Archive for Friday, September 2, 2011

Big 12 creating anxiety

September 2, 2011


A basketball Cinderella story plays out in the NCAA Tournament. Inevitably, the focus shifts away from celebrating the players who made it happen to guessing the coach’s next job. What a buzz kill for the alumni.

Now it’s happening to the football season, at the beginning instead of the end. Conference realignment talk dominates.

Anxiety about the future replaces excitement about the birth of a new football season. Fears that road trips to college football games will go the way of leather helmets prey on the minds of those who prefer the status quo. It’s a sad thought, but one gaining traction with each move toward super conferences.

With threats of more realignment looming, it’s time to position for tomorrow, not pine for yesterday. I never had fallen into the Armageddon camp regarding the Big 12 disappearing, but I don’t deny that a column penned by Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman spooked me worse than any other development since the ground began to quake early in the summer of 2010.

Bohls, no homer columnist, rightly opined that Oklahoma determines the future of the conference.

In his view, Texas would love to see OU go to the Pac-12 so that Texas could follow in the wake of all the criticism aimed at the Sooners. The Longhorn Network? Bohls said it would be downsized and become one of seven regional networks in the Pac-16, which would include Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

It’s a scary thought for KU, which would be left trying to get into either the Pac-16 (instead of Texas Tech), the Big Ten (not likely) or the Big East (the most likely outcome if the Pac-16’s not interested).

Bohls is a well-sourced reporter, so it’s not easy to guess his whisper. No way it was an Oklahoma decision-maker. If OU actually does want to make the move, it sneaks out under the cover of darkness.

What would be in it for Texas to leak such a scenario? Forcing Oklahoma’s hand to come out and state that the Sooners are not interested in fleeing the Big 12. Period. Such a statement would ease insecurities Texas might have about potentially losing the mutually beneficial partnership with OU.

Knowing OU and Texas are staying put also would make the Big 12 a more attractive option for potential members.

Those who have known Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione for a long time consider him an honorable gentleman and believe him when he says his preference is to stay in the Big 12. Still, it pays to remember that in the end it was not Texas A&M;’s athletic director, rather its president, who made the move to the SEC happen.

Fifteen months ago, Sooners football coach Bob Stoops said he was intrigued by the idea of competing and recruiting in the Pac-10. Disregard that. Again, coaches don’t make the decisions to leap. Some believe that, when polled by the AD, not a single coach at A&M; was in favor of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

So how worried should KU be about its conference vanishing? Tough call, because it depends on Oklahoma and Texas, and decisions about athletics often come from higher offices than can be found in athletic complexes.


Larry Evans 6 years, 7 months ago

Kansas needs to bolt before the dominoes fall. Talk should be right now with the PAC conference. Oklahoma and the south schools will not give a hoot about KU. So KU better wise up fast and act now. It would be stupid not to.

Hiroyuki Kato 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree. Big 12 is doomed, so KU should act now and talk to Pac-12. Otherwise, KU will end up in the worst case scenario:

SEC:TAM, FSU Pac-16:Texas, OU, OSU, TT BigTen: Mizzou, Pitt MWC:KU, KSU, ISU, Baylor

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

Moving KU to another conference may well mean stiffer competition for conference titles and NCAA Championship Invitations.

Reduce the anxiety = become the big six!

kujayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Do all Keegan's articles come from rumors on a message board?

David Atchley 6 years, 7 months ago

Instead of a defensive "hopin' and a wishin' and a prayin' position....The Big 12 should "raid" the Mountain West Conference of Colorado State, Air Force, Wyoming and TCU, hope to attract Notre Dame and Arkansas and possibly one of other and make their own super conference.

This helps the Conference reclaim some of the Denver TV Market lost, adds some great football programs in Arkansas and TCU, and with Versus Network being the MWC flagship network, they're now owned by NBC, which in January, Versus changes names to the "NBC Sports Network"

Notre Dame an exclusive contract already with NBC, and gives the Big 12 Conference a "geographically" friendly conference, gives them some legitimate muscle negotiating a television contract with NBC as a potential bidder, and face-it, the middle of the country needs a super conference!

Dale Stringer 6 years, 7 months ago

Now here is something that won't ever happen, but I think would be cool. Merge the Big XII, Big 10 and SEC. With the numbers now that would equal 34 teams so we need to look for two more power football schools (ND, BYU, TCU, etc.) to get 36 teams. Then have them divide themselves up into 4 9-team divisions. Let the 4 losingest schools (combined record in men’s football and men’s & women’s basketball. Don't know much about how baseball and softball work, but could add those records too) pick their other 8 division schools for a four year term, and again every four years. Football teams would have 8 games in division and 4 non-division games that they could play anyone else. At the end of the season, the conference would have an 8-team/3-week playoff for the championship made up of the 4 division winners and four wild cards. The winner should definitely play for the national championship.

Jayhawk1963 6 years, 7 months ago

Some observations: 1. Notre Dame would NEVER join the Big "12". If they join any conference, it will be the Big 10. 2. Arkansas won't either because that would involve going from a stronger to a weaker league for LESS money. 3. BYU will not participate in any Sunday sports events. That would cause major scheduling problems and, I think, they have their own independent football TV contract (like ND). Probably why they are not already in a BCS conference. 4. Forbes magazine says Univ. of Houston would be ideal replacement for TAM considering number of TV sets, athletic history, geography, etc. Better than SMU or TCU. 5. To get back to 12 teams, Louisville and Cincinnati would probably bring the most viewers and allow the Big "12" to get a foothold in new (heavily populated) states.

If the Big "12" does collapse, KU's best hope, like Keegan says, is the Big East, especially if they have to drag their little brother (KSU) along. After-all, the BE is a basketball conf. and KU might be more competitive in football with Rutgers, etc. If you want to dream, hope the Big10 goes to 16 and wants two Midwestern schools. That would likely be MU and possibly, maybe, KU. Sure it's a long shot (kind of like winning the lotto) but we can dream can't we? They would have to overlook our pathetic football history and lack of population but maybe, just maybe, they would like to have some better basketball to go with Mich. St.. Indiana. etc.

Gregory Newman 6 years, 7 months ago

you guys are trippin!!! I've been here in Cali since 71 but i have family in Lawrence and Topeka. Kansas has allot more prestige as a school then any of you are aware of. It ain't all football that determines an acceptance. Phil Knight of Nike wanted Kansas and also the Univ. Presidents for the Pac-12. Phil Knight would ripped KU from adidas for marketing purposes for basketball and the schools wanted KU for their research dollars. They would have taken KU before OSU but the PAC felt that KU was tied to the hip with KSU but LJW didn't get the info. As for KU FB the PAC loves door mats. Plus Arkansas would never leave SEC they said that last year. BYU carries its own weight. You guys are sucked in with sensationalism and fear speculation. Kansas is a golden egg that won't crack there are so many KU alumni out here its ridiculous especially in the LA area not so much in the SF area but they are here. Texas A&M is the one that needs to worry they'll end-up homeless they have no more to offer than KU. . RELAX folks every conference would accept Kansas if they would ask to join. KU just won't disown its brother KSU

Gregory Newman 6 years, 7 months ago

It aint the alumni its the board of regents that care dummy can you read?

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