OU is flexible on the Big 12 expansion question and favors a four-team playoff in the upcoming change to college football's postseason. So said Sooner athletic director Joe Castiglione on Tuesday, the eve of the Big 12 spring meetings in Kansas City, Mo.
OSU, too, favors a four-team playoff but is even more determined to give the Big 12's current 10-school format time to prosper, said Cowboy athletic director Mike Holder.
Big 12 officials are expected to address the two mammoth issues pervading college football in recent months — realignment and a change to the Bowl Championship Series format. Castiglione said he doesn't expect the Big 12 will take any action but does think the conference decision-makers will gauge each other's current stances.
In recent weeks, various reports — plus the Big 12's announced partnership with the Southeastern Conference, for the champions of the two leagues to meet in a bowl game starting with the 2014 season — have put Florida State and others from the Atlantic Coast Conference as potential Big 12 members.
“Oklahoma's view on expansion is one of open-mindedness,” Castiglione said. “Essentially, we're happy where we are, we like the (10-team) model we have in place … that particular model is working for us.
“But we're open-minded about future expansion — something that leads to long-term stability and growth. We're not interested in adding institutions just to grow to a certain number.”
Neither is OSU. Holder said the Big 12's new solid status is a welcome change from the last two years, when defections to other conferences left the Big 12 in jeopardy.
“It's just nice to be stable,” Holder said. “There's a whole different perspective and attitude right now than there was one year ago or two years ago. It's a welcome change.”
“I don't think we'll do a lot of talking about expansion right now. I think everyone's happy with 10. They'd like to let things stabilize right now, find out what's going to happen with the playoffs.”
College football power-brokers have spent the spring debating changes to the postseason, be it a four-team playoff that includes the bowls totally, partially or not at all, and even a two-team playoff that takes places after the bowls, as opposed to the two-team playoff that is part of the bowl system.
“Patience is a good word right now,” Holder said. “No reason to be in a hurry.” Find out the new format, “then see if it's to our advantage to think about expanding. Ten might be the right number. Not playing a championship game might be an advantage if you're trying to put a team in the (national) championship game. That should be our No. 1 priority.”
Holder said the Big 12 is well-represented on the BCS committee, with Castiglione, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, Big 12 outgoing commissioner Chuck Neinas and Big 12 incoming commissioner Bob Bowlsby all members.
“We're speaking from a position of strength and I think a bright future,” Holder said.
Castiglione said all the proposed playoff formats and their ramifications continue to be studied.
OU doesn't “really favor one or the other, but we're leaning towards a four-team playoff that has the best chance to serve college football's best interests in the long term.
“But you can have a favorite right now, and that's all well and good, but it may not be the one selected.”
Holder said he's not in favor of the plus-one (two-team) model. “Four teams is a good start,” Holder said. “If you get started with four, I think it's probably inevitable that you'd have more than four at some point down the road. But you gotta start somewhere.”
Castiglione said keeping the bowl system intact and healthy is a priority. He also said if a four-team playoff is selected apart from the bowls, he hopes that the semifinal games could be staged similar to tradition bowl games, as a vacation-type trip for the players.