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For the love of college football, stick together, Big 12

big 12

For two summers, it’s been the same story: the Big 12 was dead before it wasn’t.

For two summers, in the eleventh hour, action was taken to keep Texas and Oklahoma from going west to the Pacific. And, for two summers, the rest of the college football world held its breath while it all transpired.

Thank goodness we were able to exhale when we did. I think I was starting to lose consciousness.

Although it’s nowhere safe to go back into the water yet — this round of conference realignment is far from over — it feels good that we can return to some sanity for a few hours. I don’t know if that was going through the minds of Pac-12 university presidents and chancellors when they unanimously decided to keep the conference as is, but I am sure it’s a pleasant calm in otherwise stormy seas.

Enjoy it while it lasts. Bask in the warmth that, for once, it wasn’t all about the money or the media footprint. If it truly was, Pac- 12 commissioner Larry Scott would have forced the Longhorn Network down the throats of his residents like Robitussin just as he would have welcomed suddenly temperamental Oklahoma.

Sometimes, we learn the most about how to improve ourselves by not getting what we want. We still don’t know for a fact that Oklahoma wanted to go to the Pac-12, although we can connect the dots, but the Sooners might be better off for getting a prompt rejection.

Maybe Texas was served right to be told their network baggage was too much to handle.

Pretty girls need to be knocked down a peg or two, ya know.

The Pac-12 showed it wasn’t all about ego. Texas and Oklahoma may have received the memo.

A Big 12 source has told the Associated Press that officials from Texas and Oklahoma plan to meet in the next few days to outline a plan that would keep the two in the Big 12 for the next five years. Considering the Longhorns and the Sooners hold the key to the Big 12’s future, such an agreement would be refreshing in a time where more has been communicated over the phone than face-to-face, eye-to-eye.

If UT and OU can agree to stay in the Big 12, the next step is for the Big 12 employ equal revenue sharing. Adjust the bylaws; gather the lawyers; do whatever it takes to make sure everyone from Texas to Iowa State gets an equal cut of the pie.

I’ve never been a huge supporter of equal revenue sharing because I don’t think schools and athletic programs are created equal. If Oklahoma goes to a BCS bowl four out of every five years, it makes zero sense to me to give Kansas an equal cut of conference payout.

But, these are difficult times that call for sobering adjustments. It’s no coincidence that the three most powerful and stable conferences in the country — the SEC, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten — share revenue equally.

It also helps they have three of the largest TV contracts.

Third, the Big 12 needs to go in a new direction once Dan Beebe’s new contract extension ends, not solely because of Oklahoma’s demands, but because everyone in the conference needs a change. Last month, I said Beebe did a good job holding the Big 12 together last summer. I may have *mumblemumblemumble* little misguided *mumblemumblemumble* sorry *mumblemumblemumble*. 

It’s tough to change old habits, and Beebe catered to Texas last summer, plain and simple. We’ve seen very clearly that’s no way to keep the Big 12 together.

But to keep college football from spiraling further into nonsense, the Big 12 needs to stick together. It may not keep some conference shifting from happening — the Big 12 might even be the one who expands — but the whole four 16-team superconference hellraiser has in no way been good for college football.

Unless, of course, someone can explain how breaking rivalries and using media markets as a benchmark for admittance are the bees knees. In that case, I’m all ears.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like that. The likes of Oklahoma and Texas have recently used their brands and successes for their own benefit; they have the chance to use it for the good of the game.

Now there’s power anyone should want.

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21 Responses to “For the love of college football, stick together, Big 12”
  1. pckj78 says: Sep 21, 2011 4:25 AM

    I hope they stick together. With Texas A&M possibly leaving I think getting TCU to keep four Texas schools together would be good along with the additions of Louisville & West Virginia. The Big 12 will remain on solid ground & if they ever expand further I would hope they consider looking into Cincinnati & Memphis because that would help bolster Big 12 basketball an fill in the eastern gaps with some nice rival ties.

