Realignment will create incredibly awkward season in 2010
With every new report that surfaces on college realignment, the Big 12 seems more and more like a ticking time bomb.
Colorado bolted to the Pac-10 on Thursday. Nebraska just left for the Big Ten on Friday.
Two down. Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State appear destined for the Pac-10 next week. Texas A&M could join them, or potentially join the SEC.
That would be seven down.
Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor are now left scrambling.
Perhaps only five still remain.
If A&M leaves for the SEC, that could open the door for Kansas to join the Pac-10/16.
Without the South schools, there's no chance the Big 12 survives.
I think an aspect that's getting buried under all the realignment rumors is that these Big 12 schools still have another year (maybe two) of competing against each other in the same conference.
Determining when schools officially leave the Big 12 is still up in the air. Reports indicate that Nebraska plans to start competition in the Big Ten by 2011. The Big 12 requests at least two years notice of a team’s intention to leave. Per Big 12 policy, Nebraska would lose 50 percent of the revenue earned during that time and could lose up to 90 percent of its revenue for giving less than two years notice.
There is one way the Huskers could escape the Big 12 without a financial penalty, however: A vote to dissolve the league.
After the remaining Big 12 schools state their intentions — say, in the next week — nine of the 12 institutions would have to vote to fold the league. If that happens, Nebraska, Colorado, et. all could start play by 2011 in another conference without penalty.
Still, I can't help but think of 2010-2011, which will be the most awkward athletic year in the history of the Big 12.
Some of these match-ups will call to mind running into an ex-girlfriend at a high school reunion. You used to be so close. Now, you just want to get through the mandatory reunion (or game) and move on.
How will the conversation play out between athletic and school administrators when Kansas University travels to Nebraska on Nov. 13, for instance?
When KU coach Turner Gill and NU coach Bo Pelini meet at midfield for a few minutes before the game, they'll probably jolly about something that has nothing to do with realignment. Since Gill's a Nebraska grad, there will be plenty of attention already on that.
But come on, here's what will come to my mind: Kansas and Nebraska have faced each other in football since the 1890s, long before these money-seeking hounds forever changed the landscape of college athletics by following lucrative television dollars.
Forget the super conferences and the future of college sports for a minute. The thought of Kansas and Nebraska not facing each other every year is uncomfortable. I can accept change, but it's difficult to throw away 100+ years of tradition overnight.
There's nothing anyone can do about it now, though.
The Jayhawks and Huskers will face each other in a conference game on Nov. 13 for the last time probably ever.
Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo
Yes, this next year is going to be awkward.
Who knows if KU, Missouri and Kansas State will end up in the same conference. If they don't, that'd be even more uncomfortable. But it seems to be every man/school for itself in this period of desperation. So yeah, if the Pac-10 makes an offer to KU, the Jayhawks should instantly accept. Even at the cost of losing century-long rivalries with K-State and Mizzou. That's the painful reality.
Adding to the awkwardness in 2010 is that a big part of college football is conference pride. Fans of Alabama, Florida and LSU have chanted "SEC....SEC" the past three years after winning the BCS Championship.
Next year, there's a good chance a Big 12 school (Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska) will have a chance to represent the conference in the BCS Championship. A Big 12 school has made an appearance in the BCS Championship in five of the past seven years.
If a Big 12 school wins it all next year, what's the chant to signify conference pride and give some of the SEC its own medicine...Pac-16? Big Ten? Can't be Big 12 if the league crumbles by next week.
Hopefully, the Jayhawks find a BCS conference next week or sooner.
That should be all for now, friends. As always, discuss.