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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

The Big 12 minus 2

Big-12So what’s going on with the Big 12 Conference that only has ten teams?

It’s safe to say that they have fallen behind all the other major conferences, and, if they don’t do something (drastic) soon, they’re going to fall apart just like their predecessor, the Southwest Conference did;- or, as it was aptly  called, the Texas Conference plus One (Arkansas).

Seems like Texas was the major player in the assassination of the Southwest Conference back then and it began when they pushed Arkansas out of the league. Arkansas will tell anyone that is listening that leaving the SWC and being free to join the SEC was a blessing. The Hogs may not be playing well right now, but they do fit well in the Southeastern.  Then, because of the TV markets and money from the networks, UT, along with A&M (everyone has to accept their blame, Aggies!), left the SWC and joined the then Big 8 conference. Now they were covering a broader region then just the state of Texas.

But, like all predators, the thrill of that first kill went straight to their Longhorns.  Now they are hoping to relive that moment of glory and willing to destroy another conference, their own Big 12. Oddly enough, it involves TV money once again. Killers often follow one MO (modus operandi).

Texas is not the only culprit here. While the Longhorn network has forced Nebraska, Colorado, Texas LonghornsMissouri and Texas A&M to leave the conference, it can’t be all about UT. The Big 12 Commissioners have their hands in this as well. They refuse to stand up and say no to the bully, the spoiled rich kid of the conference, and because of that they’ve got an undisciplined brat running around their house with a pair of scissors, who’s not playing nice with the other kids.

Since Nebraska and Colorado left, the Big 12 asked West Virginia and TCU to join. TCU should have always been part of the Big 12, so asking them was a no-brainer. Bringing in WVU was a reach, a big reach. The Mountaineers were prime for the picking, true enough. They were a big fish in a little pond and they got started believing their own press. When they were in the Big East they were doing great! So when the Big 12 that only has ten teams came a-calling, West Virginia thought they were ready for the big time! Hasn’t panned out well. WVU is surrounded by hostiles. They have the mighty SEC to the south, the ACC to the east, (basically in their own backyard) and the Great White North Conference (Big 10) sitting on top of them. They should have joined the ACC, if they just HAD to leave the Big East, but they didn’t and have had many opportunities to rue their error.

For the Big 12 that only has ten teams, reaching almost to the Atlantic Coast (get it, the Atlantic Coast, the Atlantic Coast Conference? You don’t get it? I could explain it to you, but it involves a lot of math, and, …) was a big stretch. They need to have at least ten teams so they can fulfill their TV contract requirements but while the other conferences are getting bigger and better, the Big 12 with only ten teams, sits there by themselves and slowly sinks in their own quagmire.

If the Big 12 that only has ten teams had jumped at the chance to bring Louisville into the fold, it would have made sense and given a midpoint between the rest of the conference and WVU, but they dropped the ball on that one and let the Cardinals slip right through their fingers. Now WVU is out there all alone and they seem forgotten, isolated, an afterthought.

There aren’t any other real options east of the Mississippi River for the Big 12 that only has ten teams. No one is going to leave the SEC, that’s just not going to happen. The Great White North Conference doesn’t have any loose pieces, Notre Dame just made a halfway deal with the ACC.  The Big 12 with only ten teams probably should have tried to get the Golden Domers, but didn’t. But it’s not all the fault of the Big 12 (-2) on ND;- the Irish are way too stuck on themselves to join anybody, much less a conference where they’d have a fight on their hands every week.  

That leaves the West, and sitting by themselves, on the bleachers, waiting for someone to ask them BYUto dance, is BYU. BYU makes perfect sense. It would ease the loss of the western TV market when Colorado bailed. The Cougars are a good, hard-nosed, team, just ask Texas who got whipped by them last year. They’ve got good academics, a faithful following and a few days ago Coach Mendenhall told NBC Sports that he’d love for BYU to join the Big 12.

The addition of BYU would give the Big 12 eleven schools. They are not going to call themselves the Big 11, they’ve already proven that they have the Little Man Syndrome by saying they’re the Big 12 when they only have ten teams. So the $64 question is, who else should they invite?

The New Mexico schools are two small, they can’t raid anyone from the PAC-12, so they need to BoiseStatemake another reach, only this time to the Northwest, and bring in Boise State.  Yes, it would a long trip from Morganton to Boise, but at least they’d have another school that’s out on the fringe. Way out on the fringe. No relationship with West Virginia at all, or to Iowa State, or KU, or Oklahoma State, for that matter. BSU may not be as big as the Conference wants, but at this point the options are limited.

But the biggest question of them all will be, can the Big 12 big-wigs stand up to Texas and tell them to shut up and sit down with their other member schools while they try to expand and strengthen the conference? Or, are they going to sit at ten teams until Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, K-State and/or Baylor finally say they’ve had enough and bail. Once that happens, the rest of the conference will disintegrate, and UT will be an independent. Nobody wants the spoiled brat.

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