The Future Of The Big XII

September 28, 2011

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There have been many columns and many opinions published about the future of the Big XII conference. The focus primarily has been on the football angle of the configuration. As a Texas graduate and fan, I want to see the conference survive, with Texas and Oklahoma still part of the group. I feel that the conference was really hurt by the departure of Nebraska, but not so much by the departure of Colorado or the future departure of Texas A&M. True there is a good rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M, but that is really the only thing that was brought to the table with Texas A&M. If we break it down by sport we can see that this is a strong conference. You probably notice that there is only discussion of splintering during football season.

Football has a number of perennial bowl team – Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska (☹), and a number of contenders most of the time – Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Missouri. Even this year, Baylor and Texas A&M are ranked.

Men’s Basketball has perennial NCAA teams – Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and a number of contenders most years – Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas A&M.

Women’s Basketball has perennial NCAA teams – Baylor and Iowa State recently, Texas in the past, and contenders – Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State.

Baseball we have Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Oklahoma almost every year and Texas A&M Oklahoma State showing well recently.

Softball there is Missouri, Texas, Baylor each year.

Wrestling we have Iowa State and Missouri (and Nebraska) showing well every year.

There is swimming, track and field, and rowing. There are very few sports that the big XII is not represented at the tournament levels. Beyond that, every team is successful in at least one sport.

It seems that most writers are concentrating on the demise of the conference and the assumption that Oklahoma and Texas will leave for a “better” deal. What is so unbelievable about the Big XII finding good teams (Big East or unhappy other teams) to make a super conference? Bringing in a West Virginia or UConn or even an Arkansas would strengthen an already strong conference.

In the final analysis, none of the authors who have expressed their opinions actually know what is happening behind the scenes at the conference. I, as a fan, can only hope that the financial and other issues can be worked out to establish the Big XII as a dominant permanent conference in all of the NCAA sports.

 

Will The Big 12 and Big East Merge?

September 20, 2011

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Members of the Big XII conference have been scrambling for the exit door for more than a year.  Nebraska and Colorado have already exited for the Big 10 and Pac 12, respectively.  Texas A&M is actively trying to exist, and Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech are exploring their options.  If those schools all leave the conference, only five teams would remain.

Our neighbors to the Atlantic side of the country, the Big East conference, is also facing more defections.  Syracuse and Pitt will be leaving, dropping the number of football schools to six.

There has been talk of a merger between the leftovers of the two conferences.  Here’s how it would break down for football.

Old Big 12
Baylor
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Missouri

 

Old Big East
Cincinnati
Connecticut
Louisville
Rutgers
South Florida
West Virginia

 

All of those schools have had some degree of football success in the last decade, but none of the teams are fighting for a BCS bid on a regular basis.  This conference would have three teams in the current AP Top 25 (West Virginia, Baylor, and South Florida in the 16, 17, and 18 spots).  Maybe the new conference could even snag BYU to get to 12 teams.  Twelve is a magic number, as conference are allowed to have title games if there are 12 teams, and Kosmo loves title games.

I do think that this conference would be stronger on the football field than it appears.  The lack of a historically dominant program could lead to an arms race among the other schools in the conference.  Do big boosters at Baylor and South Florida come forward with big donations in an attempt to push their team to the top of the conference and into the national spotlight?  Perhaps.

Where it would get very interesting is on the basketball court.  Assuming that BYU joins the conference, here’s what it could look like:

Old Big 12 + BYU
Baylor
BYU
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Missouri

 

Old Big East Football Schools
Cincinnati
Connecticut
Louisville
Rutgers
South Florida
West Virginia

 

Old Big East Basketball-only
Depaul
Georgetown
Notre Dame
Marquette
Providence
St. John’s
Seton Hall
Villanova

 

The result here is a step up from the existing 16 team Big East basketball conference – a 20 school behemoth that would snare a tremendous number of NCAA tournament bids.  The prize for the Big East, of course, would be the addition of Kansas to the mix.

I’m a graduate of Iowa State University and a longtime support of the Big XII conference.  The implosion of the conference has been a great disappointment to me.  As of a few days ago, my preference was just to become a 1-A independent if the conference dissolved.  This would allow the leftover teams to pick their own schedules and form new rivalries.

The rumors of a merger, however, have made me re-consider.  I’m jumping on the merger bandwagon.

Will Texas Cause The Big XII To Break Up?

