Big 12 review, week 3: The realignment circus continues


In trying to keep up with college football realignment, a few questions have repeatedly crept into my mind during this time of anxiety and uncertainty.

How exactly did we get to this point in the first place? Did Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe destroy the league by allowing for the creation of the Longhorn Network? Would Nebraska (Big Ten), Colorado (Pac-12) and Texas A&M (SEC, eventually) have stayed in the conference if the Longhorn Network would have never been rolled out?

It just seems odd the ACC — a mediocre football league at best — is adding teams (Pittsburgh, Syrcause), while the Big 12 can't seem to add anyone and may be on the brink of extinction. Is the trust among Big 12 schools really that bad?

If conference realignment is all about football, something is off here. The Big 12 flaunts three teams ranked in the top 10 of the latest Associated Press poll, including Oklahoma, the No. 1 team in the country. And yet, the conference may be forced to take the Big 12 leftovers (Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State) and merge with Big East leftovers (TCU, South Florida, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, Connecticut). That's 12 teams, but who knows if any of those 12 will explore other options, should the opportunity present itself. Most likely.

Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are expected to explore the option of jumping to the Pac-12.

It was a bittersweet feeling this weekend watching top-ranked Oklahoma take down No. 5 Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla. On one hand, it was a great victory for the Big 12, and further paved the way for OU potentially running the table and playing for a BCS Championship. On the other hand, though, does anyone have conference pride anymore, with all this realignment stuff going on?

I want to see what happens if Oklahoma wins it all this season. I get the sense it would feel like the Pac-12 (or wherever OU lands) would be winning the title, not the Big 12.

To me, the fans don't gain anything from this mess. Traditional rivalries are lost to forced, start-up, exhibition-type atmospheres, and the geography of these 16-team super conferences makes absolutely no sense.

Let's say I'm an Oklahoma State fan, for instance, and the Cowboys eventually jump with OU, UT and TTU to the Pac-12. You're telling me in this time of economic difficulty, that in order to watch my team play on the road, I'd have to make trips to (not for sure, but just for grins) Pullman, Wash. (Washington State) and Salt Lake City (Utah)? No chance I'm spending my hard-earned money on those expensive trips.

The fans are getting hosed the most in these realignment developments. While these institutions look to join a league in which they turn the most profit, the fans are left with no control, having to sit back and take it. Will Kansas fans really get excited about facing Rutgers, in the event of a Big 12-Big East merger, to the point where they'd fly to the East Coast? That's not exactly easy on the wallet. For a series that has zero history? No thanks.

This whole thing has the feeling of the 'Back to the Future 2' alternate, gloomy, dark universe where Biff Tannen is running the town and chaos, deceit and crime run rampant with no regard to moral decency or common sense.

I completed my third week of picking every Big 12 football game, straight up and against the spread. The results, from week 3:

Straight up: 9-1
vs. spread: 5-3
Season, straight up: 21-4
Season, vs. spread: 11-8

Thanks, Iowa State, for messing up my perfect week of straight-up predictions. I have to give the Cyclones credit, though. They are easily the surprise team in the Big 12 to date, with mammoth victories over Iowa and Connecticut, and sit atop the league at 3-0. No coach gets more out of his players on the field than ISU coach Paul Rhoads.

Some statistical juggernauts from the previous weekend: Let's start with Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege, who completed 40 of 44 passes for 401 yards and five scores in a 59-13 victory over New Mexico. Hello. Second on the list is Missouri running back Henry Josey, who ran wild for 263 yards and three scores — on only 14 carries. That's an absurd 18.8 yards per carry, as MU steamrolled Western Illinois, 69-0.

Player of the week: Josey, Missouri. Even more ridiculous about his 263-yard rushing performance is that it all came in the first half.

For no exact reason, I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. on Saturday night/Sunday morning watching the Oklahoma State-Tulsa game. Anyone else make it? I figured I was witnessing some sort of history with the game kicking off just after midnight because of lightning in the Tulsa area. It helped that I work nights and am used to staying up, but I think that's the first time I've ever left work and been able to watch nearly an entire live Big 12 game on TV. OSU won, 59-33.

