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Bob Bowlsby doesn’t see any “obvious” candidates for Big 12 expansion, and it’s no surprise why.
Granted I don’t know the ins and outs of the college athletics business, and I understand every decision is contingent on making the most money possible so my argument is as a fan. I’m sick of our conference meaning nothing unless one of our teams can go an entire season unscathed.
The Big 12 has unique Tier 3 agreements that allow individual schools to create TV deals for one home game in football every season, which gives any school the potential to earn more in this conference than any other. This is such a grand incentive for schools that 4 of them decided they just weren’t worthy enough to be part of this fantastic conference any longer. As Outkick wrote earlier this year, each SEC school will make more from the SEC Network than Texas will off its own network.
So the Big 12 has put its future success on the hope that the fan bases of its biggest schools will power them to compete with the other big 4 conferences, but what happens when you put all your money on red? You lose half the time.
The Big 12 has essentially tied itself to OU, Texas and anyone who can make a miracle run. There are no “obvious” candidates because no school that has any other option is jumping into this black hole. The Longhorn Network has been a failure, hugely tied to the awful stretch UT football is still going through, and it will remain a roadblock for the Big 12 for its 20 year duration.
“But look how many good one- or two-loss teams we have this year! Our conference is just underrated and ESPN has a love affair with the SEC.”
Guess what? So does everyone. I want to sleep with the SEC. If the SEC were a man, Kliff Kingsbury would turn for him.
Even more so, the Big 12 is the most overrated conference, with the SEC being the most accurately rated, in the last 2 years if you consider preseason top 25 rankings versus the final AP poll. In the last two years the Big 12 has had an average drop in ranking of 3.68 per team compared to the average SEC team’s half spot rise.
But perhaps you think the last two years aren’t a big enough pool to draw from, so let’s go all the way back to 2000. In that time the Big 12 has collectively fallen 169 places, worst among all conferences.
Since the dream of having 4 mega conferences seems just that, a dream, it’s time to start making moves to either strengthen this conference, or inevitably disband. The rumors as to who the new members could be are numerous. One such theory has the juggernauts of SMU and BYU joining, which would gain a sliver of Mormon Utah football fans that apparently exist. Another has half of the AAC leaving to join, and even more ridiculous theories pose Nebraska returning.
As with many things, the more theories that are thrown out the more likely it is that none of them are happening. When the next shift takes place in college football, you can bet the Big 12 will be a part of it despite Bob Bowlsby’s reluctance.
So as fans of the Big 12, we are punished. Our teams cancel each other out, despite one loss teams from other conferences still being in the playoff mix. Read playoff predictions, how many contain Big 12 teams? We have crippled ourselves despite having a competitive conference, because the right teams aren’t the ones with one loss.
We have to change something, or the Big 12 is dead.
Follow Josh on Twitter @joshyankovich