The first day of meetings for the Big XII’s athletic directors came and went with little said about league expansion. In fact, the only official comments on the topic came from commissioner Bob Bowlsby himself:
“I think we did gravitate around some principle that will guide us going forward and I think we created some filters that we all agreed on. I think there was a fair amount of unanimity in the room.”
The Big XII commish also said that everything discussed regarding expansion could be classified as “what-ifs.”
Meanwhile, CBSSports.com reports that behind closed doors, the Big XII’s ADs discussed who might go where if the Big Ten and SEC decide to expand again… and who would be left for the Big XII in such a scenario. Their views should not surprise. According to Jeremy Fowler, the ADs believe the Big Ten would likely chase schools already in the Association of American Universities (Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and Duke). They believe the SEC would go after a school or two from what would be new states to the SEC: Virginia and North Carolina (Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest). The biggest programs left behind (according to what Fowler heard coming out of the meeting): Florida State, Clemson and Louisville.
Bowlsby has made it clear — as has powerful Texas AD DeLoss Dodds — that the 10 Big XII schools make a whole lotta cash as a 10-member league. Adding more teams had better equal more cash. From the comment above, we’ll assume that the league’s ADs agreed on a pair of things.
First, if Notre Dame (part-time) or Florida State (full-time) decide they want to jump onboard the Big XII bus they’ll receive a warm welcome immediately. Those additions would likely be unanimous.
Second, unless/until the other power leagues start bulging to 16- or 18- or 20-team leagues, there’s no need for the Big XII to make the first move. Unless the Irish or Seminoles ask for admission, of course.
Again, those are assumptions based on past comments, past actions, and yesterday’s remark from Bowlsby. And the commish made another comment that seems to back up our views: “It’s not about what we’re prepared to do, it’s that we’re prepared.”
Bowlsby also said his league gave unanimous support to exploring scheduling and marketing alliances with other conferences, like the ACC. (Mike Slive has said the SEC has had no alliance discussions with the Big XII “at all,” which is surprising considering he almost always keeps his options open.) And he said that the Big XII has asked the NCAA if it’s really necessary for a conference to have 12 teams in order to hold a football championship game.
One final comment from Bowlsby fall in line with something we’ve bee writing for days: “This environment has a lot of moving parts and if some of them would stop or slow down, it would be easier to come up with a strategy.” Which is why everyone should stop or slow down.