You remember last year — or any other year for that matter where the Big East seemed like it was at risk of being raided? Or people wanted to explore the idea of expanding the football? There would be highly ridiculous scenarios devoid of any sense of reality. BC, Penn State and Maryland all leaving their stable, wealthy conferences for the Big East was always a favorite to see.
In some sense I think these fantasy scenarios were laid out for a couple of reasons. The first being that natural delusion that comes from being a fan. My school is great. Others — even if they’re rivals — want to be associated with my school. Ergo, they want to be in my conference, and thus they would be happy to come to the Big East.
There is also the attitude that, if this is going to happen, the conference needs to go big. This seems to stem from the sense of denial that the realistic choices suck. That the real choices are C-USA leftovers from the first Big East raid.
Another is the reverse logic approach. You start at the conclusion you want, and work backwards to create the framework. It requires creating assumptions and claims that may not be true (often times using theories or claims that a program is secretly unhappy with their lot within the other conference).
And finally, just the throw s**t up against a wall because all the realistic scenarios have been covered and this is all that’s left.
Well, kind of weird to watch this happen with the Big XII, huh?
That’s where the Big XII stands at the moment. Moving to fantasy land expansion, because the reality sucks.
Everyone knows that their best hope is BYU, but considering that BYU just went independent and seems determined to test this route for at least a few years, that is not too realistic. Then it is followed by the more pedestrian Houston. SMU is publicly begging, because they know that their best shot is by making it a public case in Texas that might get the legislature involved in pushing the Texas schools. After that it is the conference trying to talk themselves into MWC leftovers: Boise State, Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico and/or UNLV. I’m surprised that UCF hasn’t made their interest known yet.
So, yeah, the Big XII is having their fantasy land moment. Last night’s stuff made that clear. The idea of Notre Dame — the great white whale of conferences everywhere — joining the Big XII is laughable. The idea of bringing Arkansas back to the their SWC roots is like the Big East and Boston College thing. Vestiges of a past history with geographic ties that will not happen.
Throw in what appears to be some stereotypical Texas-style bravado.
Echoing remarks made this earlier month by Tech President Guy Bailey, [Texas Tech Chancellor Kent] Hance said the league is going to aggressively pursue one to three schools for expansion.
“The presidents are all working on that,” Hance said. “Everyone in athletics, all the remaining schools are working on that. They feel like there’s a chance that whoever we get will be just as big, if not a bigger story than the Aggies’ leaving. That’s where we are.”
Texas Big XII Commissioner Dan Beebe still hasn’t issued a gag order for the conference. Hance does seem to like to babble.
Hance confirmed he heard Pittsburgh mentioned as an expansion possibility last week.
He said he’s not opposed to adding schools from the Midwest and East, because they could restore some of the geography the Big 12 lost with the departures in the past year of Nebraska and Colorado. In shrinking to 10 schools, the Big 12 eliminated the North and South divisions used since its inception in 1996.
“If you added Pitt, Louisville, Notre Dame, it would be easy to have a northern division,” Hance said. “Those would be three great ones. You look at what they bring in football and basketball and the Olympic sports, it’d be big.”
He said he doesn’t know the odds of landing those three schools.
“I think everything’s in such a state of flux,” he said, “the only certain thing right now is uncertainty. There’s so much going on.”
And much like when the Big East looked on the verge of being devoured in the superconference scenarios of last summer, there are the cries for the raidee to become the raider:
So far, the Big 12 has been raided three times, losing Colorado, Nebraska and soon Texas A&M and hasn’t raided any other conference.
Time to assess the national landscape, identify a vulnerable football conference and raid away. Before any Big 12 institutions seriously consider how they might fit into the Big East, first look at how a few Big East schools might look in the Big 12. Figure out a way to bring Pittsburgh, Rutgers and West Virginia to the Big 12 before the Big Ten decides to expand again and does the same, or adds Syracuse instead of West Virginia.
Why not explore adding Pitt, Rutgers and West Virginia before taking the less aggressive step of simply adding Houston and moving ahead with a 10-team conference?
One, I think the Big 12 members already started considering the Big East option after last year. Two, the really funny thing in this article is that this is considered the back-up plan.
Look, I know that the Big East is taking in TCU and that the closest Big East program to USF is Louisville — at over 800 miles away. So maybe anyone from the Big East is silly for bringing up the sprawl of Pitt to the Big XII, but it is worth noting that Pitt is 700 miles and 3 states away from the nearest Big XII school.
I will say that the idea of trying to bring more than just Pitt to the Big East — specifically WVU — makes at least a sliver of logic. No way would Pitt leave the Big East alone for a geographically isolated position in a conference.
…a source with first-hand knowledge of the Big 12’s future plans said, “All of that has been discussed as options. But having 10 teams instead of 12 remains the preferable option.
“And it would be tougher to get Pitt than BYU.”
At least they figured that on their own.