Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tom Keegan: If Big 12 expands, Florida is the place

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, left, and Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger laugh while taking reporters' questions after the first day of the conference's meeting Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, left, and Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger laugh while taking reporters' questions after the first day of the conference's meeting Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)


The smart money says that status quo will prevail at expansion discussions among Big 12 presidents/chancellors and athletic directors next week in Dallas.

A 10-team conference makes the most sense in part because there aren’t two schools interested in joining the Big 12 that could do anything but dilute the quality of the conference. As for the long term, there is a duo worth studying intensely to see if their addition could lead to exciting growth for the conference.

Neither South Florida nor Central Florida in tandem with a school outside the state of Florida could generate much of a buzz. But bring them both into the conference several years down the road and things become interesting, very interesting.

Coming off an 0-12 season, Central Florida had a pivotal hire to make and turned a lot of heads when it landed high-profile assistant coach Scott Frost, a former Nebraska quarterback and NFL safety.

Frost left Oregon, where he had been an assistant coach for seven seasons, the last three as offensive coordinator at a program that prides itself on using speed and fast tempo to run up big scores.

Frost has had other opportunities but opted for the Orlando-based university for the same reason Central Florida should intrigue bigger conferences as a possible addition. He saw great potential for growth.

“One of the things that drew me to the job is I knew I could run a version of our offense that was practically identical to Oregon because we can recruit that type of player here,” Frost told USA Today in a recent Q&A.; “...In Orlando, Florida, there (are) fast guys in high schools in every direction in close proximity that are already running systems in high school that are similar to this and should want to play in it.”

South Florida is in Tampa and has similar recruiting advantages. The density of population, as compared to many of the college towns that make up the Big 12, would give both Florida schools a shot at making up ground on schools with richer traditions.

The chance to play against giants such as Oklahoma and Texas, which would grow even bigger in the eyes of recruits once they play a game every year in Florida, would increase the chances of the two schools landing big-time recruits.

Big cities translate to big numbers in the all-important television-sets category. Nielsen ranks Tampa-St. Petersburg as the 14th-largest Designated Market Area in the country, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne as 19th. Interesting, very interesting.


Michael Sillman 6 years, 1 month ago

I completely agree with Keegan on this issue. It has been very clear that money is driving conference consolidation.

The Big 12 should be willing to take a chance on some universities with long term potential. UCF and USF would bring in two large metropolitan areas and really open the rich recruiting grounds of Florida to the conference.

All of the other options are rather bland in what they bring to the table. Florida is going to continue to grow in population and importance.

Roll the dice now in my opinion.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 6 years, 1 month ago

Central Floria and UConn would be a good option; imho.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

The Big 12 should expand to 14 teams. In addition to USF and UCF, which Keeg writes, we should add Memphis and Houston.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 1 month ago

No, again, on Houston. Hurts KU, adds nothing to the TV market, puts too much power in Texas and doesn't help the conference long term.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

We are NEVER going to agree on this point.

Houston has the country's 4th largest TV market, one of the riches recruiting ground, strong financial resources and competitive teams with rich traditions.

We will soon find out whose right or wrong. I'm strongly of the opinion that Houston is central to any/every Big 12 expansion plans.

Dan Mangan 6 years, 1 month ago

I think adding Houston is a good school to add but we already have the market because we have so many other Texas schools. It really only adds a school and would not bring additional money to the conference. If we add Florida schools then we get an expanded TV deal and that means big money. I would also look at UNLV and New Mexico as possible options. Location is better and they bring some level of new TV market.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

Adding Houston would lock in the Texas market for the Big 12, which does not have SE Texas. Locking in TX could go along way to securing the Big 12 TV package. Adding FL would add enormously. Hence 14 teams.

Zeik Montellioso 6 years, 1 month ago

You're so blinded by your obsession with Houston that you can't see the logic in any counter argument.

Concerning Recruiting, Bill Self already gets top recruits out of Texas. Adding Houston will change nothing. No recruit in their right mind would choose Houston over an offer play at KU, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma etc.

