The Big 12 athletic directors and conference officials wrapped up their two days of meetings in Las Colinas on Tuesday and they had a lot to discuss. One of the big issues on the table was conference realignment. Should the Big 12 remain at ten teams, or is it time to think about expansion?
It is clear that the Big 12 is having ongoing discussions about expansion, but the big question is, are they serious? "We feel very good about where we are" Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said on Tuesday. Bowlsby also said the meetings included discussing what-if scenarios, but added that there are not very many Universities that fit what the Big 12 is looking for in new members. The Big 12 currently has a per-school average of $26.2 million. Any new member would have to bring in a similar amount in revenue or show a potential for growth.
There were also talks of a conference alliance with the ACC at the meetings. An alliance with the ACC could bring about more scheduling and marketing opportunities for both conferences. At this point, it looks like an alliance is more likely than expansion.
Call me skeptical, but I am not real sure about the Big 12 staying with ten teams. In this day and age of college football, only having ten teams makes the conference weak. I know Bowlsby says the conference is prepared for whatever happens, but I would rather the Big 12 be proactive instead of reactive. It seems to me that Bowlsby is afraid of having to step on toes to make the conference stronger.
Instead of an alliance with the ACC, I would like to see the Big 12 actively recruit Clemson and Florida State into the conference. Both schools bring prestige, solid athletic departments, and great fan bases. Plus, trips to Clemson and Florida State would be outstanding!
I do not doubt Bowlsby, the Big 12 officials, or the athletic directors, but staying with ten teams is not necessarily the direction I would go. There is a reason they make the big bucks though. I just hope that having no conference championship game and only ten teams does not hurt the conference when the four team playoff begins. Expansion in college football is not over. We are just waiting for someone to make the next move.