Just as Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds hinted at last week, Big 12 AD’s are set to meet today and tomorrow to discuss what will likely be some form of continuation of the stability teleconference Big 12 officials partook in last week.
With new interim commissioner Chuck Neinas in full-fledged consultant mode and Texas A&M officially a member of the SEC, the Big 12 still has to sort out two major issues: revenue distribution and membership.
How the conference will decide to divvy up the first and second-tier revenue streams from ABC/ESPN and FOX is still a point of concern; the press conference disconnect between Missouri and Oklahoma last week over the six-year grant of TV rights to the conference was hardly a confidence booster for Big 12 survival.
As we touched on yesterday, that revenue-sharing disconnect may have traced back to last spring when Texas, A&M and Oklahoma reportedly shot down the idea of granting first and second-tier TV rights to the conference.
In regards to membership, the Big 12 will need at least 10 members to avoid any financial penalties with the upcoming Big 12 Network, and to continue as a viable product for their TV rights distributors. Who that 10th member will be — Air Force, BYU, Louisville, TCU and West Virginia have all been mentioned by Big 12 officials or by way of the rumor mill — is still unclear.
Equally uncertain is whether Missouri will be a member of the Big 12 at all when they do expand. Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com tweets that the Big 12 is still waiting on a commitment from Mizzou even as the meetings get underway. The rumor mill has been churning for the past couple of weeks about a possible move by Mizzou to the SEC. SEC commissioner Mike Slive has stated that the conference is satisfied at 13 members, although it’s thought that both parties were engaged in some form of back channel discussions over possible membership.
Hopefully, we’ll get some sense of which way Missouri is leaning as these meetings get underway. Right now, though, the Tigers are a wild card.
Neinas was prepared to make a stop in College Station to visit with A&M just before the Aggies left for the SEC. He might want to push his trip to Columbia forward to as soon as possible.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.
“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”
That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.
In the midst of what could be a dream season in South Philadelphia, the Temple Owls announced a rare sellout for a football game this afternoon. The October 31 game at home against Notre Dame has sold out Lincoln Financial Field. This is the first time Temple has sold out two home games in the same season since 1976, when the Owls began playing home games in one of Philadelphia’s pro sports stadiums.
This is the second sellout of the season for Temple, but it is also worth mentioning who the opponents are for those two games; Penn State and Notre Dame. Penn State is always Temple’s biggest draw when they get a chance to host the Nittany Lions and their legions of fans in and around the Delaware Valley. Temple dominated Penn State in the season opener, snapping a long losing streak against the in-state power. Notre Dame is also a big draw everywhere the Irish go, and there is a solid fanbase in the southeastern part of Philadelphia as well.
It is also a rare trip to Philadelphia for Notre Dame. The Irish last played in Philadelphia in 1993 when they faced Navy in Veterans Stadium. Navy also hosted Notre Dame in Philadelphia in 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. Notre Dame and Temple have never played in Philadelphia, although they did face each other in the 2013 season opener. This year’s game is the second game of a home-and-home series.
The game could potentially prove to play a key role in the evolving College Football Playoff and Group of Five conversation as well. If Temple avoids slipping up this week against UCF and next week at East Carolina and USC holds off USC, then we could have an undefeated and top 25 Temple program hosting a top 15 or even potential top 10 Notre Dame on Halloween. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here, but that could be a very attractive matchup worth paying attention to at the end of the month for many fanbases.