Iowa State Cyclones

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Wide receiver Melquise Stovall #1 of the California Golden Bears scores a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns in the first half on September 17, 2016 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California.  Cal won 50-43.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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Poll numbers confirm a nightmarish start for the Big 12

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There was a never-before-seen oddity in today’s AP poll, though you are forgiven if it slipped by you unnoticed.

Just three Big 12 teams dotted the poll: No. 16 Baylor, No. 21 Texas and No. 25 Oklahoma. Which means, for the first time in the league’s 21-year history, not a single Big 12 team qualified for the AP’s top 15.

Saturday’s twin losses by Oklahoma (to Ohio State) and Texas (to Cal) likely doomed the Big 12 to its second CFP-free postseason in just the third year of the system.

Eliminating leagues entirely this early in the season is asking for trouble — recall what you thought of Ohio State’s title chances after that home loss to Virginia Tech in September of ’14 — but the Big 12’s seem safe considering the conference has accomplished next to nothing in non-conference play. Texas’s win over Notre Dame has aged like a forgotten cup of milk, and the league’s second-best win is… Oklahoma State over Pittsburgh? West Virginia over Missouri?

The most memorable moment of September has been Oklahoma State’s unjust loss to Central Michigan. (Which, oddly, has kept the Pokes out of the rankings even after Saturday’s win over Pittsburgh.)

Overall, the Big 12 is 3-10 against the Power 5, the American and the MAC and 16-12 against the rest of college football. That includes the FCS.

An empty non-conference season is bad enough, but it builds into the league’s inherent problem: its 9-game, round-robin schedule without a championship game was built for the bowl-and-poll era, not the Playoff. Heading into its sixth season of existence, no team has run through the 9-game gauntlet unbeaten.

With no title game to serve as a punctuator and no good non-conference wins to look back upon, the Big 12 champion — whoever it is — may have a tough time arguing for one of the final four spots.

Iowa State student government passes resolution against BYU joining the Big 12

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 03:  Defensive back Dayan Lake #5 of the Brigham Young Cougars warms up during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cougars defeated the Wildcats 18-16.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Another week, another twist in the drama surrounding Big 12 expansion.

The latest move was made Wednesday night on the subject from an unlikely source: Iowa State’s student government, which passed a resolution opposing BYU joining the Big 12 Conference.

“Student Government’s goal is to create a safe and all-inclusive campus where students feel supported to learn, grow and succeed,” the group said in an official statement obtained by the Ames Tribune. “The Senate finds that Brigham Young University’s Honor Code does not communicate nor reflect the values that The Big XII Conference represents. Therefore, the Senate of Student Government does not support BYU’s membership bid to the Big XII at this time.”

The resolution will reportedly be sent to the presidents all every Big 12 school in addition to conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

BYU’s honor code has been one of the chief sticking points surrounding the school’s candidacy to join the Big 12 and a subject that has received quite a bit of attention ever since the league announced it was looking at expansion. The school, which is privately owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has been criticized heavily over the years regarding sections of the code that prohibits homosexual behavior, among other things. National LGBT advocacy groups have already sent letters to the Big 12 conference office urging them to avoid inviting the Cougars because of the school’s stances but Wednesday’s resolution by ISU’s student government appears to be the first — and so far loudest — message made against BYU by one of the conference’s current members.

Big 12 leaders are reportedly meeting with school officials from a group of roughly 10 finalists this week in Dallas. While it has not been made public when BYU will present their case, it appears likely that the thorny issue surrounding the honor code will play a key role as to whether the Cougars are ultimately invited to join the conference or if they will remain an independent school in football.

It’s doubtful that a student government resolution would be enough to truly derail the otherwise strong case BYU has to join the Big 12 but, given all of the twists and turns that have already happened with conference expansion, stranger things have happened.

Wazzu, Iowa State tripped up by FCS schools, too

Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin gets a hug from his wife, Nicole Baldwin, after his team's NCAA college football game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Eastern Washington won 45-42. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
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Move over Virginia and make some room Buffalo.  You have company.

Friday, the latter team lost to an FCS squad.  Earlier in the day Saturday, the former did the same, becoming the first Power Five program this season to get rolled by a lower-level team.  Later in the day Saturday, Washington State and Iowa State joined UVa. in ignominy.

For the second straight season, Wazzu opened the season with a loss to an FCS school as Eastern Washington held on for a 45-42 win.  EWU quarterback Gage Gubrud strafed the Wazzu defense for 474 yards and five touchdowns in the win.

