Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Can Big 12 Parlay News from Meetings?

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Can Big 12 Parlay News from Meetings?

Article excerpt

There have been many times the Big 12 has looked wobbly of late.

There was the knee-jerk reaction, specifically from commissioner Bob Bowlsby, when the league failed to get a team in the College Football Playoff in 2014. There have been the are-we/are-we-not expanding debates that have dragged on. Most recently, there was the "Baker Mayfield rule reversal over allowing walk-ons to transfer within the conference without losing a season of eligibility. "Sometimes it's amazing this conference can even agree where to meet, said Fox Sports reporter Stewart Mandel via Twitter.

It was hard to argue - until, that is, everything shook out from last week's Big 12 meetings involving the presidents and chancellors.

In sum, much good happened for the league. Finally.

First, a significant move was made when the Big 12 decided to indeed stage a football championship. Is it clunky with just 10 league members?

Of course. I've argued against the idea in the past. You'd have teams meeting twice. Also, it would undoubtedly backfire when an inferior team beats the regular season champ in the game.

But the Big 12 and Sun Belt are the only conferences not to stage such a game. There is $27-28 million to be made. Reports vary, but say the Big 12 could move from a 55 or 63 percent chance of getting in the CFP to 85 or 75, respectively, depending on sources. Also, there's no reason to get fired up about the scenario when two to four schools could still be added in a few months.

As it stands, athletic directors suggest two five-team divisions maintaining natural rivalries - with possible "re-seeding of division members over the years, according to one source. The championship would probably rotate from year to year between Fox and ESPN.

But understand expansion is still very much on the table. Reports are the league could earn $1 billion more via its television pacts by adding four teams. It's in their deals. (As an aside, that would hurt the networks' negotiations with the Big Ten.)

Those within the Big 12 circle say a more likely number is two additions, despite Texas AD Mike Perrin's statement that "the prudent thing for us to do as a conference is stay where we are. …

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