The following is the latest edition of the Sorrentino Scale. The number in parentheses is what the team was ranked last week:

1 (1). Oklahoma (2-0): Florida State checked off list; interesting early-season matchup vs. Missouri looms.
2 (2). Oklahoma State (3-0): Huge game up next at Texas A&M.
3 (3). Texas A&M (2-0): Big early test against OSU to see who has best chance of challenging OU for conference crown.
4 (4). Baylor (2-0): Another Robert Griffin clinic (20-22, 265 yards, 3 TDs; 78 additional rushing yards) against Stephen F. Austin.
5 (5). Texas (3-0): Longhorns seemed to find their QB in Colt McCoy's younger brother, Case (12-15, 168 yards, 2 TDs in UT's 49-20 drubbing of UCLA in Pasadena, Calif.).
6 (7). Iowa State (3-0): Cyclones have built up quite the resume already.
7 (6). Missouri (2-1): Tigers continue brutal, front-heavy schedule with trip to OU next weekend.
8 (9). Texas Tech (2-0): New Mexico still wondering where Seth Doege will throw the ball next.
9 (10). Kansas State (2-0): Wildcats rebound from ugly week 1, drill Kent State, 37-0. Tough road test at Miami (Fla.) awaits next weekend.
10 (8). Kansas (2-1): Jayhawks back in cellar after surrendering 768 total yards of offense in 66-24 loss at Georgia Tech.

That should be all for now, friends. As always, discuss.


Janet Scott 10 years, 9 months ago

Beebe has been most unimpressive from the start. If he held responsibilities in the American corporate world commensurate with those he currently holds in the now Bygone 12, noting his sheer lack of performance, he would have been fired long ago.

KU is in a tough spot, and I must say Bernie and Z have shown no leadership in this whole matter. Indecisiveness and inaction, coupled with zero risk taking, equates to poor outcomes. And such defines BGL and Z. Waiting around and waiting for others to act, before you do, is a recipe for disaster and disappointment. BGL and Z could have at the minimum projected themselves into the public arena of debate, even if they said nothing other than PC non-sense. Nope, they wait, and they still wait. No word; no leadership. Nothing. If KU ends up on the leftover menu, both Bernie and Z should be fired immediately.

By the way, where are Kansas’ two comatose US Senators, Roberts and Moran? Both are living corpses. With Kansas’ two flagship universities on the ropes and on the cusp of oblivion, they say nothing. Nothing. Wonderful, just wonderful; they’re great representatives of the Sunflower State. Santa Claus and Pee Wee Herman would be better State of Kansas reps.

KUbsee69 10 years, 9 months ago

OK ... show me some quotes from Cornyn, Hutchison, Corburn, Inhofe, Blunt, or McCaskill concerning conference realignment. This is not a national political issue and shouldn't be.

klineisanazi 10 years, 9 months ago

By suggesting Beebe "allowed" the Longhorn Network, you suggest he had the power to stop it. He is not the commissioner of baseball. The lack of trust between Texas and everyone else is the source of the problem. Had this conference put everyone on an equal footing from the beginning, it would be thriving now and maybe poaching schools from other conferences.

MoneyCounter 10 years, 9 months ago

Had the conference put everyone on an equal footing, the Big 12 would have died last year. Equal shares are not some sort of magic.

The only way you could possibly stop Oklahoma/Texas/A&M from leaving the Big 12 in the long run is to pay them the cash they'd get in the Pac or SEC. But the Big 12 doesn't have the TV markets to give ten or twelve teams Pac/SEC money. So an uneven distribution deal was struck, and you'll notice A&M didn't ever come out and offer to give up some of its guaranteed $20 million to Baylor or Iowa State or Kansas State in the name of equity. "Equity" only showed up in the Aggies' vocabulary when it pinched them in the form of the Longhorn Network, and when they say it it only means "NOT FAIR! We should get whatever t.u. gets!"

Angus0199 10 years, 9 months ago

Yea, Roberts isn't from KS though. I think we end up in the B10 when it's said and done. Eric has a point, but left out one as well.

1 traveling 1/2 way across the country for games isn't going to be easy at all. Can you think of the flights to the coasts? nightmare.

2 All of the secondary sports having to travel for their non-revenue producing sports.

kureader 10 years, 9 months ago

NJ, I agree with you about Beebe. And, we are in a tough spot. Additionally, BGL doesn't exude any confidence as a leader. She couldn't even step into the daylight to announce Perkins' departure ... she had Self announce his own boss's resignation. She may have good academic qualifications, but she looks like a deer in the headlights every time she faces the media to discuss athletics.

Having said that, BGL and Zenger don't owe you and me a play by play. They're keeping quiet, and they should. This doesn't mean they're not providing leadership. The problem is ... this is a poker game, and it's not our turn to play. There's a pecking order here. We're the female in this relationship with Oklahoma and Texas ... that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

I don't know Zenger, but I have met him. I know he is working hard and that he's frustrated. His future (and that of KU athletics) rests somewhat in the hands of blowhards from both Oklahoma and Texas who love to see their name in print.

