is because Texas will not budge so there is no point to even try to get a Big 12 television contract. The third point is that it will not increase the Big 12’s odds of reaching the college football playoffs. Even though some experts say it will increase their odds, I agree with Dennis. The Big 12 will more than likely only have one team in the playoffs each year and last year they proved it was possible to do with only 10 teams.

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Not Enough Red Bull for Holgorsen

There have been some interesting things going on in the Big 12 recently. Obviously, expansion talk is still the number one topic in people’s minds, but there have been contract extensions being turned down, pay raises for coaches who maybe don’t deserve them and players getting kicked off of their teams, just to name a few.

ESPN Big 12 reporter Jake Trotter gave his opinion on the Big 12 expansion. Trotter thinks the Big 12 will expand. One of the main reasons Trotter thinks this is because the Big 12 will have a higher percentage of making the playoff if it has more teams competing and there is a championship game to be played. The best model was the old way  so they are trying to go back to it. Trotter also mentioned how difficult it is going to be to gain a television network when Texas isn’t even close to being 100 percent on board and getting rid of theirs in order to do so. Hopefully Texas will agree to switching soon, but I highly doubt it.

With football season quickly approaching the conference networks are announcing their prime time games. Since the Big 12 doesn’t have that luxury, writer Sean Cordy decided to make a list of what he thought the prime time games in the Big 12 should be. I don’t agree with some of the games on the list and here is why. He picked three games where Kansas is playing. How Kansas, who didn’t even win a game all season, can be picked for even one “prime time” game is beyond me. But I guess he thought these were the best games of the week. Kansas should be better this year but I don’t think it will be that competitive in only a year. I look forward to the day when the Big 12 has its own network just so we can see what the prime time games will be that season.

At the beginning of the 2015 season many people thought that Dana Holgorsen would lose his job. The season turned out to be a positive one after the Mountaineers finished the strong. After the season ended, the Athletic Director at West Virginia realized that he did not want to let Holgorsen go. The Mountaineers wanted to extend his contract but Holgorsen did not accept it. Holgorsen has two years left on his contract and will probably be offered another extension after next season, or after his contract is up. He needs to coach well these next two seasons or I don’t think West Virginia will take him back after he did this. I also don’t see another big name school picking him up, so he better hope for the best.

Texas Football hasn’t made a statement on the football field in a while, until now. This time it has to do with coaching. After two losing seasons the regents decided to give pay raises to some of the assistant coaches. Yes, you read that right. To be an assistant coach at Texas, that must be the life. The assistant coaches that will receive raises are: Brick Haley the defensive line coach, tight ends and special teams coach Jeff Traylor, strength coach Pat Moorer, and new assistants Charlie Williams, Clay Jennings and Anthony Johnson.

The specific reason is unknown as to why three Texas Tech players were kicked off of the Red Raiders football team. Kliff Kingsburry, the Texas Tech head football coach said it was “due to failure to uphold student athlete expectations.” Sophomore linebacker Dakota Allen, sophomore offensive lineman Robert Castaneda and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Trace Ellison were the three Red Raider players involved.

Running back Alex Ross announced this week that after he graduated from Oklahoma this week he will be transferring schools. Ross didn’t make much of an impact these past two years because he was overshadowed. He did make a large impact in the Sooners’ kick return game though.  Ross will be able to play immediately for whatever school he chooses. As of Sunday, it has been reported that Ross made a visit to Columbia, Missouri to visit MU. The Tigers need a running back so this could be the perfect fit for Ross this coming season.

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Is Big 12 Expansion Talk for Real or is This More Lip Service?

The University of Oklahoma president David L. Boren issued a statement to the Oklahoma Daily about his desire to the Big 12 Conference to go beyond merely adding a conference championship game. This has been the desire of many people, but president Boren is one of the first people to express how he feels at such great lengths.

The first question President Boren was asked about was the Big 12 Conference only having ten teams, having no conference championship game and not having a conference network and what are the solutions to fixing it. President Boren made a very good point and stated that when you look at the Power-5 conferences the Big 12 is the only one with ten teams, the only one without a conference championship and the only one without a television network. If you look at the long-range stability it puts the conference at a disadvantage by being the ‘little brother’ so expansion is crucial. The Big 12 is also the only Power-5 conference with a non-elite university members, which gives it an academic profile more similar to the various mid-major conferences.

Having a championship game will add more revenue and in most years will have a stronger consideration for the College Football Playoffs. I, and many other fans thought this after the 2014 season when the Big 12 didn’t get a team into the College Football Playoffs. Some years this might benefit certain schools but then other years it could be a disadvantage. In the long run adding at least two more teams is a positive thing. President Boren thinks that all three of these main things need to be done together, not separately. These solutions need to be pushed when the board gets together in February.

