Archive for Saturday, August 27, 2011

Time for Big 12 to raid Big East

August 27, 2011


Publicly, Big 12 officials and athletic directors of member schools must voice a positive, calm spin every time an institution bolts for another conference. Privately, they know they must poach or be poached. They’re looking, but maybe they aren’t looking in the right places.

Sure, Notre Dame, Arkansas or Air Force and Brigham Young would give the conference remarkable national appeal, strong TV ratings and a great deal of sex appeal. It’s worth a try, but as career minor-league power hitters can attest, swinging for the fences without adjusting to a two-strike plan is a good way to stay in the minors.

In the arena of conference realignment, it always pays to remember that nobody can be trusted. Not fellow conference members, not other conferences. Nobody. Poach or be poached. So far, the Big 12 has been raided three times, losing Colorado, Nebraska and soon Texas A&M; and hasn’t raided any other conference.

Time to assess the national landscape, identify a vulnerable football conference and raid away. Before any Big 12 institutions seriously consider how they might fit into the Big East, first look at how a few Big East schools might look in the Big 12. Figure out a way to bring Pittsburgh, Rutgers and West Virginia to the Big 12 before the Big Ten decides to expand again and does the same, or adds Syracuse instead of West Virginia.

Why not explore adding Pitt, Rutgers and West Virginia before taking the less aggressive step of simply adding Houston and moving ahead with a 10-team conference?

Any conference move for Pitt and West Virginia is more appealing for both schools if they get to move together and preserve the Backyard Brawl, one of college football’s top rivalry games. (Last season WVU won on a 43-yard field goal by Tyler Bitancurt as time expired in one of the most dramatic games of the college football season.)

The Mountaineers always play an exciting brand of football, especially now, with former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen as the head coach. Rutgers had made huge strides under Greg Schiano until stumbling to 4-8 last season. The New York-New Jersey athletes he now loses to Syracuse and UConn would be more likely to sign with Rutgers if the Scarlet Knights played in the Big 12. Having Rutgers in the Big 12 would bring a ton of TV sets into the conference, a plus for everybody.

One problem with Pitt, Rutgers and West Virginia joining the Big 12 to make the conference name accurate: Aligning the divisions by either latitude or longitude would not enable Kansas to keep its two chief rivals in the same division. Using East and West divisions would put KU in the East with the three Big East schools, Iowa State and Missouri. K-State would be in the West. Using North and South divisions would put KU in the North with the three Big East schools, K-State and Iowa State. Missouri would be in the South by a hair.

Minor detail. Just get the strongest members possible and worry about the divisions later.


Scott Morgan 6 years, 4 months ago

Tom, I agree totally. Quite selling the Big 12 to fans via commercials, start selling the Big 12 to university big wigs.

kujayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

rumor is byu is ready to step in once little pee pee leaves.

markson33 6 years, 4 months ago

I think its more likely that the Big East will raid the Big 12.

Why would Rutgers, Pitt or WV want to join a league that is in even more dissarray than their own? Why would they want to join a league that they have little chance of winning while Texas exists? If they were going to leave the BE they would go to the Big10 or SEC - the Big 12 offers nothing for these schools.

Its more likely that Kansas and KS would be lured by the promise of playing basketball at MSG every year and playing football in a conference that they have a chance of winning (while being on tv in NYC).

bwhacker 6 years, 4 months ago

I like the idea of raiding the Big East for teams. The problem is, the teams we would want are probably not going to be interested in joining a conference halfway across the country. Rutgers, WV and Pitt are in the heart of Big East country. It would make more sense for schools like Louisville, Marquette and DePaul to head this way. Cinncinnati and Notre Dame are right on the border. Outside of possibly Louisville, all of those schools would increase the academic reputation of the Big XII. Outside of DePaul, all of those schools have been good to very good in basketball. Louisville and Cinncinnati have been solid programs in football, but ND doesn't compete in conference for football and both Marquette and DePaul don't field football teams.

My vote would be this: if aTm is able to leave the conference, the Big XII should target Louisville, ND and Cinncinnati. Those schools still have a midwest flavor, and in the case of ND, would bring in a hugely popular, historically successful program in football. It would provide some balance to the influence of UT in the conference.

Richard Payton 6 years, 4 months ago

Rumor has it Oklahoma is next to leave if Texas A&M bolts which appears to be a done deal. We might get back to the Big 8 with a twist.

Dunndunn 6 years, 4 months ago

That is the problem with the Big 12... thinking small time. Texas A&M going to the SEC means the SEC will become at least a 14-team conference, and here this article is suggesting we stay behind by only going to 12 teams and taking teams way out of the footprint. I am fine taking Big East teams, but take some tha make sense. Take Louisville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and West Virginia... then go after a BYU or Houston... those give you all new states and new markets to negotiate TV contracts with... and then the Big 12 will be at 14 teams like the SEC. And adding the four Big East schools will make Big 12 basketball the absolute best basketball conference in the country and will secure the future of football.

Gregory Newman 6 years, 4 months ago

You guys need to quit dreaming. Kansas is basketball period and quit lying about Kansas academics. They belong to the AAU Academic Association Union. The schools that do not belong are: ksu, osu, ou, Baylor, Neb., and TT. Univ. of Nebraska @ Lincoln just got kicked out. So get your sources right.

Its about marketing and football winning traditions that can produce $$$$. Kansas does not have that illustrious tradition in football. Plus Kansas does not need a Bill Self to maintain a winning tradition in basketball.

If Houston joined the conference it would rattle Tx. They don't want in state competition for dollars or recruits in TV markets. Like Dallas and Houston. (smu,tcu, Rice, Houston). The ACC is a better basketball conference as is the Big East. Conference USA is a better football conference than both. When Turner Gill turns this thing around and he will that rattles the Big Ten. Yaw need to relax and dream about that imaginary woman that you'll never get.

Dunndunn 6 years, 4 months ago

You are doing some seriously hard drugs if you think CUSA football is better than both the Big East and the ACC.

Mark Kostner 6 years, 4 months ago

The Big 12 should get aggressive and go after BYU and Notre Dame, which like Texas havev their own TV networks. Air Force would be a prestigious addition or perhaps the Big 12 should trade the Southeast A&M for Arkansas. If that fails, pick up a replacement Texas school like ex Southwest schools SMU or Houston or up and coming Texas State.

ice750 6 years, 4 months ago

why would wvu join a conference that kowtows to one member. ie texas? why is a&m leaving the bigxii? texas. in the big east your payout depends upon where you finish in the conference, however new tv contracts are forthcoming and it will be on par with the acc in terms of per team payouts.

why not instead have kansas, kansas st, missouri, and iowa st. all come to the big east instead? the already powerful big east in terms of basketball, well it would go thru the roof. and would make a pretty dang good football conference as well.

there's no way you can invite anyone into the bigxii the way it currently stands with texas calling all the shots to everyone else.

MiamiSpartan 6 years, 4 months ago

Hate to say it, but the Big 12 is toast..... A&M leaving....STRONG rumors have OU, UT, Tech, and OSU leaving....I'm sure Mizzou will head to the Big 10 (11. 12). if that happens......Adding teams from a weak Big East isn't going to help matters much for the remaining teams.... The whole UT thing to keep the conference together was the nail in the coffin...

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