Wednesday, August 03, 2016

So You're Saying There's a Chance. . .

In words rarely used together and in this order - it all started in Nebraska. Shortly after, it spread to Colorado, Missouri, and Texas. With one fell swoop, college athletics spun and turned and twisted like a Rubiks cube as universities bolted from their historical conferences in a quest for greener pastures and that ever-growing mighty dollar. The effects of this systemic overhaul continue to reverberate through the college athletic landscape even today as the rumbling of expansion rumors have magnified. But this time, my alma mater actually might get to play.

When the Cornhuskers made the initial move from the Big 12 to the Big 10, their former conference began a slide from a legitimate claim as the best Power 5 conference to arguably the worst of the five in the past few seasons. Even with the addition of TCU from the Mountain West Conference and West Virginia from the Big East, the loss of Nebraska, Texas A&M, Missouri, and CU eliminated the opportunity to host a conference championship game - a luxury item (and money making television event) for the other four Power 5 conferences that include twelve or more teams. The Big 12 has discussed expansion in previous years in order to capitalize on the dollars associated with the additional members and that coveted conference championship game. This discussion reached a boiling point at the end of the 2014 college football season as the 12-1 TCU Horned Frogs were not selected for the college football playoffs. The playoff committee instead selected the ACC champion (Florida State), the SEC champion (Alabama), the Pac-12 champion (Oregon), and the Big 10 Champion (Ohio State), all of which had won their respective conference championship games. After the 2014 exclusion, it took another year and a half of mulling and debating and pondering and hemming and hawing and thumb-twiddling, but the Big 12 Conference finally made a decision. The decided to maybe potentially possibly look at expansion. But maybe not. Despite the grey nature of the announcement, the news was more definitive than anything previously released by the Conference - expansion is now on the table.