The Big 12 Media Days are under way in Dallas, and it’s always a treat to hear Commissioner Bob Bowlsby at the podium addressing some of the issues that surround the Big 12 and college football.
We’re at the time again where we can talk about conference realignment, and everyone seems to want to talk about poaching Big 12 teams. The common thought is that Texas is holding this league together with glue, and SEC people think that they could do whatever they want and pull Texas and Oklahoma into their league.
You can look at the Big 12 in the past and point at some things here and there that they should have done better but I believe it says something for the league that in both major sports, top to bottom, it’s the most competitive league. Look at KU, who was not a good football team last year by any means. They still played some good teams close and had chances to win a few more games. Look at the SEC, where they are beyond awful at the bottom in both sports, especially basketball.
The Big 12 definitely needs to expand, but right now there may not be a lucrative option. If you look back a few years, maybe the Big 12 is regretting passing on Louisville and Cincinnati. Those passes led to the league getting TCU and West Virginia, and when it comes to football, you would much rather have those programs. Those additions also led to a very lucrative television deal. Stability is an issue, but we still may be a few years away from seriously having to address that issue.
There was news that broke today from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy that the ACC will be adding their own network in 2019. If true, the deal will prevent schools from owning their own individual TV rights, which is on par with the rest of the Power 5 leagues. Now, this is a big deal for Notre Dame, who is not a football member, but does have a deal to play five ACC teams each year. So if Notre Dame is ever forced to join a league, Notre Dame would join the ACC and have to forfeit their TV deal with NBC. If Notre Dame joined the Big 12, that would land the Big 12 at an uneven 15 teams, and may be forced to look at adding a sixteenth. The ACC has traditionally been behind on these trends. They have been reactive, not proactive.
We tend to jump the gun with conference realignment, because it hits the heart of Kansas and Kansas State fans more than anyone else in the league. The biggest questions we talk about is: what will happen to K-State and KU if Texas or Oklahoma ever left?
They are legit questions, but I feel the relationship between ADs in the Big 12 is very good. They seem to be a tight-knit group and are on page with Bowlsby and their respective presidents. This league isn’t going down without a fight. Texas will fight to control a conference, something that would be much harder to do in a league with Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and, in basketball, Kentucky. Those are all HUGE-ego programs who will throw money at anything to make sure they win. Does Texas really want to join in with that? Probably not.
David Beaty spoke very honestly with the media yesterday about the state of the Kansas football program. A lot of teams and coaches have the luxury of looking past a team like Rhode Island, which won one game last year. The Jayhawks don’t have that luxury.
Part of the problem with KU the past few years is they have gotten to conference play with a few losses to non-con teams they should beat. Then at times they seem uninspired, and will run off a losing streak. Beaty says, “the most important game for us is the next one. In this case, it’s Rhode Island.”
He’s not out there spewing off a bunch of nonsense about how “fun his kids are to be around.” Or anything like when Charlie Weis said, “All I know about K-State is they won 10 games last year and we won 2, I can’t figure out why that’s the case.” Beaty has been very honest with the fans and the media, and seems to have to right level of optimism necessary to turn things around. Now, go win some games.
Today, K-State gets its turn at media day and Bill Snyder will hit the podium. Tune into Sports Radio 810 to hear Snyder’s interview on Between The Lines this afternoon. Be sure to tune in and check in for a blog recap tomorrow.
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