Good morning! It doesn’t get much better than some expansion talk the morning after a full slate of games, does it?
Be that as it may, this latest round of expansion speculation that’s gone on for the past couple of months is not going away. And one of the schools that’s been near the center of the conversation is finally addressing just where they stand — and may end up standing — on the conference landscape. OK, they’re somewhat addressing it.
Speaking at an impromptu press conference ahead of BYU’s game with Oregon State Saturday, athletic director Tom Holmoe told members of the media that, the Salt Lake Tribune writes, “has been involved in talks with” the Big 12. While Holmoe refused to get it into specifics, he was very clear that the football independent’s relationship with the conference is solid.
“I know the Big 12 has been very good to us,” he explained. “I appreciate the way that they’ve handled it. I think they’ve learned some things about us and we’ve learned things about us.”
The school’s decision to finally address all of the speculation swirling around its conference future comes just a couple of days after reports surfaced that concerns raised by the Big 12′s television partners — ESPN and FOX — played a role in TCU receiving an invitation instead of the Cougars. As to that issue, Holmoe said he didn’t “”know the answer to that question.”
Holmoe also denied reports that BYU had received an invitation from the Big 12 and turned it down.
“Some people have stated out there that we have rejected an offer to the Big 12 Conference,” said Holmoe. “And I think, obviously if you haven’t received an offer to join, you can’t really reject that offer, so I think that that goes without saying.”
With the addition of TCU last week, the Big 12 currently stands at 10 members for the 2012 season. Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said earlier this month that the Big 12 will be a 10-team conference next year — member schools are still debating whether or not to get back to 12 schools — but such a makeup depends on Missouri. With an apparent interest in moving to the SEC, Mizzou’s departure could leave the conference with nine members and searching for a 10th for next season and beyond.
Whether or not that would be BYU remains to be seen — Louisville’s rumored to be high on the Big 12′s list should the need arise to get back to 10. One thing Holmoe’s looking to ensure, however, is that his school is not left without a seat when the latest round of conference musical chairs comes to a halt.
“It is important to know we plan on doing the very best we can for BYU,” he said. “We are very competitive. BYU has played football for a long time and been competitive and done very well. We have no intentions of not being with the big boys. We want to be able to play at the highest level and have done so for a long time. If you know coach (Bronco) Mendenhall and if you know me, you know we are going to put our boys in the best position to be as successful as they can.”