Emails in on Pac-16 and realignment
The new emails are in, and lots of talk about conference realignment.
D.K. wrote about the Texas legislature wanting Baylor instead of Texas: “I was terrific with Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Colorado joining the new Pac-16, but Baylor? I don’t mind one or even two little brothers, but not Waco University. Rather than capitulate to the Texas legislature, let’s check out the SEC. Enough is enough. Colorado deserves to be one of the six additions and actually I’d rather have Utah then Lubbock. If we’re looking for television sets and viewership, let’s add Denver and Salt Lake City. I think we can live without Waco and Lubbock. The Pac-10 needs to tell the Longhorns they are not a dictatorship. I’m getting very sick of Texas and its attitude. Let them go independent and let’s add six schools to the Pac-16 that want to be a part of a real conference.”
Without Texas, there might be no invitation for OU or anyone else. And this isn’t Texas squawking about Baylor. It’s Texas politicians. Besides, you need not worry. The Pac-10 gave in on Tech. I don’t see it giving in on Baylor.
David: “Mack Sissy Brown, who regularly schedules four non-conference girls teams year after year isn’t going to support his team joining the Pac-10 or the SEC. Mack knows that if he joins these conferences, his level of competition increases dramatically and he would be in conferences with several teams he has to compete against for BCS bowl bids. Mack isn’t a fool, and his mentality would veto joining a conference like the Pac-10. It won’t happen. UT, OU and at least 10 members remain in the Big 12 Conference. If Missouri (very possibly) and/or Nebraska leaves, they will be replaced with two other teams. The Big 12 will be alive and well. Book it.”
I don’t think Mack wants to play a tough schedule, but this thing is too big. If Nebraska bolts, it’s Pac-16. And here’s the deal. The new conference would be tougher than the Big 12. But not that much tougher. Texas would be trading Baylor and two North teams for Arizona, Arizona State and two Pac-8 teams. If it’s USC, yep, big upgrade. But some years it will be Stanford and Oregon State. Or Washington and UCLA. So let’s not pretend Texas is joining the NFC East.
Jerry, a Missouri fan: “I somewhat agree with you that the Big 12 will be fine if only Mizzou goes. I do not think that there is one team that the Big 12 can not survive without. You can say the same for NU, OU and Texas. But when you have two or more leave, that’s when the Big 12 takes a crushing blow, especially when it is school the caliber of Mizzou and NU. I do think you underestimate Mizzou’s value to the Big 12. Won’t hurt TV revenue? Seriously? Compare the number of households in Missouri vs. Nebraska. Not even close. I have not heard any official representative of Missouri say anything derogatory about the Big 12. Basically what I have heard from AD Mike Alden is we are proud members of the Big 12 and we will always operate in the best interests of the University of Missouri. I guess we are supposed to lie like DeLoss Dodds saying we are committed to the Big 12 and then talk to the Pac-10 and other conferences behind closed doors. You seem to portray Mizzou as a bunch of whiners being disgruntled over bowl selections and TV revenue sharing. Do you not agree that Mizzou got shafted when the Orange Bowl took KU over Mizzou in 2007 or being passed up by A&M and Iowa State last year and ended up in the Texas Bowl? The Big 12 does have a screwed-up revenue sharing plan. Mizzou is in the upper half of revenue sharing in the Big 12, but a conference is only as strong as its weakest link, which Texas doesn’t seem to get and maybe OU, too. However this all sorts out, Mizzou will be fine.”
Missouri will be fine? What if the Pac-16 becomes a reality and the Big Ten doesn’t invite Missouri? Where’s the fine then? But let me get this straight. You say Missouri doesn’t whine, then you whine. And your own evidence indicts Missouri. The Insight Bowl preferred Iowa State to Missouri.
Jeff: “Any AD or president worth their salt should seek the best long-term deal for their university. And the one they have now clearly is not it. Having an unequal revenue sharing arrangement, not to mention an ongoing geographical bias toward Texas for post-season play rather than equitably, leads to discordance among the members.”
Geographic bias toward Texas for post-season play? The Big 12 has staged 14 championship football games. Seven have been in the state of Texas. Seven have been in the state of Missouri. Sure, the Big 12 now has voted to stay in Arlington for the next several years, but it’s also given Kansas City the basketball tournament perhaps permanently. That doesn’t sound like geographic bias. That sounds like Solomon.