I think KU will land on its feet. There was an earlier article today in the NY Post that reviewed the "attractiveness" of many NCAA football programs in terms of their fan base. It was very interesting. If you haven't seen it, you should try to find it.

Go Hawks.

tahawk81 10 years, 9 months ago

Our only chance is the sec or big 10 get desperate to expand and we are one of the best options remaining. Big 12/East merger would be awful IMO. How good of a tv deal do you really think we could get?? The conference would fade into nothing while the 4 super conferences got better. You think it's hard to build a football team now, wait till we get stuck in a second rate league. Frustrated the we are going to end up in " the left overs" and there isnt a thing we can do about it. We are screwed. And to all the Perkin's haters, who would you rather have at the helm right now, a proven veteran and zenger. This is no time for rookies, this will shape ku athletics for years.

MoneyCounter 10 years, 9 months ago

B1G doesn't have a whole lot of choices to pick from if it's attempting anything simultaneously credible in sports, academics/AAU, and not geographically ludicrous.

Pitt just went ACC, and the ACC added a $20 million exit fee. Now, the B1G might manage to grab an ACC team or two anyway. But assuming the ACC is off the table, then there are really five teams that potentially fit the B1G: Syracuse, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Kansas, and Missouri. Rutgers is already being speculated about for ACC. That would leave four, and twelve plus four equals sixteen.

kureader 10 years, 9 months ago

Actually, Syracuse is now with the ACC too.

tahawk81 10 years, 9 months ago

This is a good point and something I have thought of. Let assume ND goes to B1G and WV goes SEC. And let's also assume (maybe in the next yr or 2) both conf want to get to 16 teams. B1G would need to add 3 and sec would need 2. Assuming no one in a " super conference" would defect, whose left? MU would be good fit at either place. But I can't think of any other team that would fit at B1G better than us. I guess I am trying to say for either conf to hit the 16 team mark, I think we enter the discussion by default. Alot of assumptions here but could get us out of the crap conference we are about to know as the Big12/East.

louisvillejayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I agree that something bold need to be done and we should be proactive rather than reactive. I would propose to OK and TX that we create a 16 team league composed of the 9 remaining big 12 teams with the 7 remaining members of the Big East to become the 1st 16 team Super Conference. It preserves many of the existing rivalries, expands the geographic footprint for $, still enables the fan base to travel the the majority of the games close the their home school by splitting the conference into four pods. Texas Schools (TU, TT, Baylor, TCU) West (OK, OK St, K St, IA St), East (Rutger, WVU, UCONN, S FL) Midwest (KS, MO, Louisville, Cinn). Good Basketball, Good Football. OK and TX get less challenging roads to BCS games than joining SEC, PAC, etc enabling better chance of winning NC. Propose that Texas keeps proceeds to of network but for every $1 of network revenue lowers TX allocation of Big 16 revenue by $0.50 so everyone gains from TX network but not as much as TX gains. Other teams has option of pursuing similar deal for themselves if there is demand. This is the framework but I acknowledges leaves lots of ?'s and details to be resolved .

1timbob 10 years, 9 months ago

louisvillejayhawk that is the dumbest thing i've ever heard. If ku doesn't get into a major conference they are F* and I'm not looking forward to ku vs cinn,smu,rice,isu,ksu,mu,ru,s.fl everygame. Screw basketball nobody cares this is america and it's about football. You wanna be like Memphis? I don't

actorman 10 years, 9 months ago

Love your line about Back to the Future 2, Eric. Best line I've read about all this realignment crap. It's an awfully scary time to be a Jayhawk fan.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

You can blame just ONE school for all of this current freaking mess:

NOTRE f-ing DAME!!!

If they'd joined either the Big East (or more likely the B1G whatever) then they'd had their 12th school and title game.

If they hadn't been allowed by the NCAA to negotiate their own TV deal with NBC, then maybe Texas wouldn't have had the idea to try the same with ESPN

Go find a copy of "The 50-year Seduction" about the changing relationship between college football and television revenue (I can loan you my copy if you can't - in fact, I'll drop it off at the LJW offices this weekend)

Norte Dame screwed over everyone on a deal, after their past school president (and a priest) pulled the wool over on everyone.

One school, one stinking arrogant school could've prevent all this ...

The one thing that made college football better than the NFL evaporated - all in the name of greed. :(

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