Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: 'Great' Not a Word That Fits into Big 12 Political Maneuvering

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: 'Great' Not a Word That Fits into Big 12 Political Maneuvering

Article excerpt

Apparently the Big 12 still has designs on expanding.

No waffling was reported Wednesday -- one day after an announcement the conference's board of directors had instructed commissioner Bob Bowlsby to reconnect with schools wanting to join the Power 5's most dysfunctional league.

The wannabes are so desperate to bank Power 5 revenue and prestige they worked overnight to, well, overnight any and all materials favoring their candidacies. Each sound about as appealing as Trump or Hillary.

Some may have plagiarized lines stated by Missouri back in the day. At least they should. Mizzou, remember, managed somehow to bamboozle the SEC into accepting an athletic program that is now in such disarray it lost an AD to Baylor.

Anyway, the Big 12's poorly-oiled political machine is maneuvering after the Board of Directors convened in Dallas and adopted a platform that will seemingly involve expansion.

So, what schools do you like?

Practically any of the mid-majors under consideration if you happen to root for Kansas State or Kansas in football.

More the merrier. Additional members lend the perception of greater stability. Also, the addition of mid-majors eases the competitive grind Big 12 teams now confront within a round-robin schedule.

The football played by schools presumably under consideration is not of the caliber -- at least not yet -- to routinely finish above .500 in conference play.

Memphis, Houston, Cincinnati, BYU, Boise State, South Florida, Central Florida, Connecticut, Colorado State, Tulane, Washburn (OK, the Ichabods are not under consideration) ... all are capable of playing good football. And, get this, each fields other sports.

Transitioning into the Big 12, however, will be a difficult upgrade competitively.

Houston is the trend-now darling of the bunch. Coming off a 13-1 season, which ended with a two-touchdown win over Florida State in the Peach Bowl, the Cougars are feeling their old Southwest Conference grits.

They were ranked 20th in Phil Steele's 2016 preseason poll, behind No. 16 Boise State and ahead of No. 32 South Florida, No. 39 Cincinnati and No. 45 BYU. Also, ahead of No. 48 Kansas State. Steele, the best analyst to publish an annual, capped his poll with 57 teams. Kansas was not ranked.

Assume that schools the Big 12 adds are not going to compete favorably in football against the majority of the league's established members. TCU has emerged as an exception to this theory, largely because its coach, Gary Patterson, is good enough to have a statue of himself outside the stadium gates.

One other coach in the league has been afforded that honor. Someday, Bill Snyder will retire again, creating a void that makes it difficult to predict future success at K-State. …

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