Nebraska Moving to the Big 10
Nebraska was the first domino in this huge trickle down effect we’re about to see. I grew up watching Nebraska football as my Dad is a diehard Cornhusker so it was disappointing knowing my Alma Mater didn’t get to beat up on them after this season, but this is a smart move and I think they fit the Big 10. Whenever you look at the Big 10 and their general style of play, it’s very defensive-minded which is perfect for the Black shirts and Coach Bo Pelini. Not only that, but Big 10 teams have a lot of tradition and prestige on their side (Michigan, Iowa, Ohio St,etc). Nebraska will fit in more with the Big 10 and will probably enjoy not having to play a dynamic spread offense every other week. The ironic thing is right now I have them as the favorites to win the Big 12 North and they are a real threat in college football this season. It would be hilarious if they won the Big 12 as a grand finale. With this move, the Big 10 now has 12 teams total and has enough to have a conference championship at the end of the season which has hurt it’s exposure in the past because of how abruptly their seasons end.
West we go!
Colorado Moving to the Pac 10, Baylor Left School Out?
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Colorado was the first to jump ship over to the Pac 10. UT, Tech, and A&M were talking about forcing Baylor as a package deal with them and with that kind of pressure Colorado would have been left out. Very smart move by them to take up the offer right away and not waste time. Now it looks like Baylor may be left out as an anonymous Big 12 coach has said on record that if Nebraska goes, the Big 12 will dissolve. The funny part about this is both teams were fighting for the right to be the bottom feeder of the new Pac 16. Colorado hasn’t had a winning season since 2005 and has done awful in the Big 12 for some time now. Baylor was on the right track and has made some progress, but has been a bottom feeder for some time now. Considering the 5 main teams from the Big 12 leaving are all bowl caliber teams, this was all about getting an invite to the party. While it’s devastating that Baylor won’t have a conference, they need to look on the bright side. They can try to join a new conference like C-USA or the Mountain West and become more competitive. They have talent (Robert Griffin), but going up against top 10 teams every other week is just brutal. A move down in difficulty could bring a nice surprise and be a positive for Baylor.
Hooray for being independent!
What About Notre Dame?
About a month ago they were originally mentioned as a team the Big 10 was talking about inviting. Haven’t heard much about them yet and they’ve been pretty quiet which I assume means that they aren’t making any major changes. Smart move in my opinion. Considering they have their own BCS Rule that guarantees them a BCS spot if they finish in the top 8, it just wouldn’t be a smart move. They also have a sweet TV deal with NBC and they really didn’t have much to benefit from joining a conference. They’ve crafted an identity by being unique and being independent so they would have to be crazy to give up their identity like that. They’ve also got several deals in place to play certain teams (most recently signed on to play Boston College for 6 more games). Notre Dame has too much to lose by joining a conference and is in a good place by being a National team that plays all over the country. Maybe if the “super conferences” continue to add or if Notre Dame loses their perks they may join, but until then there really isn’t a reason to.
Boise State to Mountain West Conference
They’re itching to get out of the WAC and I don’t blame them. Considering they’ve been a top 10 team for a few years now, it’s just not fun anymore picking on defenseless teams like San Jose St and New Mexico St who might be better served in D-1AA. After finishing undefeated yet again, they need a new challenge to up the difficulty. Boise State has been looked down on for a few years because of the lack of talent in the WAC. A move to the Mountain West would be perfect for them because they would be in a conference that actually had other top 25 talents, namely TCU, BYU, and Utah; it would also establish more credibility for the conference. However, the main question is the Mountain West willing to expand? As of right now, the Mountain West has said no to expansion talks. The presidents of the Mountain West recently voted against expanding, at least until the dust settles. I understand why they want to wait, but this is the perfect opportunity for them! They have a chance to snag a top 10 team and expand to a total of 10 teams. I just don’t see why they would want to wait and not seize the moment (Carpe Diem). If the Mountain West wants to be a legit conference, they should snatch up Boise State right away at the bare minimum.
EDIT: Murph just gave me the heads up that ESPN is confirming that Bosie State is joining the Mountain West Conference. Congratulations to Boise State, very smart move!!
Because I can
UT, Tech, A&M, OU, Oklahoma St Potentially Moving to Pac 10
I would call these 5 teams the backbone of the Big 12. Without these teams, the Big 12 just isn’t the Big 12. They’ve played some memorable games recently lately and have all been very competitive with each other for a few years now. While they may not all be direct rivals, they’ve been the top dogs in the Big 12. I can’t speak for everyone, but I always enjoy Texas Tech playing the other 4 teams year in and year out. As of right now, it’s been suggested that the Pac 10 would be broken into 2 conferences of 8 (east and west). The East would consist of the 6 Big 12 teams (UT, Tech, A&M, OU, Oklahoma St, Colorado) plus Arizona and Arizona State. The West then would consist of the remaining original Pac 10 teams (USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon St, Washington, Washington St, Cal, Stanford). Feel bad for Arizona and Arizona State; they’re fixing to be the bottom feeders with Colorado. Interestingly enough, the talk is that there wouldn’t be a conference championship game played between the two teams but the both would receive BCS bids. In essence, you could possibly have the Pac 16 championship be the National Championship Game. This also could be the beginning of the super conferences. The interesting thing is that right now fans of the Big 12 teams that are relocating don’t seem to mind. I’ve asked several and the overwhelming answer so far has been “as long as we play our rivals I don’t mind”. This was the original thought I had as well. As long as the core group of the Big 12 remains, I’m not too worried about the rest. If anything, I’m excited for the change of pace. It’s yet to be official, but this is the suggestion and the general thought on what probably will happen.
Worse vs. Worser
Kansas, K-State, Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor Left Out
In a way, I feel bad for these 5 since they’re being left out and probably have no clue what they’re going to do. They don’t have the star power to attract any major teams so the options are piece together some teams to try and reconstruct a less competitive Big 12 or dissolve and join new conferences. Like mentioned, I really can’t see who they would be able to attach. UofH, North Texas, Arkansas State? Only Houston University would be a step forward and I’m not even sure they’re willing to leave Conference USA. Most likely, the remaining teams will have to go their separate ways. The million dollar question is where? Which conferences are willing to accept these teams? Missouri is in decent shape and has had been a solid team the past few years so they should be able to jump on fairly easy. You could make a similar case for K-State and Kansas; both are decent teams and would be a huge steal for college basketball. I could see them being linked together and being a package deal. Iowa and Baylor have been terrible in football when looking at the big picture but are decent basketball schools; they’ll most likely be the hardest sells. It’s really hard to see which conferences are willing to grow. Despite previous reports, I think the Mountain West could support 12 teams (Boise St + 2 Big 12 teams). The Sun Belt is also an option if they want to expand. I could also see the Big East or C-USA trying to snag a pair of teams. The problem is that there’s no obvious answer, but I’m sure it will get worked out eventually.
Wonder if they mean Big 12 Program?
Expanding the Big 12 Also an Option
This one is hypothetical, but it’s so I can cover all the bases here. If for whatever reason the Texas schools decide that they just punked Colorado into leaving the Big 12, it’s very possible they could invite 2 teams into the conference to restore it to the full 12. The two most obvious choices are TCU and Houston. Both schools have proven to be tops in their current division and could benefit from being added to a more powerful conference. In fact, seeing TCU vs UT every year would be a huge game. It would also make both schools BCS eligible. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could move into the Big 12 North while TCU and U of H would step in for them in the Big 12 South. I really don’t think the Big 12 is around after 2010, but just wanted to through out this idea just in case they do decide to keep everything together.