  2. tomosbornesretirementcostjoepaatitle says: Sep 21, 2011 6:19 AM

    You know what else is bad for CFB, the BCS.

  3. canetic says: Sep 21, 2011 7:01 AM

    They don’t care about what is “good” for college football. They only care about themselves and money.

  4. chmba says: Sep 21, 2011 7:12 AM

    The Big 12 schools :(Texas and the 9, soon to be 8 lapdogs) will never have stability as long as Texas is motivated by such greed and arrogance and remains in the conference. Read the Pac-12 rejection – we don’t want Texas! Texas is the Terrell Owens of Conferences – its all about me and I don’t want to contribute anything to the conference success. OU should have been looking at more than Pac-12 plus is saddled with OK State which is weak both academically and athletically over the long haul.

    Beebe is a corrupt fool beholden to Texas and cares nothing about a successful conference other than getting a paycheck for he and his henchmen. OU, etc. are getting just what they deserve in keeping him in before. Certainly Nebraska and possibly Colorado would not have gone looking were it not for the conference office foolishness and ineptness.

  5. dickroy says: Sep 21, 2011 7:34 AM

    For the love of college football, get rid of the BCS!

  6. boomerdt says: Sep 21, 2011 7:44 AM

    This sucks. The Big 12.. I mean 9… is the largest killer of tradition there is. Beebe is an idiot (has been for a decade now) and what good is keeping a conference together with A&M gone and **rumors** mizzou is following?

    I’m just tired of the crap. As an OU fan I have 4 good games this year…. texas, oklahoma state, texas a&m, and florida state…. out of 12 games there are 4 that mean something. -sad-

  7. mithrilsoul says: Sep 21, 2011 8:00 AM

    Although I don’t directly have a horse in this race (not a fan/alumnus of any of the B12 teams), I would ask the author of this article two questions:

    1. Exactly how/why is preserving the B12 “good for college football”? That seems to be taken as a given–that any solution moving forward with a B12 is necessarily better than a solution without a B12–but given the fact that 90% of the angst in college football over the last several years has been an unstable B12, I don’t think the premise holds any longer that “stability in college football” = “having the B12 exist.” In fact, if anything, the opposite is true.

    2. It also seems that your whole argument for sanity in the B12 is dependent upon Texas suddenly having a complete change of heart and agreeing to equal revenue sharing. If they wouldn’t agree to that to join the B10 last year, and wouldn’t agree to that to join the Pac-12 this year (both options which would have resulted in a massively larger payout than the current situation with the B12)…what makes you think they will suddenly have a massive change of heart and agree to equal revenue sharing within the B12 now? I suppose all things are *possible*, but there is essentially zero precedent to support that assertion.

    Even if somehow Texas & OU can work out some band-aid to hold together the B12 for another year or two, does anyone seriously believe that there is any long-term stability in that conference? You can try to duct tape the B12 together all you want, but I think the reality is, as long as the B12 exists, there will NOT be stability and sanity in college football. As a fan of the sport, I want stability.

    For love of the game, put this thing called the B12 out of its misery once and for all, reshuffle the college landscape, and maybe then we can have some stability that will last more than 12 months at a time.

  8. Armada says: Sep 21, 2011 8:46 AM

    As a fan and alum of KU, I obviously know that keeping the Big XII together is the best option for my school.

    However with that said, the best way to rid this Earth of the evil that is the BCS and move toward a playoff would be to in fact see four 16 team super conferences.

    The BCS is all about greed… something most of us have known for years but was further exposed in this months HBO Real Sports piece.

    The Bowls, the Sponsors, the fat cats making millions all need to go!

  9. mhalt99 says: Sep 21, 2011 9:13 AM

    Glad college football is still all about education and the STUDENT-Athlete. Glad that universities, especially ones with public funding aren’t overcharging students for useless degrees. Glad that the core mission of education is still the number one priority.