September 14, 2011

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Everything is bigger in Texas. Include in this list, Ego’s, Greed and Attitude.

Things started down a road of fragile eggshells last year before the season got started. A&M had looked into leaving the conference. Missouri then rumored that they wanted to go to the Big 10. Then there was more speculation that Nebraska might be looking to jump ship, and then Colorado.

Besmirched commissioner Dan Beebe put out the ultimatum to all conference members “Are you in or out”

Well turns out that Colorado was not on board and like we say here in Nebraska, we were “N” ………. IN with another conference that is.

This put the Big XII in a precarious situation. No more Title Game sponsored by Dr. Pepper. No more charging extra money when Nebraska comes to town on the ticket prices. No more Red Clad state people to yell about to blame all of our woes upon and to say “how dare you take your ball and leave Huskers”

Enter the Texas Football Network. Enter lots and lots of heated debate particularly among Texas schools such as Texas Tech, A&M and Baylor. Enter Mack Brown saying “this does not give us an unfair recruiting advantage.” Enter more schools thinking this is a bad idea, and enter the NCAA possibly looking into it.

Fast forward another month. Exit Texas A&M…No one seems to be throwing them under the bus like Nebraska was in the conference last year. (Let’s see how many signs are posted at away games this year bad mouthing the Aggies…I am guessing not many) Exit the idea that this conference is going to stay around much longer.

Now it appears that Oklahoma holds all the cards. They are involved in exploratory discussions with the Pac 12 to pursue membership in the league, and will likely be in cahoots to bring little Brother Oklahoma State along with them for the ride.

If you have read my columns for any amount of time here on the Soap Boxers, you know that I have no issues in throwing Texas under the bus. Texas has pushed out other teams that used to be in the league due to their egos. Now their greediness has led the likes of Texas A& M and other schools to pursue leaving the conference (well you could argue the Aggies have had their pride hurt so that is the main reason that they are wanting to leave for greener pastures). Above it all, the Attitude still permeates that the Longhorns are above board, and to heck with everyone else.

Oklahoma hopefully sees the writing on the wall. It is better to leave under your terms to a situation that is best for your University, than be dumped to the wayside, which is likely the fate for schools like Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Texas Tech.

When the Longhorns are out playing independents in two years and filling the football schedule with the likes of UTEP, North Texas State, SMU, Rice, Houston, and any other local Texas school you can name, it will be interesting to see how the boosters will view the Burnt Orange and their new independent digs.

Texas has brought this on to Texas. Good riddance Big XII…errr 10….errrr nine. The falling apart of your glass house is eventually going to lead to a handful of super conferences in college athletics, and unfortunately for you – – – it is unlikely that one of them will have a commissioner’s office located in the Republic that some of us consider the State of Texas.

Until next time….stay classy Stuart, Florida

Time To Disband The Big XII?

July 27, 2011

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I never thought I would say this, but…

The Big XII media days are a bit entertaining this year.

Most of the head coaches questioned on the topic of the recently formed “Longhorn Network” an exclusive deal between ESPN and the University of Texas, were hush hush on the topic. But not Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel.

“It’s a lack of common sense there to think that the network, the university network, can have high school games,” Pinkel said.

A major up-roar has caused some dissention in the ranks of the “New” Big XII Conference. The Longhorn Network has announced plans to cover high school games. Most everyone still left in the Big XII Conference, outside of the University of Texas thinks this is a complete and utter unfair recruiting advantage for the University in comparison to the remaining members of the conference.

Pinkel echoed sentiments expressed last week by Texas A&M Athletic Director, Bill Byrne (who coincidentally prior to this job was the Athletic Director at the University of Nebraska)

Last week Byrne released a statement expressing concern about the network carrying high school content as well as broadcasting a Texas game against a conference opponent, said Big 12 athletic directors will hold a meeting to discuss the issues within the next two weeks. Yesterday Byrne, who just returned from a fishing trip to Alaska, declined to expound upon his Longhorn Network thoughts with the following statement.

“I caught about 36 salmon, and I learned that if they keep their mouths shut, they won’t get hooked,” Byrne said.

Texas coach Mack Brown disputed the notion high school content on the network will give the Longhorns a recruiting edge.

“It would have nothing to do with the University of Texas,” Brown said. “Those games would be games that might be on ESPN anyway. … We’re going to sign 20 to 25 players a year, and those players will probably be committed to us before June in their junior year. So I don’t think that part will have any effect on recruiting at all.”

