Berry Tramel: Westbrook 'fantastic' for the Thunder so far this season

by Berry Tramel Modified: November 29, 2012 at 11:35 am •  Published: November 29, 2012
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Does the Big 12 get 2 BCS bids? I've got a case of beer riding on "no." (I made the bet after OU squeaked by WV.) Am I paying up or drinking up?

Too early to tell. If Kent State loses, odds are yes. If Kent State wins, odds are no. Of course, if Kansas State loses and OU wins, I think the Big 12 just gets one. I would bet the Sugar bid would go to Clemson, even if Kent State loses.

Would ESPN/FOX increase the bottom line for the Big 12 if they were to expand with BYU and Boise St.? In the past you said it would be "Mickey Mouse" to add football-only members to the Big 12. In this case, (adding BYU and Boise St.) would the Big 12 consider that?

I think the TVs would pay the Big 12 more for BYU and Boise State. Enough to offset two more mouths to feed? I doubt it. But absolutely it would be Mickey Mouse to add football-only members. If you can't bring in someone totally, don't bring them in at all.

Does all of this conference realignment change the new playoff format or is it all set in stone for the next 12 years?

I don't know about set in stone for 12 years, but it doesn't affect how we'll start out the new format. In fact, I'd say the new format helped facilitate some of the conference realignment. I know it has affected the Big 12's decision to stick at 10 teams.

Would a BYU/Notre Dame addition be something the Big XII goes after? Those two schools have gotten closer (scheduling agreements) recently. BYU has a huge following with in the West and ND has a huge following in the Midwest and East.

Notre Dame's ship has sailed. Notre Dame is in the ACC. I think BYU and Boise State are the next Big 12 options, but I think it's much more likely that the Big 12 sticks with 10.

When people say "the Big 12 this" or "the Big 12 that," should writers really just put Deloss Dodds in parentheses since he really is the man behind the curtain and only real person that matters in Big 12 realignment?

I'd like to say no, but the answer is probably yes. Dodds is the kingpin.

Is it possible for ND to be added to the Big XII in all sports and still keep their contract with NBC?

Yes, that was possible, and I'm sure it was offered. But like I said, Notre Dame is passed. The Big 12 tried and failed. Nothing wrong in that.

Does the Big 12 risk being left behind if they don't add quality schools to the conference? The PAC, ACC, SEC are all adding and growing enormous. Super Conferences are assured in the next few years.

I don't buy it. The PAC is NOT growing enormous. It's gone from 10 to 12 and grew from 10 to 12 only because it thought it was going to get the Oklahoma and Texas schools and get to 16. If the PAC knew it wasn't going to get the Oklahoma and Texas schools, it might not have added Utah and Colorado. Now the PAC is at 12 — with nowhere to go. The PAC has been clear that it doesn't want BYU and Boise State. So why would the Big 12 be threatened? Someone will have to tell me why 14 or 16 is intimidating to a 10-team league. I'm not saying it's not, I'm saying I need to be shown why.

Money (TV) dictates conference realignment. Do you think ESPN has tried to entice the Big 12 to expand?

No. If ESPN wanted expansion from the Big 12, the Big 12 would expand. I would say ESPN is against conference consolidation, especially these conferences adding their own networks. That's not to ESPN's benefit.

I think there is something to be said for going in the opposite direction of everyone else. I think the Big XII is a very good conference at 10 right now. I don't see the need to expand just because everyone else is doing it.

I would agree, to some extent. In some ways, 14 teams is a mess. It's a scheduling nightmare. In some ways, 14 is good — it helps the SEC's good teams avoid each other. So there are pros and cons of 10 and 14. The key is for the Big 12 to advocate for the new four-team playoff to include conference champs only. That way, the SEC can't politick its way to two teams in, when those teams might not have played a rugged schedule.

Why still call it Big 12 if it’s not, in fact, 12 teams.

The Big Ten had 11 schools for 20 years. Now it has 12. There are bigger fish to fry.

Will the Big 12 ever have a conference championship again?

The title game will be played if they get to 12 teams. But I don't think they're going to 12. Outside of ISU and KSU, I don't see anyone fired up to play a conference title game.

Looks like there are only two reasons the Big 12 expands:
1.) 4-team playoffs require conference champ game winner;
2.) Notre Dame decides to become FT member in the Big 12 since it would be smaller than the ACC which allows them to schedule more nonconference games.

That's an interesting point. I don't see how the new playoff could require a conference title game, but maybe that's the negotiation. If conference champs only are admitted, then the counter is to require a title game. As for Notre Dame, Notre Dame is NOT coming to the Big 12. That is not happening.

Is it the school presidents, ADs or coaches that don't want a conference championship game? Coach Snyder said he wants it. Do you know any other coaches or administrators that feel the same way?

Most of the coaches don't want it. The ADs/presidents aren't necessarily opposed to a conference title game. They're opposed to 12 teams. They like 10. They like the round robin and they like the money.

 

ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL ACROSS THE STATE AND NATION:

Your prediction for the top 3 finish for the Heisman?

I have no idea. I just hope Manziel doesn't win. He's going to win because of a nickname. If his name was Richard Smithson, he would have no chance of winning. But Johnny Football has caught on with people. It's possible you haven't noticed, but the American electorate, politics or football, Heisman or polls, is largely lemming.

Let's have your predictions on the OSU-Baylor, K-State-Texas, and OU-TCU.

I'm on record. I've got OU in a tight one, Baylor in an upset and Kansas State solid. I just think Texas is out of gas. I think OU and OSU are both vulnerable, but the Cowboys have the tougher task, getting back up emotionally after the disappointing Bedlam loss.

Any chance that OSU or OSU loses coordinators to some of the head coaching jobs that have opened up?

I'd say there's a decent chance. I'd rank the likelihood of them leaving this way: 1. Todd Monken; 2. Josh Heupel; 3. Mike Stoops; 4. Bill Young. I'd say it's a good bet Monken gets hired somewhere.

 

ON COLLEGE BASKETBALL:

How soon do we see the Big East basketball schools separate from the Big East football schools and form their own conference?

I can't believe they haven't already done it. Cincy and UConn probably are the reasons why. But Georgetown, Villanova, Seton Hall, etc., those schools have to be saying, what in the heck are we doing?

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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