If you just can’t stand to read the painful truth, put the paper down and go for a walk, or pop in a CD, or turn on the TV, or read a book, or swear off following sports for the rest of your life and replace it with a more stable hobby, you know, like playing the stock market.
The truth is, Kansas University is on the brink of ranking as one of the biggest losers in the conference realignment musical-chairs game it had nothing to do with setting in motion.
The Big 12 had great football and basketball leagues and was the perfect fit for Kansas, a strong and loyal member. First Nebraska and Colorado bolted. Then Texas A&M. Now Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and Texas and Texas Tech could announce any day that they are joining the Pac-16.
The Big East would have been a nice fallback position when it was the Big East, but it ceased being the Big East over the weekend, when Syracuse and Pittsburgh fled to the ACC. Connecticut is trying to follow them and looks to be in a strong position to become the ACC’s 15th school. Rutgers wants to be the 16th.
The Pac-12, if the presidents uncomfortable about how Texas Tech and Oklahoma State measure up academically agree to follow the recommendations of commissioner Larry Scott, isn’t interested in Kansas.
The Big Ten’s not expanding for now.
So where does that leave Kansas? Up a creek without a paddle, along with Missouri, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State.
Pray that the ACC allows for one exception in its desire to own the Eastern seaboard and invites Kansas instead of Rutgers.
Such a conference would allow ACC schools to brag about winning 10 of the past 13 NCAA Tournament titles in basketball: UConn (1999, 2004, 2011), Duke (2001, 2010), North Carolina (2005, 2009), Maryland (2002), Syracuse (2003) and Kansas (2008) have won it all in the past 13 seasons.
Conference realignment is driven by football, but putting together such a phenomenal basketball league without question would add value to a conference.
The ACC is smart enough to know it’s never going to rank with the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 in football, so it decided to assemble the greatest basketball conference of all-time. If you’re going to do that, do it all the way and invite KU instead of Rutgers.
Not an impossible dream, but not likely. Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, gives the ACC a foot in the New York TV market, whatever that means.
Again, now what? Form a league with Big 12 and Big East leftovers. Not a terrible league, except that all it does is kick the can that is realignment anxiety down the road a year or two, when conferences that haven’t expanded yet choose to do so. The best football schools will be looking to get stolen away, the basketball-only schools will grow tired of the negative recruiting vibes the instability brings and break off to form their own conference.
On a positive note, Kansas will get to extend its rivalries with Kansas State and Missouri, at least until the next shake-up.
It’s such a shame Texas was so weirdly obsessed on getting into a measuring contest with everyone that it led to a mass exodus.