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Big 12 Reopens The Expansion Can Of Worms

Get ready for talk of a 16-team league.  Get ready for talk of four-team pods.  Get ready for speculation as to whether Florida State, Virginia Tech, NC State, Louisville, Canisius or Utah State might join the SEC.

The Big 12 has reopened the whole expansion can of worms.

Two “high-ranking sources” from the Big 12 have told The Houston Chronicle that further expansion is “very possible.”  West Virginia and TCU have already been tabbed to replace Missouri and Texas A&M, of course, though the Mountaineers can’t gain entry until they escape the Big East.

A new move would take the Big 12 — eventually — to 12 or even 16 teams.  Or 11?  “The Big Ten made 11 work for a number of years,” said one Big 12 source.  (Thirteen is also on the table because the Big 12 does not have a conference championship game and the scheduling requirements that go with it.  A 13-team model wouldn’t be as tough on that league as it would have been on the SEC.)

Louisville — which almost snuck in past WVU for the league’s last bid this past fall — would be the most likely 13th member.  From there, BYU and Notre Dame would probably generate the most chatter, whether those schools are realistic options or not.

“I don’t want to send the message, ‘Oh, they’re getting ready to expand,’ Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione said… sending the message that his league’s getting ready to expand.  “But you’d be naive to think there’s not instability still in our business.”

Part of the instability could go away when the BCS commissioners decide on a new format for the end-of-season system.  Leagues like the Big East and non-BCS schools like Boise State, UCF and San Diego State have been racing to form an alliance all in the hopes of getting a slice of BCS reaches.  The league wants to maintain its automatic qualifier status.  The schools want an easier shot into the BCS.

But if the new model does away with automatic qualifier status altogether, schools wouldn’t necessarily need to be in a particular conference to get a BCS invite.  And one has to wonder if the Big East would move forward as a coast-to-coast national league if it’s not a necessity.

If the BCS commissioners create a model that’s easier to reach, leagues and teams should — should — become a bit more stable.  And that would mean that further Big 12 expansion by one or even two teams isn’t likely to create nationwide ripples.

We still firmly believe the SEC is set at 14 schools and won’t eye 16 unless the landscape around it changes in a major way.  Louisville and BYU to the Big 12 is not sweeping change.

So while the Big 12′s blows off smoke like a volcano about to erupt, we don’t believe the college football landscape will be blasted apart this time around.

But never say never.

 


16 comments
John Bragg
John Bragg

I think the Big East goes coast-to-coast with or without AQ. They need UCF, Houston and SMU to have a football conference with 8 all-sports members. They need Boise State to have any hope of a decent football TV contract. And they need SDSU because Boise State says they do.

Foreverwhalerfan
Foreverwhalerfan

STAY AWAY FROM THE BIG EAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is wrong with stealing fro the AcC, not good enough? Too large an exit fee?

jtfris
jtfris

So, what this really comes down to is whether the TV partners will pay the same or more per school if they go to 12. If so the money from a championship game is gravy. If they can big time these schools like the Big 10 tried to do to Mizzou and did to the Nubs, they can get them to sign as junior members and make even more in the short term. If OKTC is to be believed, none of the money they make will compare to the SEC network and re-negotiated contracts.

Reddgun
Reddgun

The Big 12 is playing hardball with the Big East. They are saying let West Virginia leave this year or we will take Louisville from you.

btlh2oguy
btlh2oguy

@Reddgun Louisville playing Big 12-2-2+1 teams will hardly be must see tv. Louisville Fans will be the losers in a move. Louisville belongs in the BE.

Ol Army
Ol Army

This is from the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Houston Chronicle doesn't have the chops to come up with a report like this.

deltaboy
deltaboy

It seems to me that much of the misadventure that is conference realignment is driven by schools chasing automatic qualifier staus for BCS bowls afforded by membership in the power conferences. If major college football does adopt a long-awaited much-needed playoff system, doesn't that do away with the automatic qualifier status & therefore much of the reason for these absurd moves?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

deltaboy...

Yes. That's why I wrote that right in the piece.

Thanks for reading,

John

deltaboy
deltaboy

So do you think these geographically challenged conference wreckers are thinking about that...at all?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

All...

You're correct, mistype on my part.

John

mitchs3
mitchs3

Just to be a nit-picker, there is a second reference to 13 still to be fixed if you're trying to correct it. Mistypes happen, especially when the conferences have inherently incorrect names.

As to a portion of the substance, apparently with Navy's addition Louisville's exit fee went up by $5MM overnight.

I agree this is not sweeping change. I also agree with those who say that FSU would consider the Big 12 are outright delusional. Never in a million years.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

mitchs3...

Meant to leave that there because by saying they could go with an odd number, the Big 12 could go from anywhere to 10 to 11 to 12 to 13 to 14 to 15 or to 16. As many as four teams have been talked about. It's doubtful five or six would ever be added... so I left 13 in to show that that's possible. Maybe I didn't make that clear enough.

Thanks,

John

nate
nate

i though Big 12 has 10 schools with WVU and TCU, so would UL make it 11? not 13? did i miss something

mitchs3
mitchs3

I was just about to post the same thing - I think the 13 references above should be to 11.

Oh the joy of conferences with misleading numerical names!.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] internet whispers, the Big 12 formed an exploratory committee on expansion way back in January.  Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione let everyone know about it, too, which set off a bit of a panic.  Soon after, word began to spread that Clemson, Florida State, and [...]

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