Thursday, June 7, 2012

Big 12 and SEC Future Engagements

BleacherReport has an article (linked below) about the dilemma facing the ACC. The anointment of the Big 12 by the SEC via the new Champions Bowl has kicked off major discussions again about future conference expansion.

I don't believe the SEC and Big 12 set out to destabilize the ACC... but it seems to be a consequence, and the SEC probably isn't too sorry about that.

The article posits that whenever the Big 12 goes to 14 members, they might pick up Florida State, Clemson, Miami, and Georgia Tech. Presumably the Big 12 and SEC would then jump to 16, and I'll suggest two others for the B12 as Notre Dame and Louisville. The teetering ACC could then lose Virginia Tech and UNC to the SEC.

BleacherReport also wrote that this would create some great cross-conference rivalry possibilities. Here's the thought-provoking list I came up with:

  • Border War KU / MU
  • Lone Star Showdown Texas / Texas A&M
  • Sunshine Showdown FSU / Florida
  • Seminole War Canoe  Miami / Florida
  • Clean, Old Fashioned Hate  Georgia Tech / Georgia
  • Palmetto Bowl Clemson / South Carolina
  • Governor's Cup  Louisville / Kentucky
  • Black Diamond Trophy West Virginia / Virginia Tech
Set aside for a moment the hard feelings that KU and Texas have for Mizzou and the Aggies. Wouldn't an 'extra-conference' suite of games between the Big 12 and SEC be a valuable commodity as a supplemental (or even stand-alone) network TV package? And once the money becomes even bigger for the members and the newly constituted super-conferences, won't that be the face-saving excuse necessary to re-start those two valuable games?

The other SEC and Big 12 teams not involved in these rivalries could either try to create new permanent cross-conference rivalries, or could rotate games among themselves, or take a smaller revenue share - whatever. Here are the super-conference teams that don't have a rival dance partner. The SEC has one more because Florida has two rivals. (Florida on TV twice would not be a bad thing for television ratings. For the same reason, let Texas join both sides of this party too.)

SEC Big 12
Alabama Oklahoma
Vanderbilt TCU
Auburn Iowa State
Mississippi State Texas Tech
LSU Notre Dame
Arkansas Oklahoma State
Ole Miss K-State
North Carolina Baylor
Tennessee Texas

Because the new Plus One format seems a likely first playoff step, and because the Champions Bowl winner almost certainly will be invited to that National Title game, there is less risk for good teams to play difficult non-conference game. You can still win your conference, and still win the Champions Bowl, and make more money than ever.

Eight cross-conference 'rivalry' games. Perhaps eight more cross-conference 'challenge' games. Sound like fun?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Notre Dame to the Big 12?

Blair Kerkhoff of the KC Star described the attractiveness of adding Notre Dame and BYU to the Big 12 in this article. Lately folks have been talking Florida State and Clemson, perhaps as a package.

Should the Big 12 stick with 10 teams? Move to 12 again? Or jump all the way to 14 teams?

I wasn't convinced that Notre Dame would ever join a conference. But now that the Big 12 and SEC have announced their championship game, the landscape for college football has changed again. The BCS, best buddy of Notre Dame though they've been, has been staked through the heart.

It's as though a couple of conferences finally woke up and said, "Hey - we're the ones with content. Stadiums and networks come to us, we don't go begging to them."

About time.

Notre Dame can't get in the Rose Bowl. And they can't ever get in the championship game between the SEC and Big 12. Oh, they could probably join the Big 10 if they want... but the Irish think they're special. Would the Big 10 give them the face-saving special treatment that the Big 12 would offer? I don't think so.

I think Notre Dame has to be strongly considering the Big 12, especially if they can get some concessions regarding the remainder of their NBC television contract.

Florida State and Clemson are strong football programs in a rapidly diminishing football conference. As much or more than money, relevance is on on the line. If they choose to bolt the ACC together, the Big 12 really should take them both.

I say that because the SEC is probably a more natural fit for each of them, and where will that conference ultimately go to get to the super-size of 16 that seems the ultimate destination for four conferences? I don't think the SEC wants the 'Noles or Tigers right now, but when 16 becomes the magic number, I think the Big 12 will be happy to have those two southeastern schools locked up. The SEC would probably make a play for Virgina Tech when that next round comes, and that could work for them too.

Orangebloods thinks that the Big 12 could become the Big 12.5, with Clemson, FSU, and Notre Dame in everything but football until 2016. Could be - if Notre Dame were poised to be fully on board in 2016, the 14th member might come from anywhere - BYU, Louisville, Cincinatti, Virginia Tech... even Georgia Tech has been floated.

For the third summer in a row, our little youth football blog is considering the vagaries of college football and the Big 12. Feels MUCH better writing about it this year.