UT’s Dodds: Add Big 12 games in football & basketball
I had a good chat with Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds last Friday. We talked about the past, present and future of the Big 12, and you’ve read about some of our conversation in my Sunday and Monday columns. But Dodds tossed out an idea which didn’t really fit anything I was writing about but which was extremely interesting. So I’ll share it here.
Dodds advocates playing more conference games in BOTH football and basketball. He would like nine Big 12 games in football and 22 in basketball (a double round-robin).
“I’d rather play more conference games,” Dodds said. “We don’t have enough votes for that. We wouldn’t be buying so many games.”
Dodds said he has trotted out the idea “a couple of times. Hadn’t had much success. They know where we stand. Sometimes programs get down and want to play games where they can win more games. Those votes will always be against adding.”
Dodds’ idea has merit. Keep the money within the conference. Non-conference games in both sports are costing more and more. Some football non-conference opponents are charging between $500,000 and $800,000, depending on the matchup. Basketball games don’t cost nearly that much, but the many rum-dum games in November and December don’t draw many fans most places.
December basketball would take on a whole new look if Big 12 teams played 22 conference games instead of 16. That’s six extra league games, most of which would be played before Christmas. You don’t think Oklahoma State-Iowa State is more interesting than OSU-Centenary. You don’t think fans in Norman would get more excited about Oklahoma-Missouri than OU-Coppin State?
Coaches wouldn’t like it, because it would hurt their records. I would argue that it would NOT hurt their NCAA Tournament chances. The NCAA basketball committee does many things wrong, but one thing I think it does right is ignore meaningless games. I think it generally just throws out games that don’t matter and gets on with the matter at hand. I think the Big 12 still would get 5-6 teams into the NCAA Tournament every year.
The Big 12 doesn’t claim to have divisions in basketball anyway, even though in reality it does, with schools from the football divisions playing each other twice and the other schools once.
Adding a football game would cause some discussion on how to add the ninth game. Would you give every team an annual crossover opponent? That would allow a traditional series like OU and Nebraska to play every season. In fairness, you would try to pair up foes of similar status. For instance, Texas could play Missouri every year, Baylor could play Iowa State, Colorado could play Texas Tech, Texas A&M could play Kansas and Oklahoma State could play Kansas State. Then you rotate the other three non-division games.
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