Friday, October 7, 2016

College Football: The Big XII is a dead-conference walking.

First Oklahoma State, then Iowa State, then Baylor, TCU and now Oklahoma seem to be falling victim to a loser's mentality:

Barry Switzer says 'Hell no' to University of Houston joining Big XII. Greg Rajan, Chron.com

Switzer's reasoning for this is simple: Allowing Houston into the Big XII would allow them to recruit Houston players better, possibly damaging OU.

And this is why the Big XII is a dead conference, it just doesn't know it yet.

Every successful conference that expanded over the last decade has done so with the mind-set that they are making the conference stronger. Do you think it was a 'good' move for Florida State to vote 'yes' for Miami's inclusion into the ACC? How about when the conference offered Louisville? The B1G brought in a storied program in Nebraska, and the Pac-12 brought in Colorado and Utah.

Even the SEC brought in Texas aTm with the thought that their presence would make the conference better.  Would it potentially make it tougher for other schools to recruit Texas? Possibly, in the short term, but thinking that way is defeatist and it shows a fundamental weakness that's present in all of the Big XII members (save possibly, UT-Austin).

It was not a "mistake" by the Big XII to admit TCU. The program has proved competitive and has been a strong addition to the league. Nor would it be a 'mistake' for the conference to add Houston, or Cincinnati.(the two schools I think they should admit)

What's going to happen however is that the Big XII is going to stand pat, too worried about angering their TV partners and eventually, when the coming change to 4 16-team super-conferences occurs the Big XII will no longer exist. It's probable that this is going to happen regardless of expansion, but without expansion it's certainly going to happen.

Once the deal runs out on the Longhorn Network I'm betting things start to move pretty quickly. College Football is going to end the charade that the Power 5 and Group of 5 play in the same league, and the NCAA will then take steps to (finally) modernize the game to match reality.

Left out of this mess might be Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia, and maybe even OSU.  I could see the Pac-12 taking UT-Austin and the B1G taking OU for sure. Maybe OU (at the behest of the Oklahoma legislature) convinces the B1G to get to 16 via OSU but it's not guaranteed. It wouldn't be hard to envision the B1G selecting UCONN over  And is there any reason, other than geography, that UT-Austin would be convinced to go to bat for Tech?

To be honest, given their facility upgrades and location I could see the Pac-12 or ACC being more interested in admitting a Houston program (the ACC could take Houston and Notre Dame) over Baylor, Iowa State or either of the Kansas teams.

Were I one of the eight Big XII teams not named Oklahoma or UT-Austin I might be worried less about recruiting in Houston and more about the long-term viability of a conference that's being actively destroyed by it's two biggest member schools.  Two schools that have no worries about their futures FWIW.

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