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Big 12 Conference will suffer with 10 teams

Columnist Berry Tramel writes that Colorado and Nebraska will both leave the Big 12 after this season, meaning the nonsensical 11-team league is out of the question. But for the future, the league must find two good teams to make the league more compelling.
by Berry Tramel Modified: September 22, 2010 at 11:54 am •  Published: September 21, 2010

Don't leave mad, the Big 12 told Colorado. Just leave.

So the league Colorado wanted to leave and the school the league didn't want negotiated a buyout that leaves us with the stone, cold truth.

Big 12 football in 2011 will include just 10 teams.

Which I guess is a good thing. An 11-team, lame-duck season would have been a scheduling nightmare. Some teams playing eight conference games, some playing nine.

That nonsense was averted with the Colorado compromise. CU will forfeit $6.863 million in conference payouts so that it can jump to the Pac-10.

Nebraska (speaking of leaving mad) is gone to the Big Ten, as we knew, for the price of $9.255 million, so that's a tidy $16.118 million for the rest of the league to share.

Is that enough money for more bad football?

The Big 12 will start playing a nine-game conference schedule; every team will play every team every year.

Which sounds good until you put it under a reality light.

Here's what it means for OSU and OU and every South Division school. More Big 12 games. Fewer good games.

I know, that makes no sense in this age of rumdum nonconference games. But it's true.

OU and OSU will play the Texas schools, as always. And OU and OSU will play all four remaining North schools, instead of the current format of three of the six from the North. Except Nebraska's not in the equation.

So you've traded in Nebraska half the time for a Kansas and Iowa State all the time. Or a Missouri and Kansas State all the time. Where's the attraction in that?

Worse yet, the nine-game schedule is making schools adjust their nonconference schedules.

OSU already has stated plans to cut back on strength of schedule. A series with Purdue has been scuttled. More to follow, probably.

OU plans to keep its marquee matchups (Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, LSU, etc.) but dial down the other two games. No more Air Forces or Cincinnatis or Fresno States.

Welcome to the old Big Eight

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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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