In February President Boren wants to see the Big 12 add two teams. He has teams in mind and knows that other university presidents do too. He said they have been, as a group, looking at expansion, discussing expansion, and they have outside consultants helping the Big 12 look at what schools are a possible best fit. There could be more than two schools, possibly six or seven and they will pick the right two. They are not just looking for a school with a name, they are looking for geography to a certain degree, fan base, the size of their programs and the academic institutions. The Big 12 can’t keep putting this off because they will lose good opportunities and every year will have fewer choices to choose from.The Big 12 ideas for teams to expand are BYU, and Boise State out West and Cincinnati and Connecticut back East.

It has been rumored that OU will leave the Big 12 soon, but President Boren shot those down rumors down pretty quickly. He said “I think if we get the Big 12 on the right track, if this comprehensive plan could be adopted, then I would rather stay in the Big 12. I think it would be to our advantage” (meaning OU). The main point was that the Big 12 NEEDS to be strengthened and they won’t leave.  Of course many conferences are interested in gaining a great school like Oklahoma, but hopefully it won’t come down to that.

If you have a twitter make sure you check out @frankthetank111 on some valid points on this discussion. He is a lawyer so he has some idea about the Grant of Rights agreement. President Boren also knows the law and shares the same opinion on it. The rights haven’t been tested enough to see if they are going to be 100 percent binding or not. President Boren said “I think we are all operating under the assumption that it is binding and I think other schools are now, too, and they’re not willing to risk the buyout previsions they might face, the amount of money they might have to put it on the table if they did try to leave. And so we’ll be on the lookout at schools that will not have a problem at least initially for expansion.” This is going to be very important for teams they are seeking. The Grant of Rights could be an interesting argument for OU too if for some reason they decide to leave the Big 12. “The Grant of Rights challenges are a dilemma for poaching leagues since they’d be admitting that their own Grant of Rights aren’t worth anything.”- @frankthetank111

The biggest challenge to what President Boren is proposing is to get Texas on board. Texas will be the most difficult because the Big 12 network will mean that Texas will have to get rid of the Longhorn Network at some point. There are ways to find a transition formula for revenue distribution for the Longhorns so hopefully it will be enough for the stubborn Longhorns. It is rumored that the Longhorn Network loses quite a bit of money every year for ESPN, so they would not be sad to see a change. If all goes to plan the other Big 12 schools should see enough long-term revenue neutral for Texas, so that Texas would not be making a huge financial sacrifice. I really hope this works out for the Big 12 and that they get what they want so it can stay a powerful conference.

The Band is Hot!!

Ever since I can remember I have been a Kansas State fan. Both of my parents went there and I wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for a Hale Library blind date (sounds romantic). I was born in 1989 and my parents have had season football tickets ever since. I knew what college I was going to go to before I started kindergarten, even though I lived in Missouri. I only applied to one school because it is the only place I ever thought of going to. I graduated in 2011 and the one think always said growing up is that I would never date a Jayhawk.  When I was younger I wouldn’t even touch anything with KU on it. I had a lot of family that went there, but that didn’t matter to me.  A little over two years ago my opinion changed.

I started dating a guy who graduated from KU and we are the definition of House Divided and proof that no relationship is easy, but it is worth it. Of course these hard times have been during football and basketball season, but I didn’t expect it this early in the season.

In case you didn’t hear last Saturday the Kansas State marching band was performing their half time show. The theme for the show was “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.” During the show the Starship Enterprise encountered a “horrible space creature” according to the stadium announcer.  The horrible space creature was in the outline of a Jayhawk. The problem with this half time performance was that some people did not see it as a Starship Enterprise but instead saw it as male genitalia having a close encounter of the wrong kind with the rival mascot’s beak.

Why they were using the Jayhawk during the halftime show, who knows, but the Big Twelve was not happy about it. This went against the Big Twelves sportsmanship and ethical conduct policy. The Big Twelve commissioner Bob Bowlsby was very thankful to K-State  President Kirk Schultz and athletic director John Currie because they self-imposed a $5,000 fine and now require approval of future halftime shows and also suspended Tracz for the November 28th game against the Jayhawks. These fines and suspensions were set because they made the Jayhawk on the field, not because the Starship Enterprise looked like something it shouldn’t have.

Some KU fans that are really upset about it and saying that Tracz should be put on the sex offender’s registry and he should be fired.  As a Kansas State fan I don’t have much of an opinion about it. I don’t think that he should have used the Jayhawk during the halftime show because there was no point. The Cats were not playing the Jayhawks so it was no necessary. I don’t think that Traz should be put on the sex offenders list for an accidental wrong formation, but I am surprised they didn’t suspend him for more games. In the end I know it was an accident and I hope one day Jayhawk fans will see that too.