Last season, Wazzu lost to Portland State in the opener; the Cougars went on to win nine of their last 12 games, including the Sun Bowl over Miami.

In Ames, and in Matt Campbell‘s debut as the Cyclones’ head coach, ISU dropped a 25-20 decision to Northern Iowa.  This is the third time in four years that ISU has lost to an FCS program; one of those losses came at the hands of Northern Iowa in 2013, the other to North Dakota State in 2014.

Alamo Bowl inks extensions with Big 12, Pac-12 through 2025

TCU quarterback Bram Kohlhausen (6) runs for a touchdown against Oregon during the third overtime of the Alamo Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in San Antonio. TCU won 47-41 in triple overtime.(AP Photo/Austin Gay)
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The Valero Alamo Bowl will keep its current configuration through the 2025 season.

The Big 12 and Pac-12 each announced separate deals to remain with the San Antonio-based bowl game through the next decade. Technically, it’s a six-year extension that kicks begins in 2019.

“The Conference’s long-standing relationship with the Valero Alamo Bowl has produced some unforgettable games,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a statement. “The Valero Alamo Bowl and San Antonio have been terrific hosts for our member institutions and their fans, and we are excited to join the Pac-12 to continue our relationship through 2025.”

“The Valero Alamo Bowl has a well-deserved reputation for exciting games played in front of sellout crowds and top TV viewership,” added Pac-12 commish Larry Scott. “Our universities and their fans look forward to their trips to San Antonio and playing top ranked schools from the Big 12 Conference.”

As part of the deal, each team will continue sending its top teams that do not reach a New Year’s Six game.

The announcement came in conjunction with the Alamo Bowl’s annual Pigskin Preview.

The Big 12 has sent teams to the Alamo Bowl continuously since 1994, meaning the new agreement takes the bowl and the league into their third decade together. The league is 11-11 to date in the Alamo Bowl, but 8-3 since 2005 and 4-2 since the Pac-12 rejoined the game in 2010. The Pac-12 won each of the first two Alamo Bowls.

TCU won the most recent edition, rallying from a 31-0 halftime deficit to top Oregon 47-41 in triple overtime.

The 2016 game (the second one) will be played Thursday, Dec. 29 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Big 12 informs East Carolina it’s no longer an expansion candidate

GREENVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 05:  Head coach Skip Holtz of the East Carolina Pirates walks onto the field with his team before their game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Greenville, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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We don’t know yet which schools the Big 12 will add in its latest round of expansion.  We do know, though, one who won’t be added.

In a press release, and in a move that will surprise almost no one outside of the university, East Carolina confirmed that the Big 12 has informed them that they are no longer being considered as a candidate for expansion.  It had previously been reported that ECU was one of 20 Group of Five schools that contacted the conference about becoming a member.

The Big 12’s decision on ECU comes a couple of weeks after the current American Athletic Conference member conducted a video conference with commissioner Bob Bowlsby to make its pitch for membership.

“I am proud of the support Pirate Nation provided to our efforts,” ECU president Dr. Cecil Stanton said in a statement. “While I am disappointed by the decision, I remain undaunted in my commitment to ECU athletics and the excellence displayed by our wonderful student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

“While it is obviously not the decision we were hoping for, I am confident ECU put forth its best effort during this process,” a statement from the school’s athletic director, Jeff Compher, began. “Through a determined approach we were able to tell our story to not only the Big 12, but the entire nation. Our student-athletes, coaches and staff will continue to proudly compete for championships in the American Athletic Conference and we will represent our alumni and community with great resolve. We remain Undaunted!”

Nine other AAC members (Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple, Tulane, UCF, UConn, USF) are up for consideration by the Big 12.  Schools from Conference USA (Rice), the MAC (Northern Illinois), Mountain West (Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV) and the Sun Belt (Arkansas State), as well as football independent BYU, are considered to be expansion candidates.

It’s believed that some combination of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, UCF and UConn will ultimately be part of any expansion.  A report from TMGSports.com surfaced overnight that stated invitations have been sent to those six schools, as well as USF and two other unnamed AAC schools.  Those on the receiving end of the invitations are expected to take part in another round of presentations, after which the conference will settle on their new members.

While the conference is looking at expanding by both two and four teams, it appears the former is the more likely number.  A final decision on both the members and number of members is expected at some point in October.