The Big 12 Conference announced that it was not going to expand at this time – meaning they will not add 2 teams to put 12 teams in the conference. At the moment, there are only 10 teams but the conference has to be the Big 12 because the name “Big 10” is already taken – – by a conference that has 14 member institutions. Obviously, not enough student-athletes graduated with degrees in math to go to work in Athletic Departments to handle these arithmetic concepts for the moguls there.
I think the Big 12 is on a precipice; it is currently considered a major football conference based on the heritage from which it sprang. However, it needs to add quality to its roles because in recent years it has been losing teams:
Arkansas – now in the SEC
Colorado – now in the PAC-12
Missouri – now in the SEC
Nebraska – now in the Big 10
Texas A&M – now in the SEC
There are two dominant programs in the Big 12 – – Oklahoma and Texas. As long as they stay in the conference and as long as both programs to not render themselves into oblivion, the Big 12 will command some national attention. However, if either of those schools were to leave for greener pastures, what would be left of the Big 12 would be a football conference that is not significantly more relevant than C-USA. I’d call it the Bog 12.
There were rumors and “reports” – all denied – that the major TV networks paid the Big 12 to decide not to expand. The presumed basis for such payments was that the networks had contracts with the other major conferences and were happy to maintain the status quo in college football for the time being. I strongly suspect that these rumors are pure balderdash; I hope those strong suspicions are not wishful thinking. The NCAA loves to talk about the “integrity of the games”; if those sorts of under-the-radar payments are going on, I am far more worried about “game integrity” now than I was prior to reading those “reports”.
I will not pretend to understand all the politics and economics that come into play with regard to the Big 12 and its member schools. I will say this however:
Of the 5 most important football conferences in the country, the Big 12 is the least prestigious with the smallest national following. Moreover, the gap between the Big 12 and the other 4 important conferences is growing year by year.
In the last couple of weeks, two schools have fired their football coaches. I have no idea why those firings had to be done in mid-season as opposed to happening 3 minutes after the final whistle blew in the last game of the year. Neither school is going to “turn things around this year” and go to a bowl game thanks to the coaching change. I guess that these firings are symbolic acts to demonstrate the potency of the athletic departments and/or the big donors at those schools. If I am right, then those entities have demonstrated their power and their dominance. The question I would pose however is this:
If you guys are so big and so tough and so smart, how did you let your precious football program get into this mess in the first place?
Purdue fired Coach Darrell Hazell. Look, Hazell had not been super-successful in his tenure at Purdue; I understand that. What I do not understand is what benefit Purdue hopes to reap from the mid-season separation. As of this morning, Purdue has a 3-4 record with wins over:
E. Kentucky – Division 1-AA
Nevada – not a good Division 1-A team at all
Illinois – Big 10 bottom-feeder.
Purdue’s losses have been:
Cincinnati – by 18 points
Maryland – by 43 points
Iowa by 14 points
Nebraska by 13 points
If you find that unimpressive, consider that Hazell had been at Purdue for a while; this was his 4th year there. His record was 9-33 and he never won back-to-back games in his tenure. If I counted correctly, Purdue has gone 3-24 in conference games during his time there. So, that performance was OK all during the off season between 2015 and 2016 but suddenly became intolerable given the mediocrity that was evident on the field this year. Really?
The other mid-season firing was at Fresno St.; the school parted company with Coach Tim DeRuyter this week with the team record standing at 1-7. If that is all you look at, you might think this firing is not only justified but may have been late in coming. However, if you look a bit closer, you will see that DeRuyter took over the program for the 2012 season after the team went 4-9 the year before. He won 9 games in 2012 and then won 11 games in 2013. For the first two years at Fresno St., his teams went 20-6 and went to bowl games both years.
In 2014, the team just made bowl-eligibility and finished with a 6-8 record but things turned south in 2015 with a record of 3-9 and now this year’s 1-7 record. Overall, DeRuyter’s record at Fresno St was 30-30. The team cannot achieve bowl-eligibility in 2016; once again, I do not see the purpose or the urgency of a mid-season termination.
Finally, here is a news item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times that may give you an incentive to save your pennies:
“Ferrari claims it’s coming out with the fastest convertible ever.
“No word about top-end speed, but your wallet goes from $2.2 million to zero in just 3.5 seconds.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………