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Big 12/SEC bowl alliance is great news for the Big 12

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY -- At points over the past two years, the Big 12 looked almost doomed. But on Friday, the Big 12, along with the SEC, made a power move to solidify a bowl partner and possibly its future.
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 18, 2012

“This new game will provide a great matchup between the two most successful conferences in the BCS era and will complement the exciting postseason atmosphere created by the new four-team model,” he said in a statement.

The SEC had much to gain from a game setup like this, and its power brokers knew as much. The revenue potential for this bowl is off the charts.

Because it's a stand-alone game, a separate TV deal can be done. As a source told The Sporting News' Matt Hayes, the size of the contract for broadcast rights is “unthinkable.”

And that doesn't even factor in ticket sales or the money that a venue might shell out to host the game.

(Get ready to open that checkbook, Jerry Jones.)

Even through the turmoil of the past couple years, the Big 12 has continued to be an on-field power. It still had teams in the national championship hunt. It always had lots of teams peppering the national rankings.

But you had to wonder about the Big 12's sway off the field.

Was it going to be taken seriously by college football's big wigs?

Only a few months ago the league had been reduced to eight schools and half of those institutions were considering a jump to the Pac-12. But now, those days seem long ago and far away.

TCU and West Virginia have joined the fold. ABC and ESPN have agreed to a nine-year extension of their TV deal with the league, which, when added to the Big 12's cable deal with Fox Sports, will pay each school roughly $20 million a year. Bob Bowlsby has been lured away from Stanford to be the new commissioner.

All of those were great signs for the Big 12 and its long-term viability.

But when the big boys of college football call and want to do business, there is no bigger vote of confidence.

The Big 12 might still have its share of infighting and head butting. It might remain a bit of a pirate ship, but this much is sure — it's no longer a sinking ship.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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