Jim: “Interesting thought about the Big 12 suddenly wanting NU to not throw tradition out the window, when it was the rest of the Big Eight, OU included, that did just that. The Big Eight rolled over to about every demand UT had from academic partial qualifiers to OU not playing NU every year. Talk about throwing tradition out the window. OU fans can diss NU all they want by saying UT is their true rival, but if I recall correctly the NU-OU game has determined more national championships than about any in my lifetime (40 years). The best part is contrary to what UT fans think, NU finally holds all the cards on this one. It is just too bad that we might screw the rest of the North schools in the process, but they all voted for many of the things Osborne didn’t like when the Big 12 was formed.”
The Big Eight gave in to Texas because it needed Texas. We talk about how bad the Big 12′s current TV contract is. How bad would it be without the Longhorns? But you can’t blame Texas for OU not playing Nebraska every year. That’s on OU, which was bad in the ’90s and didn’t want an annual beating. The irony, of course, is that OU has been vastly superior in the 2000s. But here’s what’s really funny. Remember the old joke from Jerry Tarkanian that the NCAA is so mad at Kentucky that it’s going to give two more years of probation to Cleveland State? Nebraska is so mad at Texas, it’s going to screw Iowa State.
Austin: “I awoke Sunday morning to see if the Big 12 still existed. This is what I surmised: 1. Baylor has Texas politicians lining up to fight for the little school on the Brazos. Reportedly, 15 Texas politicians have decided that little brother Baylor deserves the Pac-16, instead of Colorado. Lunacy. The Texas politicians better be thanking their lucky stars that the Pac-10 powers that be have agreed to take Tech and A&M. What is your take?”
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Pac-10 would take Baylor. Everybody would enjoy having someone to beat. But I still don’t see Berkeley voting for the Baptists. Baptists will tell you that Baylor is really liberal Baptists, but I don’t think Cal recognizes such a possibility.
Jeff: “I tend to agree with your articles regarding the Pac 10/Big 12 merger, although I admit as a old Big Eighter I’d hate to see the Big 12 go. But change is coming. The money is too big. I even like your divisional names. What I’m perplexed about is the lack of coverage regarding a force dubiously adding fuel to the change fire. The Big Ten shares its television revenues equally. The same cannot be said for the Big 12. Which way will the Pac-16 go with revenue sharing?”
I think the Pac-16 would have to split revenues equally. To do otherwise would sow seeds of discontent. As the Big 12 has proved.
Jimmy: “My first thought was, what do the Arizona schools think about this? For them, it would greatly change who they play during conference games (football). It would almost be as though the Arizona schools themselves joined a new conference.”
I have to believe that the Arizona schools signed off on it. I wrote about Mike Stoops for Monday, and he doesn’t seem crazy about the scheduling aspect. One downside to the Arizona schools is that this will cost them an annual game in LA. Maybe that’s not as big a deal as I think it is. Still not a bad drive from Phoenix to LA.
Andrew: “I grew up in Nebraska but currently reside in Shawnee. I’m still a Nebraskan at heart and am a HUGE Nebraska fan. Having said this, Nebraskans are starting to embrace leaving the Big 12. We have been on the opposing end to nearly every issue with Texas and they continue to get their way. We aren’t happy being in the newfangled Southwestern Conference. Because in all truth that is what has happened in our eyes. A solid conference in the Big Eight has been hijacked and turned into the Southwest Conference where inequalities, infighting, and good ol’ boy networking thrive. Texas will now have been in two conferences that went belly up. Hmmm, perhaps Texas should simply be independent. So how about we save the Big 12 by booting Texas out?”
Boot out Texas and the Big 12 doesn’t last a year. I don’t blame Nebraska or anyone else in the North for looking for greener pastures, but I don’t blame Texas for wielding power. Texas HAS the power. I think Nebraska will be OK in the Big Ten. Missouri will never be heard from again, not that Missouri is heard from now. But you know the real problem? It’s not power and it’s not Texas getting its way. It’s the South dominance. The South dominates all sports, except men’s basketball, because of Kansas. If the North was winning its share of titles, we wouldn’t be hearing about all this Texas power.
James: “I think what Oklahoma should do alongside some others is to re-form the original Big Six Conference. I cannot very well imagine a universe wherein Oklahoma and Kansas were not in the same conference. I am agin’ it!”
The Big Six? You’ve got to be kidding. The Big Six? Isn’t it amazing how some people like to hang on to the past? The Big Six has been gone for 62 YEARS. There was no college football on television when the Big Six became the Big Seven. Truman was in the White House. Mickey Mantle was in high school in Commerce.
Brian: “Wouldn’t it be fun to see OU head west to the Pac-16, Nebraska head north to the Big 16 and then see them face off in the Rose Bowl? How would the Rose Bowl suits like that development?”