"Competitive teams with rich traditions"....out of Houston?....come on. You are really stretching here. If Houston has competitive teams with rich tradition, then the same can be said about any school in the county.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Houston is a tough call. It's a huge TV market that's at least as strongly tied to A&M as UH. Houston is too much of a commuter school. It IS a huge market and inclusion in a Power Conference might crank it up a notch. It could be argued that the same potential exists as in Fla.

The whiners that can't stand having another school in Texas are just that, whiners.

Andrew Dunlap 6 years, 1 month ago

Memphis wouldn't fit into the Big 12 portfolio. it's a commuter school with little academic reputation and not a major research university.It has no athletic tradition in football worth metnionng. Memphis is a small market media wise and Tennesse isn't a big recruiting base. Houston wouldn't give us anything we don't already have since Houston is full of UT Alumni and fans. They need to poach teams from the ACC.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Houston is far more A&M dominated than tu.

Jim Burns 6 years, 1 month ago

What you say about Memphis academically and tradition-wise is true, but don't downplay the market (bigger than several in the Big 12) or the recruiting. The city itself has produce tons of basketball prospects and not a few in football. However, you main point is No on Memphis and I agree with that.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 1 month ago

If you are going to expand, then get something out of it. The Florida schools actually bring something to the table, and they open the Florida recruiting grounds a little more to our teams.

The bottom line is that, when Texas and OU decide to leave, the conference is basically kaput, so you might as well ride it out as is, try and get some traction in football and be ready to join the Big Ten or the Pac Ten when the current contract ends.

Steve Corder 6 years, 1 month ago

Ok, Brett, just where would OU & UT go? To the SEC and competition that would spin their little heads even further around there necks or the distant shores of the Pacific? Where is it easiest to go undefeated and get a shot at a national championship spot?

After all the bluster and egomaniacal elitist talk I think they stick, or maybe you'll be right and there will be 4 power conferences of 16-20 schools. Either way KU as a university and our sport's program will be just fine.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 1 month ago

Bad wording on my part. I should have said: if they go and not when. I think that you are right, there isn't a good reason for them to leave, and from articles posted earlier here, it seems like Texas is acting a little less like Texas with the new administration, so they may ultimately see the benefit of staying.

As pointed out by others, nothing is really critical until the current contract comes up, then there is likely to be some reorganization - though it's very difficult to predict how it would all shake out.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

If OU and UT leave the Big 12, Kansas should make every effort to get into the B1G.

Zeik Montellioso 6 years, 1 month ago

I totally agree, but every time this has been brought up there's always talk about how the state of Kansas wants KU and K-State to stick together, and the B1G doesn't want K-State.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 1 month ago

B1G would be the best place to land but I don't think we are at the top of their wish list and they are already at 14.

Robert Brock 6 years, 1 month ago

If the Big 12 cannot lure P5 schools then the Big 12 should stand pat or disband when the GOR expires. The conference does not need flotsam or jetsam like Houston.

Michael Leiker 6 years, 1 month ago

Road trips to Florida for games would be awesome. Sounds great.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 1 month ago

Eventually four conferences will surface with 16 teams in each. The 64. The problem with the Big 12 is they currently have teams that nobody wants in their conferences or teams that the conference already has that market. For instance, Iowa in the Big Ten doesn't need Iowa State.

The problem that keeps coming up, is for states like Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma, the best scenario is for their two flagship teams to be in different conferences while still working out a rivalry game. This adds games to the state and makes the state more marketable.

The legislature in Kansas has focused on keeping Kansas and Kansas State together, which makes them unappealing to the PAC12 or the BigTen.

I'm not worried about Kansas because eventually they will be absorbed by the Big Ten (1st Option), ACC (2nd Option), and PAC12 (3rd Option).

Currently, Kansas State would have a hard time getting pulled into the ACC, and their best bet would be the PAC12.

