Thursday, June 10, 2010

Big 12 Shake-Up/ Shake-Down

I knew eventually I would need to start talking about Longhorn football, but I am a bit amazed/ down that my first post on football will discuss the much discussed (in Texas, anyway) goings on with the Big 12 conference. Honestly, I planned on my first post on sports to be about World Cup soccer (or as our friends from across the sea call it "football", but they are wrong).

Sports talk radio, non-stop-ESPN, etc... aren't so much my thing, so if the rumblings of the fall of the Big 12 were building, I had no idea. I'd been checking college baseball scores to see how Big 12 teams were doing, but otherwise tuning out.

For those of you catching up, my alma mater is home to The University of Texas Longhorns, who were the #2 football team and volleyball team in 2009, and won some unbelievable number of baseball games this year (I'm hoping they place first in the College World Series). Both our men's and women's basketball team made it to the tournament, etc...

The Longhorns belong to the Big 12, which is a fairly respectable and competitive conference. While I enjoy the rivalries, I actually wind up watching a lot of Big 12 football, from all the schools.

The Big 12 had a not-great contract with media outlets, but the schools had large and loyal fanbases, and college sports, particularly football, are big money. So, conferences The Big 10 and the Pac-10 have been trying to meet with Big 12 schools to try to move them over with their superior contracts.

Read more about this thing here.

Anyway, I'm a little bummed that (a) the Big 12 may be no more by the end of next week, and (b) the extra revenue could disrupt traditional and regional play.

I understand the schools supposedly make money from shaking things up and say, a few schools joining the PAC 10, but... this is the Pac 10 we're talking about. I'm a romantic and an optimist in some ways, and so I like to think that regional relations make a difference in these cases. Joining the Pac 10 just seems so... calculated. It's like the rich, dopey kids asking if you want to hang out because they know you've got a new Sega Dreamcast, not because you've been hanging out for the past 100 years (sorry, Oregon and Oregon State. You guys are cool. Why do you hang out with those jerks, anyway? You're better than that.). So what happens when the DreamCast gets outed by the XBox?

Sure, there are some logistical issues and budgetary issues for sports that draw in smaller audiences, but I tend to think that the Texas/ Oklahoma powerhouse is big enough to work with the region and get a better contract.

Further, the biggest d-bag of them all, USC, just pulled an SMU and is totally dealing with his comeuppance. Dad just took away the entitled little twerp's Porsche keys. But, hey, if we notice that we had friends in our own backyard all along....

For the Texas and Oklahoma schools, its not such a big deal that Colorado has split off, and Nebraska seems ready to go, too (whatsamatta, Nebraska? Texas and Oklahoma too much for you?). But its hard to imagine football in the fall without the UT, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and other rivalries playing out as part of conference play. The thing is, by coming into other conferences, any of those schools could be peeled off. Already, Baylor is basically being told not to count on being a part of whatever happens. And that's a little sad.

So, if the Big 12 is croaking, here's my proposal for the Nu Southwest Conference (going classic, baby):

01. University of Texas
02. Texas A&M
03. Texas Tech
04. Oklahoma
05. Oklahoma State
06. Baylor (yes. Baylor. On principle.)
07. Texas Christian University (because those guys got good)
08. Kansas
09. Kansas State
10. Nebraska (fungible with any other corn-fed bunch of punching bags)
11. Missouri
12. University of Houston

That's right. U of H. Woot!

What do you guys think, because I think I just came up with a scheme that would make us all rich.


Marshal said...

I'm actually fine with the expanded Pac-10. Wouldn't be so different from what we have now, especially since Nebraska has already agreed to join the Big 10.

All the Texas teams, minus Baylor, would be in the eastern division, so it would shake out remarkably similar to the way we currently do things. Except more TV money.

I do like your idea because, hey, UH! But that's not happening. As for Baylor, they just aren't a big time football school and haven't been forever. They'd be better off becoming a mid-major and focusing on basketball. A sort of Texas-style Duke. They've been following this blueprint in recent years. And reining in their football ambitions would probably be a smart step for the school.

The League said...

If the Big 12 goes the way of the dodo, then I think the plan you describe for Baylor is good. And, of course, UT can play Baylor in place for one of their selected whipping boys from the beginning of the season. It would be good to see other Texas schools follow suit.

Simon MacDonald said...

I don't follow college football too much. I usually only watch the bowl games at the end of the year if there is a good story.

However, anyone that says that college football is not a "professional" league is deluded. The Big 12 is being torn apart because of media contracts i.e. money. I think it is time for the powers that be in college football to stop all of these silly restrictions about not being able to pay the players. It seems like all the big schools find away around it anyway. Let's bring it all out into the light so that everyone can compete.

The League said...

It must have been fascinating to watch the transition from watching your classmates in leather helmets and sweaters smack into each other to a multi-billion dollar quagmire.

My biggest issue with paying players has to do with how that would cut into revenue generated for the schools (and it does do that quite well).

Anonymous said...

I want A&M to leave for the SEC. They always wanted to get away from UT. Here's their chance. Now they can finally prove their smack talk.


Steven said...


I really like your breakdown of the Nü-Big XII: Oddly it reminds me of the old SWC pretty much ;)

There is also something really weird about Texas, as anyone who's drive it once, much less 4 times, will tell you being a pacific state. Huh? Although it does mean I can catch a 'Horns game or two within driving distance of the Golden Gate bridge (again, huh?).

The League said...

Yup. I always thought the SWC made sense, and always thought the Big XII was a bit odd to begin with.

College football should be regional. The games make more sense when you know you're playing friends and family. Its not professional football, so arguments about markets and mediashare don't work too well with me. And to say "oh, we're getting a west coast audience" only means we're losing an east coast audience. It's a loser deal.