When Ben noted over the weekend that one unnamed member of the Big 12 was pushing hard against expanding the conference, it didn’t exactly take a rocket surgeon to deduce just who that unnamed member might be.
Thanks to DeLoss Dodds, we now have further evidence that Texas simply doesn’t want to mess with expansion.
In a conversation with Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, the
Big 12 commissioner UT athletic director confirmed that, yes, he really doesn’t feel the need to add members to the Big 12’s current roll.
“I don’t think it needs to expand,” Dodds told the website. “It certainly can expand because there will be people that will want to be a part of it. That’s another good thing. …
“We could expand to some number. You name the number — 12, 14, 16. We could expand but the question is ‘do we need to expand?’ In my mind 10 is perfect because you play everybody in football and there is a double-round-robin in basketball.”
One of the “negatives” when it comes to a 10-school conference is that it can’t hold a league championship game and thus loses out on revenue most other leagues receive. According to Dodds, and with a four-team playoff system looming not too far off on the horizon, the size of his school’s conference and the lack of a title game will actually serve as an advantage for the Big 12.
“When we get into whatever system we get in for a championship, I think those coaches that play in a conference championship are going to say ‘What in the world are we doing?'” Dodds asked rhetorically.
Of course, Dodds is referring to a high-ranked team from Conference X losing in a league title game to a lower-ranked opponent, thus potentially costing that conference a spot in what will be a very limited playoff field.
Dodds’ comments on expansion come a couple of weeks after a high-ranking Florida State official very publicly stated that the school should listen to overtures from the Big 12. The AD attempted to tap the brakes on such speculation in the days after those comments from FSU’s board chairman, saying that the Seminoles are a long ways away in both distance and prospects of joining the conference.
Dodds also allowed that the Big 12 has held conversations with Notre Dame the past two years about housing the Irish’s Olympic sports — “They could put some football here,” Dodds added for ominous effect — as well as stating that he would be fine with a four-team playoff that consisted of the four highest-ranked teams or the four highest-ranked conference champions.
Interestingly, the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and, today, the Big East have all come out in favor of the conference champs model, leaving the SEC as the lone member of “The Big Six” publicly in favor of taking the four highest-ranked teams regardless of their standing as conference — or divisional — champs. That 4-1 tally is, of course, pending an official, non-Texas stance on the part of the Big 12.
In the end, that — not the threat of expansion — might be the biggest piece news to emerge the past week or two, not only for the impact it would have on how a playoff field is filled, but for what it could do to a certain football program’s very staunch, pro-independent stance on conference affiliation.