However, when you start listing 64 teams...14 in the SEC, 12 in the PAC, 14 in Big10, 15 in the ACC (including ND), and 10 in the Big 12...that is 65 teams. There are a couple of teams that might be more attractive than those 65, and one is getting dropped. Right now there are some schools that need to make themselves more attractive. The GOR gave teams time to prepare, but I don't think all of them are doing enough.

If I had a list of teams that need to beef it up in order to make themselves marketable, would be the following: Iowa State, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor (because of scandal this might be rough for them), Oklahoma State, Kansas State. Outside of the Big 12, I would have Wake Forrest, GT, Rutgers. I would list some PAC12 schools, but with the western time zone the current teams are safe.

The teams that could run for the 64: UCONN, Houston, BYU, Florida schools (Central Florida and South Florida), Memphis (doubtful).

The game is to 64, the key is to be inside that number. If you are in you win, if you are out, it will be hard 10 years.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Excellent analysis. Some debatable positioning of schools but a great overall perspective.

Jim Burns 6 years, 1 month ago

You forgot to mention Kansas on the needs beefing up list. Football is the driver of this bus. Having a top 3 hoops program helps keep KU in the discussion, but if football remains awful we are in no better shape than KSU and ISU. There are some Power 5 private schools that could be dropped from a Power 64 with little argument from anyone but their fanbases - Vandy, Wake, Baylor (pre-Briles). Duke basketball keeps them in the discussion like it does for us. TCU has football - right now - and the Big 12 invite may have "saved" them.

Joseph Bullock 6 years, 1 month ago

Texas, TCU, Baylor, and Texas Tech, don't want to add Houston, so I doubt that will happen. I wish we would have added Louisville! U-Conn, Cincinnati, Central and South Florida, make sense to me! But some of the other options are also pretty good. But we 'Need' to expand!

William Woody 6 years, 1 month ago

Alright, here is the answer to what the Big 12 should do ;) Grow a pair and go for the 16 team conference NOW! Northern Division: KU, KSU ISU, WVU CINNCY, MEMPHIS, BYU AND CSU (Colorado State). Southern Division: OU, OSU, TX, TT, BAYLOR, TCU, UCF AND USF. You basically become the first NATIONAL conference, covering almost all time zones ( BYU and CSU are mountain zones, but have western area fans) FedEx jumps in and becomes our big dog sponsor for championship game. You pick up Florida market for recruiting and you have a national team in BYU. Show me the money!

Michael Maris 6 years, 1 month ago

BYU is holding out for the PAC. It makes regional and financial sense for BYU.

William Woody 6 years, 1 month ago

The thing is 'making sense' of this went out the window a long time ago!

Jim Burns 6 years, 1 month ago

That sort of screams "YUCK" to me, but might be a viable option with what is left (and BYU is never going to be invited to the Pac). Although we might be able to compete in football - eventually.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Florida schools talk is largely based on the future and that they MIGHT be bigger and more relevant. It's a guessing game based largely or almost entirely on football.

Let's discuss an even more likely future. One without football. Unless a way to eliminate life altering damage to football players is created soon, football will be dead in as little as 20 years. 100,000 seat stadiums will be soccer and track venues. Basketball will be THE revenue sport. No brand is stronger than Jayhawk basketball.

An eye toward that future would be wise.

Michael Maris 6 years, 1 month ago

I won't argue with your statement about Football being dead in 20 years. But, the $$$$$$$$$ is in football right now. So, if football is dead, then there's going to be a LOT of lawsuits being filed in the next 20 years and the advertising dollars will dry up in no time. Time will tell (for sure).

Can you imagine all of the future young kids (who would be football talent) transitioning over into soccer in 20 years. The Europeans better watch out.

Rugby probably would gain traction (as well).

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

I've been thinking this as well about football.

Michael Maris 6 years, 1 month ago

We'll see what shakes out. Still a while before the Granting of Rights runs it's course (there's like 9 years left, I believe).

I don't think that it will take the whole 9 years before Texas and OU decide to take their games else where.

The closer the GOR gets to expiration, the more likely that Texas & OU would just take the financial hit (if they are truly held to the GOR Contract) and move else where.

