I blogged about possible Big 12 expansion earlier today. I’m less and less optimistic it will happen anytime soon. But I got an email that is at least thought-provoking. Reader Jason Dunigan, who is a West Virginia fan, wrote about Notre Dame/BYU rumors — that both independents would join the Big 12 in all sports but football, but even football would come aboard as quasi-members.
I think it’s just that — a rumor. But Jason made some excellent points about why it makes sense. I thought I would let him share with you:
“I kind of like the idea, and it got me to thinking about some of the ways that might make it appealing. These points are ideas I came up with as far as how it might work, so I am not suggesting any of these details were part of the rumor mill:
* Both schools could maintain football independence while parking their other sports in the Big 12 (minus hockey for Notre Dame).
*Both schools add to the academic profile of the conference.
*With the Longhorn Network already in play in the Big 12, BYU’s network would be easy to work around, and Notre Dame supposedly has been promised their own NBC-created network once their current deal runs out with NBC in 2015.
* The partnership could have BYU and Notre Dame playing five games each season against Big 12 members in football and facing a full conference slate for all other conference sports.
* The scheduling agreements provides for a theoretical 10th conference game for each full-time member, with each member being guaranteed a home and home matchup with BYU and Notre Dame every four years.
* It also ensures round-robin play continues in football (except for BYU and Notre Dame).
* Having the “conference” games with BYU and Notre Dame would help curtail some of the costs of scheduling nonconference opponents for both the conference and the two schools, as payouts for nonconference games are approaching the $1 million mark … in some cases. West Virginia paid UNLV $750,000 for a one-and-done to come to Morgantown in 2010.
* Both would be attractive to bowl partners, and it would allow BYU and Notre Dame to have better access to higher quality bowls. I realize neither school is in any danger of being left out of the bowl season if eligible – especially Notre Dame. However, keep in mind, as weak as the Big East’s bowl line up has been (and trust me, I am a WVU fan; I speak from experience) Notre Dame still sought inclusion into the Big East’s bowl package because it helped keep the Gator Bowl around a few years longer for the Big East and it helped ensure ND would at least have a shot at the Gator Bowl because all of the other better second tier bowls were spoken for by other conferences.
” With only five contests required of Notre Dame and BYU per season, both schools would have the opportunity to schedule freely with seven other games, meaning Notre Dame could continue to schedule Michigan, Michigan State, USC and Navy along with three other opponents of their choosing.
* A sample four-year schedule for the new partial members would look something like this:
BYU Year 1: Texas @ home; Baylor away; Kansas @ home; OK State away; WVU @ home
ND Year 1: Oklahoma away; Kan St @ home; TCU away; Tex Tech @ home; Iowa St away
BYU Year 2: Oklahoma away; Kan St @ home; TCU away; Tex Tech @ home; Iowa St away
ND Year 2: Texas @ home; Baylor away; Kansas @ home; OK State away; WVU @ home
BYU Year 3: Texas away; Baylor @ home; Kansas away; OK State @ home; WVU away
ND Year 3: Oklahoma @ home; Kan St away; TCU @ home; Tex Tech away; Iowa St @ home
BYU Year 4: Oklahoma @ home; Kan St away; TCU @ home; Tex Tech away; Iowa St @ home
ND Year 4: Texas away; Baylor @ home; Kansas away; OK State @ home; WVU away
* The new partnership would allow the Big 12 to include conference home contests featuring BYU and Notre Dame (in which either school plays at a Big 12 venue) in its Tier One and Tier Two television properties, as well as provide prime time opposition for the two religious institutions for their own television contracts. That’s an additional five contests per year that the Big 12 can sell to networks featuring schools with national followings — moreso with Notre Dame, obviously.
*The arrangement also allows the Big 12 (read: DeLoss Dodds & Texas) to avoid having a conference championship game while adding Notre Dame to the league.
*Adding BYU and Notre Dame strengthens basketball across the conference as well as several other nonrevenue sports, including baseball.
*For all the turmoil in the Big 12, everyone has to admit it is a lot more attractive as a conference than the Big East or West Coast Conferences, respectively.
To me it makes all the sense in the world. What are your thoughts?”
OK, here are my thoughts. I love the idea. It keeps the round-robin, but adds a 10th conference game, which I love.
However, it’s got little chance of coming to pass. I just don’t see Notre Dame joining the Big 12 in any form. I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think the Irish would make a five-game commitment. BYU would do it in a heartbeat, but not Notre Dame. But it’s an excellent plan. Good job, Jason.