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Realignment has thrown a wrench in the Big 12 football schedule

BERRY TRAMEL — Waiting on West Virginia to stay or go means the Big 12 hasn't released its football schedule yet, causing headaches for the schools, fans and TV networks.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 17, 2012

OSU athletic director Mike Holder has an idea to solve the potential scheduling mess of Big 12 football 2012.

Home-and-home Bedlam.

Don't laugh. It's not the worst idea out there to solve a problem that is fast becoming critical.

Security, not to mention sanity, in scheduling is collateral damage in the Big 12's revolving door.

Texas A&M and Missouri are going, TCU and West Virginia are coming, but we don't know when on the Mountaineers. Which means the 2012 Big 12 schedule is in flux, and if the courts or the Big East can't be persuaded to let West Virginia soon cross the Cumberland Gap, every Big 12 school will have to add a nonconference game.

“That's problematic,” said Holder. “We had a hard enough time finding a game to fill the void we already had.”

More than anyone, the Sooners are in the hurt locker. Before the conference carousel began, OU had one slot to fill. But TCU was a nonconference opponent for OU in 2012, and the Frogs now become a league game, replacing Texas A&M in the rotation. So the Sooners are looking for two games. If West Virginia can't fill Missouri's void, that would be three openings for OU, less than eight months before the season opens.

West Virginia has told the Big 12 it plans to be out here for the 2012 season. And a common belief is that if the Mountaineers and Big East can't agree, West Virginia will just come and suffer whatever consequences follow.

But who knows what will happen? These are uncharted waters.

If the Big 12 is forced into a nine-team league in 2012, the effect of all nine schools trying to find an extra game would be grave. Waiting on West Virginia affects Big 12 schools in myriad ways:

* The price of paying teams to play. Big 12 associate commissioner Bob Burda said the marketplace — which already is ridiculous in this buy-a-victory sport — would be massively impacted if nine major-conference schools suddenly are scrambling to fill voids.

* Television finances could take a severe hit. The Big 12's television contracts call for a certain number of games over a two-year period. That number was based on a 10-team league.

No West Virginia means nine fewer quality games, and you're not going to make up the deficit with nonconference games.

Already, the Big 12's nonconference slate is looking dim. Here are the scheduled nonconference games:

OU: Notre Dame (with two more to be scheduled).

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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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