Fervor cools considerably for possible Big 12 expansion
Many long faces and shaking heads have decried the lack of a championship football game in the Big 12 Conference where West Virginia is a member.
No championship game, no place in the NCAA’s Football Final Four which leads to the crowning of the national champion.
The league has only 10 teams.
Should it expand and then create two divisions that will lead down the path to a Big 12 championship game?
Where would you get two quality “football schools” to give the league enough teams to stage a championship game?
The Big 12 doesn’t have its own network like is found in the Big 10 and the SEC. Regardless of their records and bowl worthiness, each and every school in those two conferences receives the same dollars from the networks. Nobody is leaving the Big 10 or SEC to join the Big 12.
The Pac12 has its own network although it is not as lucrative as either the Big 10 or SEC. And the ACC is lusting after the same sort of network already in place in the other conferences.
Could Utah or Colorado be persuaded to leave the Pac 12? Could Louisville or Pittsburgh be candidates to leave the ACC and jump into the arms of the Big 12? Not at all likely.
Where could two nationally prominent football teams come from that would have the fan base, outside money sources and prestige to help the Big 12? There aren’t any valid candidates since Notre Dame and Navy aren’t leaving comfortable situations. Notre Dame already has a valued relationship with NBC that broadcasts its home games.
What about Brigham Young? The school based in Utah is now an independent and might entertain talk coming from the Big 12, but Brigham Young has a quality schedule which sends it to areas where Mormons across the country can see it play.
Will the powers that be try to structure a Big 12 network?
Where will the population bases be found? And Texas already has its own network and would never share its revenue with the other league members.
Big 12 Conference teams are located in Stillwater, Manhattan (Kansas State), Lawrence, Ames (Iowa State), Waco, Norman, Morgantown, Lubbock, Austin and Fort Worth.
There are no places like Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. and Detroit like are found in the Big 10. The SEC has its share of small towns, but also has Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis to lean on.
The Big 10 network shows women’s sports as well as men’s teams involved with sports other than football and basketball.
Look at the mixture of sometimes mismatched schools in the Big 12. What do West Virginia and Iowa State have in common? Texas Tech and Kansas State? Baylor and Oklahoma State? Kansas football is a dying breed. Iowa State hasn’t been able to keep pace.
So, with no viable candidates to join the ranks of the would-be playoff conference . . . and no network dollars to entice schools trying to stay both solvent and competitive where does the Big 12 turn?
Expansion in the Big 12?
Such talk will surface at times. You’ll see more wailing and hear more gnashing of teeth when the conference fails to have a team in the Football Final Four at the end of the 2016 season.
But without a network in place and enough viable outside candidates there will continue to be 10 schools in the Big 12.