  10. freidasboss says: Sep 21, 2011 9:14 AM

    I think Beebe is a snake oil salesman. I don’t see how he is the commissioner of the Big 12. I bet Beebe, called Scott and said this,” If you take Texas and OU , I will go back to being a investigator for the NCAA and, I will come after every team in the Pac-16…..

    Dude has to go…

  11. TxGrown says: Sep 21, 2011 9:32 AM

    Act I…
    Beebe will be gone…
    OU & Texas stay…
    Texas will share…(though grudgingly)
    Exit stage left…
    Curtain falls…

    Act II…
    One year later…
    There is trouble in the land…

  12. says: Sep 21, 2011 9:45 AM

    Why do people hate the Big 12 so much? Is just a fly-over country thing?

    As Ben mentioned the Big 12 staying together is better for everyone in College Football. This sport was built on regional rivalries and 4 16 team Super Conferences destroys a lot of that.

    The reason Texas will change it’s ways? Because other conferences have made it clear that their behavior is unacceptable at their house. And it’s main rival in it’s own house has finaly stood up and said that their behavior is unacceptable in their house too. Straighten up and fly right, or you’re going Indy. And from what I’ve read I get the sense Texas doesn’t want to do that.

    If the Big 12 does survive it won’t be because it’s held together by a band-aid. It will because there was systemetic changes in the conference structure and leadership.

    I would love to see an old Big 8 guy like Joe Castiglione be the interim commissioner for a few years. Rebuild the marriage, and then dominate as a conference.

  13. bender4700 says: Sep 21, 2011 9:53 AM

    Sorry Ben, but your article should be:

    “For the love of College Football, just dissolve already”.

    OU and UT stay and it’s a marriage held together with scotch tape.

    Revenue sharing should be changed, but it’s not the cause of the problems.

    The problems start with Texas. Compare it to Star Wars. Senator Palpatine set into motion plans and actions that eventually allowed him to become Emperor. While Texas may not have planned this years ago, it certainly has come down to Texas pretty much dictating everything, and OU being reluctant to get out. Texas is in charge. Whether or not they planned that? Who knows, I doubt it. They needed a home, and found one with the Big Eight. They have pushed themselves very hard to the front of the line, as they should have.

    They can fire Dan Beebe. They can change revenue sharing. They can restrict Texas and their LHN. But it will not add stability, or make the Big 12(8) any stronger. You can’t lose 4 of your top programs and be stronger. Fox will certainly restructure their deal, losing the Houston market, and KC/St Louis market is far from acceptable to a major network.

    The smaller teams in the Big 12(8) will revert back to the old Big Eight days. Every so often Iowa State will knock off OU or Texas, but chances are they’ll get 4 automatic losses every year. Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech have too much money spent, they will just battle each other for the conference title. Iowa State, K-State, Kansas, and Baylor will never see conference titles. The Big Eight stopped working because OU and Neb were just too strong. Nebraska won HALF of the Big Eight titles over the last 4 decades. HALF.

    The Big XII(8) was jammed together, and this is what you get. The Big Ten functions because they’ve built a foundation. They only let in who they feel are worthy. Nebraska got in after many times of asking. The Big Ten rejected them a few times, Nebraska rejected them a few times as well. Last year was the right time for Nebraska to join.

    There’s no way any college football fan feels an 8 team league, with 1 or 2 teams having so much power is a healthy and stable conference.

    The only solution is to add Notre Dame, BYU, Boise State, and Houston. They’d bring in 2 power house old school teams, a new school strong football program, and an old school average team who’s been winning lately.

    They do that, they bring in the BYU family, bring back the Houston market, the Boise State new following, and then the big fish in ND.

    Then, just maybe, if they do equal revenue, let Dan Beebe go, and structure the conference in an “all-for-one” mold, they’d survive.

    The chances of that scenario playing out:
    As much as the jerks in Washington getting past their differences and solving America’s problems.

