Blog Entry

BYU to the Big 12: Can it happen? Should it?

Posted on: September 1, 2011 2:03 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 4:55 pm
By Matt Norlander

And the carousel spins again.

With Texas A&M's departure from the league, there's a scramble to see which program can be lured to keep the Big 12 not only alive and legitimate, but prosperous and afoot in the great college football race. As of right now, it appears the Big 12 has sprained one ankle while having its other foot lopped off. There aren't many schools with real cache that can get the Big 12 vital again and would want to join. Nebraska and Texas A&M, two of the five most relevant schools in the league, have now gotten out within a year's time.

And, yes, you're reading this on a college basketball blog. Football waves the wand, but these decisions do have impact in the second largest inter-collegiate sport.

BYU seems like they might be willing to flirt. Cougs in the Big 12. Hmm. Does it work? In order for that to happen, it's going to need promises and plenty of chatter with other schools. Specifically, the Big 12 needs to accurately advertise and get a dozen teams in its conference again. That way, a conference championship game in football can be held. That's paramount. 

The funny part of this fledgling saga is how BYU is publicly acting so disturbed by having its name injected into expansion talks once again. Like the girlfriend that's cheated before and is stuck with that stigma, BYU's proven it will jump to a new conference, so it's just going to have to deal with that reputation. The school jettisoned the Mountain West last year and is currently an independent in football. All its other programs now reside in the West Coast Conference.

The Salt Lake Tribune's Jay Drew has a story out today that details BYU's ongoing disucssions with the Big 12, despite its claims to the contrary.
The Salt Lake Tribune has learned that BYU officials have had discussions with Big 12 officials within the past week regarding the school’s interest in joining the conference, and what conditions and assurances it would need to make the jump exactly a year after announcing they were breaking away from the Mountain West Conference.

It is unclear whether the talks have included an invitation from the Big 12.

A BYU source said the talks have included the school’s desire to utilize its own television network, BYUtv, in a BCS automatic-qualifying conference much as it plans to this year. The talks have also included ESPN officials and even some input from Notre Dame representatives, whom BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe has referred to as “partners” in the past year.

On the surface, if this is true, the Big 12 should probably not go to BYU's well, or at the very least look too desperate. Another school with a TV network and aspirations of separating its brand from the conference? That can't be good for league morale. BYU, a league newbie, would already have the upper hand over longtime members, even schools like Kansas, which has tremendous pull in basketball. BYU, like the Big 12, does have a deal with ESPN (who knows what kind of commitments are up in the air and how tangled that slinky is right now; that's an entirely different set of problems), so there could be arrangements negotiated there that could really hold things up.

Could it be football in the Big 12 and all other sports remain in the West Coast? A funky setup, but anything will be accommodated in the name of football. Right now, it looks like it's BYU ... then everything else. The Cougars, being independent, are on an island and the Big 12 will want to rope them in with the prospect of poaching two other schools (New Mexico? Houston? Memphis? Pulling TCU away from the Big East?) afterward.

Is the Big 12 ultimately doomed, though? Very well could be. Richard Justice's lede in his Houston Chronicle blog post today indicates he is on to something. Oklahoma can't be happy right now, and Oklahoma State should also be looking about moving West. The priorities for Big 12 officials right now need to be easing the mind of its current members while simulatenously and swiftly putting back together a league that's been waiting to buckle under its own weight for more than a year.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: September 3, 2011 4:03 am

BYU to the Big 12: Can it happen? Should it?

Specifically, the Big 12 needs to accurately advertise and get a dozen teams in its conference again. That way, a conference championship game in football can be held. That's paramount. 
This notion has been refuted by both the numbers and the coaches. See, we have been told that a championship game makes too much more money to ignore. Problem is, the Big IX have far more money this year than they had with a championship game. Not only does the Big IX usually have two teams in the BCS bowls but they also send four or five teams to the NCAA Basketball tournament. The revenue from all of this is split 12 ways. Only now it will be 9 ways and a check is far more split 9 ways without a championship game.

Also the coaches have their say and they seem to like scheduling only 8 league games in football and 16 games in basketball, leaving more room for non-conference games which are usually at home and make the school even more money.

Now, as far as BYU is concerned, the Big IX have not traditionally played league games in either football or basketball on Sundays. Are they a good fit for BYU? The recruiting-rich territory in Texas is opened up to them far better with three Texas schools playing them each year. They also would earn far more money (about $20M per year) than on their own. Finally the ground is laid for them to continue with their own network for non-broadcast games. Is this good for the Big IX? Probably it does get some exposure with Mormons around the globe but it seems unlikely to bring significantly more revenue (more than a 1/9th share.) I see no reason for the Big IX to panic. Oklahoma may decide to leave with Oklahoma State and that would likely be the end of the league. I do not see Oklahoma being satisfied with BYU as a reason to stay.

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 6:45 pm

BYU to the Big 12: Can it happen? Should it?

Some do happen on Sundays and many basketball games have happened on Sundays.

Since: Nov 15, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:53 am

BYU to the Big 12: Can it happen? Should it?

How many college football games happen on Sunday?

Since: Jun 29, 2010
Posted on: September 1, 2011 4:06 pm

BYU to the Big 12: Can it happen? Should it?

BYU will not join the Big 12 for one simple reason - Sunday.  BYU will not compete on Sunday so all sports that compete on Sunday would have to change schedules to accomadate the new guys. 

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