Tuesday, June 15, 2010
An expansion epilogue
By ESPN.com staff
To borrow a phrase from Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, it appears the waters have calmed from a storm that looked sure to drown the Big 12 as we knew it. It's weathered the losses of Colorado and Nebraska, and with the league's members pledging their loyalty to the league on Monday, may have put a halt to expansion across the country.
Along with the other college football bloggers here, we're taking a look at what happens next.
So ... is that it?
For the Big 12, it appears so.
Don't expect the league to add any members. This year may be the last Big 12 championship, and commissioner Dan Beebe appears to have convinced the league of the its viability moving forward with 10 teams.
The wild card for the Big 12 is Texas Tech, who has yet to formally announce its commitment to the Big 12. Beebe sounded confident on Tuesday morning that they would do so, and the school has a board meeting slated for this afternoon, where the issue will be discussed.
If they decide to leave the conference, any number of teams could replace them. Some quick candidates: Utah, BYU, New Mexico and Air Force. The Big 12 has no interest in expanding within its own current five-state area, so sorry TCU, Houston and SMU.
No knocks on your on-the-field product, but even if Tech leaves, dont' expect a call.
That might not be the case in the Pac-10. If commissioner Larry Scott wants to invite the Utes, the Big 12 won't stand in his way.
The Big 12's recent move could cause the Big Ten to completely remove Missouri from consideration for its own further expansion, but the league might make the Tigers put it in writing. Even if the Big Ten makes an attractive pitch to the Tigers, the PR nightmare that would follow the move probably wouldn't be worth the headache.
Surely no one's happier than Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor. Each school's best option was the status quo. The alternative had fans depressed from Waco to Ames. No amount of celebration would have been excessive on Monday night in any of those four towns. Missouri's been on the wildest ride as this story has progressed, but it's probably more prone to sighs of relief than celebration.
Finally, barring any future developments, we can get back to focusing on football. I think we can all agree this whole thing was way more fun before boards of regents got involved.
Chancellors out. Offensive coordinators in. Much more enjoyable.