But, time will tell.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 1 month ago

What a wonderful debate! Both sides have expressed their views very clearly. To be honest, I'm not sure how I would vote on this. However, if I had to, I would do so with a lot more information pro and con than I did before the debate. Thanks.

On another matter, have I missed something regarding Jarrett Allen of Houston. To my knowledge, he still hasn't declared for a college, and the deadline for signing a National Letter of Intent has expired. I google his name and get all kinds of predictions, including the one that Jay linked us to several days ago.

However, now everything I read is that he is 100% for Texas. If that is the case, why hasn't he announced. Makes me wonder if there aren't a couple of other issues at stake. Is he reconsidering UK since Bolden picked Duke? Is he thinking about Europe instead of college, as Emanuel Muduaay did (I know the the spelling is wrong, but I'm too lazy to try to google it)? Is there a grade or transcript problem (not aware of one)? Anyway, I'm puzzled, which at my age is normal, I guess.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

He's waiting for Diallo and Taylor to decide. If Taylor comes back UT has the inside shot. If he doesn't and Diallo leaves, maybe it's Kansas. Deadline for pulling out of NBA draft is tomorrow.

Jim Burns 6 years, 1 month ago

If I actually had a vote rather than simply being able to subject my opinion on fellow message board members, I would hold tight. Stick with 10, play the round robin schedule and ride it out. There really are no more good options for expansion - just an argument over the best of a diminished lot. I wasn't even stoked about Louisville, but if the rumors are true about FSU & Clemson, then that boat was missed.

The missing the championship game argument is sort of a red herring. Yes, the Big 12 missed the first year. They didn't the second. Guess what? 4 spots, 5 champions - someone is going to miss every year. This expand now hype seems like an over-reaction to year one of the Football Championship - which will probably be expanded eventually anyway.

Bob Bailey 6 years, 1 month ago

The Ore coach has been running the Offense for years. Ore probably has the best team running that Offense. Mich State number 2. Ore whipped KState from the first play of the Bowl game. Obviously no one is interested.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 1 month ago

Thanks, Jay. Had I looked at some earlier stories, I would have seen the Taylor connection. Hadn't really crossed my mind. However, it must be important since Diallo has already said he is staying in the draft.

Apparently, if Texas doesn't end up with a pretty good point guard, Allen may be concerned about who is going to feed him the ball. Hope he isn't that self centered, since I'd take Frank Mason and Devonte Graham over Taylor any day. Of course, I'm biased.

When you consider KU's history of wanting to play through "the bigs", I would think that would be the most important thing to Allen. Of course, if he chooses KU, I wouldn't want people to think that the field house was named after him. Given the Porter recruitment by Washington, some idiots might think we actually did that to get Allen. (Hopefully, just a little levity here, right Mick?)

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Great levity....Taylor has already said the same things as Diallo. He just hasn't actually hired an agent yet. My guess is that he goes NBA and Allen still goes to UT. I hope I'm wrong and that 'horns reporter is right.

Michael Maris 6 years, 1 month ago

How about the Big XII expand to 16 and add C. & S. Florida. Northern Illinois and U. of Cincinnati.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 1 month ago

Look to the east. Add Cincinnati, which (A) gives West Virginia a travel partner and is on the border between Ohio and Kentucky, giving us inroads in both Big 10 and SEC territory. Then add Louisiana Tech, which gives us a foothold in the SEC's territory.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes, Jay. Instead of waiting to see if anyone will be around to feed him the ball, perhaps Allen wants to ensure that there's nobody around to steal his thunder. However, from what I have read, Allen is a quiet and relatively unassuming person. Therefore, I really doubt this is foremost on his mind, in which case I remain puzzled. Not for long, however; as we undoubtedly will hear something in the next few days.

I join you Jay in hoping that the "horns" reporter is right. Couldn't argue with any of his logic, especially knowing that he would normally be a "homer". Maybe he is one of those superstitious persons who is using some reverse psychology to soften the blow if he turns out to be right. At least he can say, "I predicted it", which he will gladly give up if Allen picks UT.