Deregulation and College Football

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Deregulation. Oh, no. Not that. That word gets mentioned and you can see peoples backsides get a little tighter. Anything goes, a Wild West mentality occurs, the heavens fall, it rains cats and dogs, or the SEC doesn’t win a National Championship. You know, things that JUST don’t happen in the real world. All kidding aside, there is some talk of deregulation and whether it’s a good thing or not. Let’s take a closer look at what is being discussed.

The ACC and the Big 12 Conference have submitted paperwork in the past year to change the rule of how many teams need to be in a conference to qualify it for having a championship game and they want the right to determine who gets into those championship games. The Big 12 motive is very obvious. The conference wants to have a championship game, so they don’t get left out in the cold like they did in the inaugural College Football Playoff. The playoff committee cited one of their reasons for not putting TCU into the playoff was that the Big 12 didn’t have a conference championship game. By deregulating, this would allow the Big 12 to be in the mix for the playoff regardless of how many teams they have in their conference. Which, as it currently stands, is at 10.

The curious aspect of this is the ACC. It’s easy to figure out why the Big 12 is in on this, but why the ACC? Speculation came out of this that the ACC may just go to three divisions. What? Three divisions? Why do that? To me, dividing up into three divisions doesn’t make sense. They have fourteen teams, and have Notre Dame showing loyalty to the ACC, but to think that the Irish want to lose their independent status in football would be a pipe dream in my estimation. Notre Dame joins the conference and they have 15 teams, so the thought of 3 divisions with 5 teams in them comes to mind of the ACC.

The way the ACC has operated over the course of the past decade with their championship game this doesn’t make sense to me for the conference. I know they may want control over who plays in their title game, but it’s worked out well for them. There has only been one time where the ACC hasn’t had two ranked teams playing for the ACC title. The two recent powers in the conference, Florida State and Clemson are in the same division, so that does provide for some intrigue with that division, but let’s face the facts, other than those two teams, the conference is pretty weak. Overall, the conference is considered the weakest out of the Power 5.

There is no indication that this kind of deregulation is going to occur anytime soon. The change in rules would still have to pass through the NCAA Oversight Committee and then voted on and passed by the NCAA Council.

Bob Bowlsby, Commissioner of the Big 12 thought that the ACC may use this opportunity to divide into the three divisions that were mentioned earlier. Granted, he had no other knowledge about what the ACC may do, but was purely speculating.

In a response to this speculation, ACC Commissioner, John Swofford came out and said “We haven’t had any real discussions about a three division ACC. That has never had any legs in our discussions…” Does that mean it won’t ever come up? No, absolutely not, but for the time being that kind of talk is getting any traction with the other members of the ACC. I just don’t see why going to a three team division with 14 teams would be something that they would want to do. The divisions wouldn’t have the same amount of teams and that creates an inherit disadvantage or advantage depending on what team we are talking about. Swofford did follow up his statement about not going to the expanded divisions by saying that the real reason they signed onto this change was a matter of principle. “ I think the fact that we were supporting this in principle and felt it was the right route to go, it gives people the impression that we have a specific direction we would take things in our league that’s different from what we’re currently doing. That’s just not the case.” People may think he is being a bit coy with his answer, but I don’t think he is. If the rest of the ACC Conference does not want to proceed in this manner, then why try and force something through? For right now, this is the best course of action. Once again, does this mean they won’t revisit this scenario? No, but it gives something for the rest of member universities to chew on over the course of the next few years.

There is a part of me that says suck it up Big 12, you didn’t see the issue with not having a title game and how that may play out with the playoff committee. Not very good foresight on your part. The other part says that if this is allowed it will put the Big 12 on equal footing with the rest of the Power 5 Conferences with the College Football playoff and therefore we won’t have to listen to this belly aching from Baylor fans, TCU fans, or any other Big 12 school that may be in the mix for the playoff.

If things can’t get resolved with this, then one way to help the Big 12 out would be to not take into account the other Power 5 Conferences Championship games. Leave that consideration outside the realm of discussion. Now, many people may not like that and may just say like I do “that it’s the Big 12 issue, they need to solve it, and not penalize my conference for having that extra game.” I totally get it. However, that is a legitimate argument for the Big 12 to have. Whatever is decided in the end is going to upset some people, but really, what are we after here? That answer is easy for me. The BEST four teams.

In the end, the Big 12 and the NCAA has to figure this out. Otherwise it’s going to cause some anxious moments for its fan bases, coaches, and athletic departments. I think they need to come up with a championship game, so that they are on the same level as everybody else in the Power 5. The ACC aspect isn’t going anywhere, the discussions haven’t gone anywhere, so if, in the end, this makes the Big 12 develop a plan to have a title game in some way. Then bravo to the Big 12. It just needs to happen. I want the best teams in the playoff, period. Get it done people.