The Big “Ten” decided on Monday they did NOT want to expand its members to 12. Let me make this as clear as mud before I go on. The Big 10 is made up of 14 members or universities comprised of two divisions. In the East there is Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Rutgers. In the West there is Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. The Big 12 is going into its 21st year and is made up of 10 members; Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, and West Virginia. The Big 12 is basically the Big “Ten”, and apparently wants to stay that way.
They have decided that their champion will be based off their play during the 12 regular season games. According to their commissioner Bob Bowlsby and University of Oklahoma president David Boren, the vote was unanimous by the conference’s presidents and chancellors. Bowlsby stated, “I made one recommendation: that we should bring this process to closure — that we shouldn’t kick the can down the road.” “We all came to a unanimous decision that this was not the right time (for expansion),” Boren said. “All the information generated was not wasted effort. They (candidate schools) presented themselves in a very fine light, and we appreciate them.” Supposedly, individual members were never discussed during the meeting. Those potential members included Air Force, BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Colorado State, UConn, Houston, Rice, South Florida, SMU and Tulane. “The decision really didn’t have very much to do with the individual elements of those institutions,” Bowlsby said. “They all have their strengths and weaknesses, obviously, as all of our members do. But this was really about defense of our model.” That is a sure slap in the face to those universities who spent millions of dollars to upgrade their programs. Can you imagine completely remodeling your home, only to find out that the person that was going to buy your home said, “Thank you for all you have done but I’m going to stay in my home”? You would be livid. Renu Khator, Houston University’s chancellor took the high road by saying, “The Big 12’s decision in no way changes the mission of the University of Houston that began long before there was talk of conference expansion. We are confident that in this competitive collegiate athletics landscape an established program with a history of winning championships and a demonstrated commitment to talent and facilities in the nation’s fourth largest city will find its rightful place. Our destiny belongs to us.” Khator proved to be a bigger person than I could have been.
By not having 12 universities, the Big 12 doesn’t have a conference championship game to decide the outright winner. This is a lesson they should have learned two years ago when they were shut out of the first ever College Football Playoff. Baylor and TCU were both 11-1 that year, but the fourth and final playoff spot went to Ohio State with a 12-1 record. That one extra game was their championship game that they won. A new rule was passed by the NCAA in April 2015 that allows for a conference title game no matter the number of members. Since the expansion debate is null and void, Bowlsby said their conference could make a decision by the end of the week on whether it will form divisions to decide which teams will play in the championship game. He stated that a championship site could be determined by November. Possible sites include Arlington, Kansas City, and San Antonio. That seems highly unlikely since they couldn’t get an expansion vote to pass. It would have been so much easier to add Houston and SMU and give it a true Big 12 feeling instead of the Big “Ten”.