West Virginia

Big 12 Not Expanding: What Does It All Mean?

The Big 12 isn’t expanding. What does it all mean?

Contact @PeteFiutak

The Big 12 isn’t expanding. What does it all mean?

Oh Big 12, I can’t quit you – you amuse me too much.

The Big 12 isn’t going to expand, and now there are a whole bunch of schools left trying to figure out what went wrong.

Sorry, BYU and Cincinnati.

Sorry, South Florida, UCF, Memphis and Connecticut.

Sorry, Houston, Boise State, Colorado State, and all the other schools thinking they had a shot to move up to the Power 5 big-time.

And sorry, Big 12 fans.

Apparently, this doesn’t mean expansion can’t happen somewhere down the road, but for now, in a year when the league is the obvious fifth-option in a four-team college football playoff world – and that’s not even counting the star one-loss programs out there – the Big 12 needed a lift.

After the Art Briles nightmare, and with Oklahoma losing to Houston, Texas stinking, Oklahoma State losing at home to Central Michigan in controversial fashion, and with all hopes to be relevant in the playoff chase pinned on okay-not-great West Virginia and Baylor teams, it would’ve been nice to get some interesting storylines feed off of.

It’s been a horrible year so far, and expansion would’ve been a major shot in the arm. It would’ve at least showed that this is a conference looking to move forward and be progressive, but now the hopes and prayers are pinned on Texas getting a whole lot stronger, and for the Big 12 title game in 2017 potentially mattering more.

And that’s sort of the problem. The whole idea behind creating a Big 12 title game was to 1) make more money and 2) create a potential 12th or 13th win for the conference champ, to look better in the CFP world, and 3) make it easy for the two division winners to meet once expansion kicked in and the league divided up.

But now the championship is going to be just another Big 12 game in a rematch that won’t have the needed oomph to move the needle, especially if the star programs don’t kick in.

Texas simply has to be a powerhouse again. Oklahoma is holding up its end of the bargain, but Baylor’s demise – on the field, it’s coming – TCU having issues, and no one really stepping up to fill the void outside of a hot start from West Virginia, the league needs its anchor to be better.

Like it or not, the Big Ten needs Ohio State and Michigan to be good in terms of national perception, the SEC needs Alabama, the Pac-12 needs USC, and the Big 12 needs Texas, especially in a ten-team league when at least four of the programs aren’t going to be relevant on a regular basis.

Expanding to add TCU and West Virginia in 2012 was a move for survival, but now the league is choosing to maintain the status quo, and it can’t afford to do that.

But apparently, it thinks it can.

Apparently, the numbers don’t work, the finances aren’t right, and it’s not going to make the sense needed to expand, partly because there aren’t any sure-thing options out there. There isn’t a Nebraska, like the Big Ten was able to grab, that would generate the wow factor.

And now the Big 12 has to keep on rolling and hope the money and the deals are there to compete with the other four Power 5 conferences.

And it has to hope that those other four Power 5 conference don’t start to look more and more attractive to its own members.