Well this should whet your expansion and realignment craving. Oklahoma president David Boren says the Big 12 should be extremely careful about expansion if the Big 12 is to explore the possibility, but he also suggested the Big 12 is playing with a bad deck of cards if it continues forward with a 10-school membership compared to the 12-team Pac-12 and 14-team ACC, Big Ten and SEC.
Just earlier this week Boren commented on the possibility of expanding as a conference, suggesting there is a Longhorn-sized obstacle down south of Oklahoma, but his more recent comments to The Oklahoma Daily, Oklahoma’s student-run newspaper, add some more fuel to the Big 12 expansion fire. And the quotes will surely grab the attention of fans of BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and any other school thinking there is a chance to crash the Power Five party.
Here is the statement Boren issued to The Oklahoma Daily;
““Commissioner Bowlsby said publicly yesterday, as reported in The Daily Oklahoman that our television contracts are written to expand proportionally if we add additional schools. In other words, the pie gets proportionally larger if it is cut 12 ways instead of 10. There could be some slight loss of revenue from bowl games and other sources, but if the conference carefully selects additional members, based upon their media markets and fan base support, the amount should increase rather than decrease. We should; however, be very selective. I do not favor adding two more members unless they meet very high criteria. When we look at football playoffs and our conference is bumping up against conferences with 12 or 14 members, I believe that we are psychologically disadvantaged because we are a smaller conference.”
The Big 12 company line may be the conference is perfectly fine with moving forward with 10 members, and it probably is if it chooses to stay there, but the comments made this week by Boren would strongly suggest there is at least one school intrigued by the possibility of expanding the conference membership if the right pieces are added.
The question that must be answered is whether or not the right fits are out there for the Big 12 to make expansion worth it. Expanding just to get to 12 members is not an ideal situation, unless the cash payout in the end adds some more green to the schools. And isn’t that what it always comes down to? Take a look at Boren’s comments above one more time, and you will notice he mentioned media markets before fan base or any other potential qualification.
Is the Big 12 stabl;e with 10 members? It very well could be, but it would seem there is not quite the same level of peace within the Big 12 family we may have been initially led to believe following the last major shifts in realignment. The Big 1 lost Nebraska to the Big Ten, Colorado t the Pac-10 (later renamed the Pac-12 with the addition of Colorado and Utah), and Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC. It brought in West Virginia and TCU to stay afloat, and media rights agreements were made to benefit the membership and keep everybody calm and prevent a total implosion the way the WAC and Big East experienced. Texas may still be the big fish in the Big 12 pond, but Oklahoma is right behind them.
We are still a good way away from really setting the expansion rumor mill ablaze, but if nothing else there appears to be a spark.