Finally, someone with some vision. Someone who is not griping but checking out the world for possibilities.
Mark: “I believe you are right in regards to the best path forward for OU. The economic outlook for the high-growth media markets in the Southwest and West is bright; OU could elevate its program in these markets through membership in the Pac-10. As a Kansas City resident, I’m concerned about the possibility of Kansas being left out. I would like to see KU and KSU added to the mix, with the addition of two schools west of the Rockies to balance things out. I hope that a vision for a Pac-20 comprised of two divisions might catch on. I’m very concerned with a possible leadership vacuum in regard to athletics at KU during this critical time. The timing related to the ticket scandal could really hurt KU.”
I see no way a Pac-20 will be considered. I think Kansas is in for some worrisome times. But I believe the Jayhawks will come out OK. People call me crazy, but I think KU could talk its way into the SEC. The SEC has plenty of money and more than enough great football programs. What it needs is another big-time basketball program. KU could provide that, and Lawrence is a lot closer to Fayetteville, Ark., than Fayetteville is to Oxford, Miss., its next-closest league member.
Greg: “OU and A&M should go to the SEC. They should play in the Cotton Bowl, telling UT to take a hike and enjoy its game that evening at 10 p.m. in Corvallis, Ore. Yes, the convulsion would be long and loud, but a few years of playing Arkansas, Ole Miss, and LSU instead of Texas and Texas Tech would provide all the stimuli OU faithful require. OU would still be playing in Texas at least once and could cherry pick a non-conference game with Tech, Baylor, SMU, Houston or even import someone like Notre Dame. And Texas could take all their marbles and go have a Hollywood party. I hope it is good riddance and let everyone learn we can do just fine without UT, just like we could do without an annual dose of Kansas and Nebraska.”
Forget all the anti-Texas stuff. Can everyone please get over this late-start stuff. Not even the Pac-10 plays that many night games. Arizona and Arizona State do, but the Pac-10 quits playing night games in November. Schools from Oklahoma and Texas won’t play on the Coast that often. That issue is way overrated. Now, everyone resume your Texas-bashing.
Bob: “I am a transplanted Husker, graduate of OU in 1974 and have always been a supporter of the Big Eight. I have never been a fan of the Big 12. The Big Eight gave up control of its destiny to join the Southwest Conference. The conference, year by year, has gradually shifted control to the teams from the Southwest Conference, especially Texas. It’s not difficult to understand why the teams from the North Division feel like stepchildren, when year after year a little more of their independence is transferred south of the Red River.”
Again, more South Division envy, guised as Texas power. I have to admit. I didn’t realize all those feelings still existed. I figured everyone had gotten over it and was busy at work trying to win ballgames. Silly me.
Evan: “It’s always the money. Just follow it. However, as a lifelong Husker, I feel Texas started the NU administration’s search for a new deal. Osborne’s concerns have been ignored for years. It all has gravitated to Texas. The offices, championship game, Big Eight records wiped clean and who could forget the non-reviewable play that was last year. Oh, sorry, that was about the money, too, excuse me. And Texas is surprised?”
The Big 12 would have made more money had Nebraska beaten Texas. A Husker victory would have given the Big 12 two BCS bowl teams. Instead, the Big 12 had just one.
Lots of talk about how to make it one conference, not two conferences playing a title game. I don’t think that playing seven interdivision rivals plus two from the other does that. I suggest four divisions: Pacific Northwest Hippies (WSU, UW, Oregon, Oregon State), LA Smog (Stanford, Cal, USC, UCLA), Mountainous Desert (Colorado, Tech, Arizona, ASU) and OU/UT & Stepsons (I’m an OSU guy, so I can make that joke). Schedule like this. Three against your divisional rivals. Two from each of the other three divisions. Ultimately we’d make one trip per year to California, one per year to either Washington or Oregon and one per year to AZ/CO/West Texas. What this impacts is the non-conference schedule. No more of OU playing Cincinnati and Florida State in a year. OSU doesn’t need to travel far and wide for a non-conference game. Stick to Arkansas State, Kansas, Baylor, Rice, Tulsa, etc. Got to make sure to give teams like Florida Atlantic or Rice their paycheck but don’t kill yourself with two reasonably tough games in a year (OU) and don’t travel too far for non-conference more than once a year, maybe once every two years. And this ties the Louisiana Purchase 16 Conference (or Manifest Destiny 16?) together better in my mind without causing too much travel beyond what is fathomable.”