Vernon Riggs 6 years, 1 month ago

Without adding a Big12 Network, I don't see the benefits of adding more teams. And, without including the Texas inventory in the Big12 Network, it will never get off the ground. So the Longhorn Network issue must be solved before expansion. With Texas netting after expenses close to $15-20 million per year, it is not going to be easy fix. The Big12 Network will not make that level of money for many years to pay Texas and the rest of the conference that type of payout.

Robert Brock 6 years, 1 month ago

Enough with Texas. KU needs to find its own way. Get into the Big 10.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Ask the Huskers if it's any easier being Michigan and Ohio State's biotch.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 1 month ago

Something I've said all along. Nebr@$$ka has gone from being third fiddle (at best) in a Big 12 dominated by Texas and Oklahoma to being third fiddle (at best) in a Big 10 dominated by Michigan and Ohio State. The more things change for Nebr@$$ka, the more they stay the same.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Also behind MSU, Wisconsin and Penn State in football. Maybe even Iowa. Behind almost everyone in hoops.

When they're sipping hot cider at 930 AM at a 35 degree tailgate party they don't feel so smug about how they "showed Texas"....

The good news for this year is that they're so awful their games aren't national broadcasts and they can have afternoon games again.......yay. That "N" on the helmets stands for nolledge...

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 1 month ago

If four 16 team conferences is the way this is going to play out I like our chances of landing in one of them but I’m not betting on the Big Ten as our future home. They would rather have Notre Dame, Texas or Oklahoma before an offer is extended to us. Notre Dame will probably turn them down again but UT and OU if faced with the decision of where they should go would find it difficult to say no. They could also look to the ACC so I wouldn’t rule out Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Boston College. Missouri and Kentucky couldn’t also get some consideration.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

Are you saying that teams will leave one power conference and join another?

Cmon... Seriously....

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 1 month ago

Not sure if you’re being sarcastic Jay but in case you’re not, Maryland left the ACC.

Jay Scott 6 years, 1 month ago

As did Mizzery, ATM, NU, CU...all looked to greener pastures... Ask Husker fans how they like the early kickoffs and being the second tier in the conference.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 1 month ago

Jay, clever how you avoided the censors in your next to last post. Hope I haven't blown your cover. Oh well, if I have, you are certainly smart enough to figure out another way, which I will not promise to reveal.

Robert Brock 6 years, 1 month ago

I am not worried about being B1G's football biotch. KU is the Big 12's football biotch now.

On the other hand, the Hawks are doing well making opponents our biotch in hoops and have been doing it for 12 straight years. It would be fun to roll into Madison, Wisconsin and Columbus, Ohio with a good head of basketball steam for a change.

Steve Corder 6 years, 1 month ago

No conversation on a merger, since we all are engaging in a fantasy game of "What If"?

Doug Weston 6 years, 1 month ago

This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! Big 12 adding Central Florida and South Florida is about as likely as adding Faber College and Grand Lakes University.

Maria Ungaro 6 years, 1 month ago

If the BIG 12 is working toward the future go to 16 teams now,


South: UT, TTU, BU, TCU, Houston, Tulane, S Florida, Cent Florida.

Big 12 has a strong foundation and can take it to the next level. Adding Houston, Tulane and 2 Florida schools will expand recruiting in prime locations. Adding Cincy & Memphis will give some new future NORTH rivials.

KU has desperately missed playing there rival Mizzu. So if Big 12 doesn't expand KU and OU to the SEC EAST.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 1 month ago

Most talk seems to have KU and OU going to the B1G rather than the SEC East.

I often wonder if it might be sensible to somehow get MU back in our conference.

Doug Wallace 6 years, 1 month ago

I pray Pac-12 takes both Big 12 Kansas and Oklahoma teams. In addition they take Texas Tech also!

SCREW THE CORRUPT STUPID BIG 12 Time to bolt this crappy conference!

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