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Berry Tramel


Big 12 football: Does expanded playoff mean expansion?

by Berry Tramel Published: June 27, 2012

We’ve been saying for months that Big 12 expansion talks is on hold until the new college football playoff format was set. Well, now it’s set — four-team model, with semifinals in bowls and an independent national title game, with the participants determined by a selection committee.

So, how does that equate to Big 12 expansion? Big 12 expansion boils down to this.

1. Can newcomers make a huge financial upgrade for the conference?

2. Would expansion help or hurt the cause of getting Big 12 schools into the four-team playoff.

Let’s answer question No. 1. Notre Dame would bring cash to the conference. Some combination of ACC schools like Florida State and Clemson would bring cash to the conference. Brigham Young might bring cash to the conference. That’s about it.

Concerning getting teams into the playoff, expansion would mean a championship game. So would a championship game be more likely to lift a team outside the top four into the top four, or would it be more likely to drop a team in the top four out of the top four?

Quite obviously, the latter. That’s why I think the Big 12 will stick with the current 10-team format unless one of the aforementioned money-makers wants in.

You know I love Louisville, and I think the Cardinals would be a great bridge for West Virginia, but I don’t see the ‘Ville getting in soon. Maybe in time, but not now. I think the Big 12 likes the 10-team model and will sit on it unless a Florida State or a Clemson or a Notre Dame express interest.

I think it’s possible that every league will stabilize for awhile, just to get a gauge on the new playoff format. Every league is like the Big 12; it wants to maximize its potential for the new four-team playoff, which will be so much bigger than basketball’s Final Four, you won’t believe it.

Besides, the Big 12′s 10-team model was given an air of legitimacy with the Big 12/SEC partnership. First, the SEC siphoned off two mid-level schools from the Big 12. So the SEC, king of the conferences, likes the Big 12 product. Then the SEC partners up with the revamped Big 12. So the Big 12 clearly still has clout. I think it will stay like this for awhile.


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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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