I hate the divisional plan but love the Manifest Destiny reference. I think I’ll steal that one. Here’s why the scheduling won’t work. The Washington and Oregon schools want to be in Los Angeles at least once a year, for recruiting purposes. They’re in serious trouble otherwise. So I think two divisions is the way to go. The WAC tried this four-division deal back in the ’90s. It was a disaster. I don’t see what’s wrong with the concept of two conferences sort of bonded into one. If the Arizona schools are OK with it, I think it works well. You keep your long-term bonds and toss in occasional games against the others. And while OU and OSU would play once every eight years in Eugene or Seattle or Berkeley or Pasadena, in some ways, that makes it even more special. I remember when OU first played at A&M, in 1994, then went back in 1998 with the advent of the Big 12. It seemed so exotic back then. Now it’s humdrum. Going once every eight years would keep the romanticism.
Larry: “I’m kinda partial to the status quo and wish we could keep it going somehow, but it seems that there are inexorable forces at work that make the Big 12 unsustainable. It sure looks like it’s in the process of collapse. The Pac-10 hookup seems like the best available solution in that we keep these old regional rivalries intact. If it comes to pass, I’m looking forward to seeing my Red Raiders kick some Left Coast tail. We’ve got some real culture clashes in the offing. When Oklahoma meets West Texas it isn’t necessarily worldview vs. worldview. But when Aggie meets Berkeley, this could be interesting.”
I sort of like the Aggies in that matchup.
Aaron: “I say the Pac-16 would be amazing, just as long as Texas, OU, OSU and A&M stay together. My question, however, is how will this league compare to the likes of the Big 10 and SEC revenue wise? Would it make better sense for the Oklahoma and Texas schools to go to the SEC? Also, what could this mean in recruiting? Stoops already has started to open a SoCal pipeline with the likes of Stills and Jefferson. Could this solidify better recruiting in these areas?”
I’m told Stoops is sort of fired up about the possible California recruiting. The revenue projections fall somewhere between the SEC and the Big Ten, which is great. I think the Pac-16 is a better fit than the SEC. I think going to the SEC might just open up Texas recruiting to the likes of Arkansas, LSU and Alabama.
Burl: “Should the Big 12 try to stay together, it could be that Texas and A&M go to the Pac-10 anyway, Nebraska and Missouri to the Big 10. Oklahoma’s chances for dominance on the college football landscape would diminish greatly. Missouri started this mess, and they will lose more than anyone else. Gary Pinkel has done well recruiting in Texas. Does Mizzou believe that will continue once their sons no longer visit the Big 12 South schools to play? Pinkel will leave, Iowa State will join the Missouri Valley, along with K-State, and who knows where KU will end up. It would be more than stupid to pass this up now. I don’t like the idea of realignment myself, but also what is occurring here is the development of a false college football playoff picture. More conference championships/divisional championship type games will help the BCS survive longer. When the NCAA attempted to create parity in the sport, this is the result. Power conferences that may have scholarship limits but have aligned themselves with the attractive attributes to lure recruits, TV networks and ad dollars.”
Speaking of parity, the Big 12 and Pac-10 have become the most top-heavy leagues. USC has dominated the Pac-10. OU and Texas have dominated the Big 12. No other league is like that.
David: “How about OU, OSU, UT, A&M, TCU, Tech, SMU, Baylor and Tulsa for a new nine-member SWC? Add Houston to make it an even 10, and if you want 12 schools add Rice and UTEP.
Heck, add Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State and go to 14,
Greg: “Your recent columns on realignment have been good, but just for the record, I hate the ideas. Not just for OU, but for the Big 12. At the core of all of this is one thing: money. There’s no other reason in my mind why any Big 12 school, with exception of Iowa State or Baylor, would want to move. It’s hard enough for a team to win a conference title in a 12-team league. It’d be a ton harder in a 16-team league that has better teams. Also, would it not eliminate at least a couple non-conference games at the start of the year (even if they are minions)? I guarantee you ticket prices will go up for the likes of Arizona, Oregon, etc. Not to mention how this would affect all other sports. I can’t see how schools would justify heading west for basketball or a tennis match or a wrestling meet. To me, conferences should stick to a region. Also, I don’t think this issue helps the Big 12 schools in the BCS. I haven’t seen anyone address that issue yet as to whether a conference expansion (both Pac-10 and Big 10) would help or hurt a school’s shot at a BCS bowl. The leagues get larger and the competition gets tougher – which would also affect a team’s ability to make a playoff system if that ever happens. My inclination is that realignment would hurt more than help.”
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