Yeah….whatever Mack…..

But before you start throwing stones at glass houses….

Texas A&M and Oklahoma are both more than happy with the new agreements in the Big XII Conference. Last summer when A&M almost bolted to the SEC, and as part of the deal to stay home, A&M, Texas and Oklahoma each get $20 million a year from TV revenue while the remaining sisters of the poor in the conference would get more in the 14-15 million realm.

Also these three schools got the majority of the “blood money” that was paid out by Colorado and Nebraska in order to be allowed to leave the league. Matter of fact some of the smaller schools even gave their share to these three as a means of appeasement.

HA HA …Nebraska and Colorado….Allowed to leave the league. It is looking like a better decision all of the time.

It appears that the rich (mainly Texas) is trying to get even richer. One of these days the rest of the teams will realize what Nebraska realized after they finally woke up and smelled the coffee.

Texas only cares about Texas. At the end of the day it is football, not academics, which rules the conversation of conference alignments…because after all it is all about the money.

It is time for this sham of a conference ran by an inept administration to simply disband. I am hoping that some of the other football powers in the remaining Texas…errrr….Big XII conference decide to take their ball and go home the way that Nebraska and Colorado did.

Until next time…stay classy in the Republic!

Dan Hawkins Fired, Cam Newton Ineligible?

November 10, 2010

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No picks this week as I want to go around the world of college football.

Coaching changes – Adios Dan Hawkins in Colorado. I guess we all figured out now who the real brains behind the Boise State empire was when you were still coaching there.  Too bad the Buffs athletic department did not figure that out sooner.  The last straw was the 35 point meltdown to the Kansas Jayhawks who rallied from that huge deficit for the 2nd largest comeback win in NCAA history.

Cam Newton – This gets better every day.  First the $200,000 allegation.  Then the cheating allegation.  Now this morning the money allegation again.  Why does this type of thing always seem to pop up in the SEC?  Are their fans just so rabid that they have spies everywhere on everyone else’s campuses to get an edge when their team is down and some other team is up?  I call it the SEConspiracy theory.  What I still don’t get is how he goes from Florida to a Juco, before coming back.  I mean would sitting out a year somewhere have really been any worse … or … did he really need some academic help meaning the allegations of cheating at Florida could be true? Hmmmmmmmm.  Can’t wait to see what unfolds as this week progresses as news seems to come out daily on the current Heisman Trophy Front Runner.

Heisman – First it was all Denard Robinson’s to lose.  Now it might be Cam Newton beating various raps to keep the hardware.  Of course an Iron Bowl spoiler courtesy of the Tide could change a lot of voters minds in November.  Kind of reminds me of the year Deshaun Foster was running away with it and then got in trouble and suspended … along with his Heisman hopes.  This could be the year of the last man standing wins.

Big XII – The might South Division is struggling.  Bad losses last week by Oklahoma and Texas, well, I have thrown them under the bus for weeks now, more on that later.  Oklahoma State looks to be in control in the South, who the heck would have predicted that to start the year.  Also thanks to the Missouri Tigers who once again show they have no coaching, abandon the running game and get throttled in the last three quarters for a horrible loss at Texas Tech. Merry Christmas Nebraska, you just won the North.

Texas – I have been piling on for weeks, it will get worse.  Does anyone think they are going to stop Oklahoma State this week?  Texas is in SERIOUS jeopardy of not being bowl eligible.  From BCS title game to not even making the Motor City Bowl.  Wow it must really be bad to be a Longhorn fan this year.

Oregon – These guys are Playstation 3 football.  Can anyone hold them under 50 points?  Does anyone want to play them at all?  The weird thing is when you watch them play they really don’t look that good, they just score fast, play fast and wear other teams out.  Wonder when someone figures out how to stop that from happening.

TCU to the Big East – Horned Frog Officials are indicating they want the all or nothing package.  They are not just going to jump ship for football, where they would roll, but they want the mighty basketball program to travel thousands of miles each week to get their butts kicked in the biggest thug ball conference in America.  Good for you for standing up to your beliefs.

This is one of the worst weekends for college football this year.  Due to many traditionally good teams struggling there are not a lot of meaningful games this week.  I will be back next week with picks, but if you want a short list…..Take Oregon, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and until next week, good luck!