  14. artisan3m says: Sep 21, 2011 10:00 AM

    If any of the major players in the Big-12 were really serious about the conference surviving, we would see a few overtures being extended to replacement schools for Nebraska, Colorado, and Texas A&M. Have you heard of any? I haven’t. That may be the loudest message of all. The conference cannot survive on attrition and should Mizoo follow rumors and bolt, it will be down to the minimum eight teams the NCAA will sanction as a conference. There are some fairly potent programs out there that might be enticed to join a major conference with an automatic BCS bid. This is what Commissioner Bebee should be focusing on instead of trying to referee a food fight between member schools. That might save the conference ~ and his job, although the former is significantly more important than the latter.

  15. blakebuchanan87 says: Sep 21, 2011 10:28 AM

    Just out of curiosity, how come none of the people calling for the Big XII to expand adding TCU, Louisville, and WVU want a team like USF? Wholeheartedly against adding an up-and-coming program that would get you exposure in Florida’s fertile recruiting grounds?

  16. Deb says: Sep 21, 2011 10:42 AM

    Good article, Ben. But let my people go (A&M). And muzzle Baylor. Or kick them out and find a stronger replacement.

    artisan3m is right. If they want to save the Big12, they have to replace the schools they’ve lost (Boise?) and the promise of revenue-sharing would be a strong lure. I like revenue-sharing. It built the modern NFL. And it’s made the SEC, Big 10, and Pac-12 quite profitable. There is something to be said for working toward the common good. Obviously working solely in their own selfish interests hasn’t been too productive for Texas lately.

  17. centexhorn says: Sep 21, 2011 10:53 AM

    The Big 12 is only worth keeping together if Texas A&M is forced to stay.

    I’m pissed. WTF is this shit? The Big 12 minus two of its top programs? It’s weak as hell!

  18. Deb says: Sep 21, 2011 12:48 PM

    centexhorn says:

    The Big 12 is only worth keeping together if Texas A&M is forced to stay.
    That ship has sailed, but you may be able to salvage Mizzou. Beebe should have started working on saving his conference after losing Colorado and Nebraska. I don’t care how many schools originally endorsed him, he’s an incompetent commissioner and needs to be replaced immediately for someone whose head isn’t up his backside and whose backbone isn’t made of rubber.

    The Big 12 can be rebuilt–bigger and stronger–if they stop letting the idiots run the asylum. That means getting rid of Beebe, muzzling Ken Starr, letting A&M go, adopting revenue-sharing, and bringing in some strong programs that will infuse the conference with new excitement. I’m serious about Boise State. They want credibility. Playing in the same conference with Texas and Oklahoma would give it to them. Personally, I don’t think they have the guts. But let them put their schedule where their big mouths are.

    Oh, and if you let them in, make them play on a real field and not the deserted set from Finding Nemo.

  19. Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale says: Sep 21, 2011 12:54 PM

    This makes no sense. Hasn’t the Big 12 already approved The Longhorn Network to exist? Isn’t that the main reason Texas stayed in the Big 12 last year?

    So let me get this straight, in order for the Big 12 to survive, Texas needs to voluntarily make concessions on a network the conference already approved of a year ago?

    This is why the Big 12 will continue to be in danger of imploding, and will lack long-term stability. We haven’t heard the last of this.

  20. says: Sep 21, 2011 1:06 PM

    This is why the Big 12 will continue to be in danger of imploding, and will lack long-term stability.
    Right, If…if Texas and OU agree to be in the Big 12 (or whatever it’s called) Dan Beebe needs to go and changes need to be made within the structure of the conference.

    I would take South Florida in the Big 12, if USF wants to travel that far.

    However, the Big 12 shouldn’t be talking about expansion until they get their internal affairs in order. You don’t invite your cousin to come live with you if you and your spouse just got back together.

  21. blakebuchanan87 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:51 PM

    USF already travels plenty for all of its away in-conference games (with the closest opponent being Louisville). I don’t think travel would be an issue for USF going forward into the Big 12.

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