Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Big 12 Conference

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Now that the Big 12 Conference raid is in progress with Colorado headed to the Pac 10 and Nebraska on it's way to the Big 10, will this be the beginning of the Super Conference era while another conference bites the dust?

Once upon a time, there was the Southwestern Conference but there is no more.

It's just a matter of time before Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State rejoin Colorado in the Pac 10. Common sense says that Texas A & M should also wind up in the Pac 10 but this is college football so that doesn't exist in a sport that doesn't have a true playoff system to determine it's national champion. There is discussion that Texas A & M could land in the Southeastern Conference but I doubt that will happen.

There is talk that the Mountain West would like to add Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State if the Big 12 folds.

But Kansas Basketball Coach Bill Self wants the Jayhawks to remain in the Big 12 in a BCS Conference. I can't blame him for that.

So lets have some fun with this college football realignment and create a new Big 12 Conference.

Which teams will join holdovers Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor?

Since the Pac 10 seems to be raiding the State of Texas, the Big 12 needs to do the same to save face.

They need to go after big markets.

Even though the Mean Green of "North Texas" in Denton isn't a household name because they play in the Sun Belt Conference, being in the Fort Worth-Dallas market would be important, plus there would be a good rivalry game with "SMU" which is located in Dallas.

With the Houston Cougars and the UTEP Miners, we have the three biggest cities in the state.

Down the road, the University of Texas, San Antonio, a brand new program that's coached by former Miami Hurricanes Boss Larry Coker, will give the Big 12 a Texas presence that it lost due to this raid.

Coker's Roadrunners team will begin practice in August and their first season is slated for August of 2011. They'll compete as a NCAA Division I FCS Independent and play at the Alamo Dome.

A natural rival for UTEP would be enhanced by adding New Mexico State which is located 45 minutes away from El Paso in Las Cruces. The Big 12 could have a stranglehold on the Southwest by adding the New Mexico Lobos which have always been a great basketball school. The Lobos are coached by Steve Alford, whose training came from Bobby Knight. Self would welcome the Lobos with open arms.

Since the Big 12 is losing Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, there is nothing wrong with going with one of the biggest cities in the state by adding the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

Since all of these Super Conferences are expanding their fan bases and media markets, the Big 12 could dive into Alabama and try to lure UAB and capture the Birmingham market or add another Sun Belt Conference school the Troy Trojans.

Troy is another Alabama university that I could see down the line landing in a major conference and is a sleeper. Year in and year out, Troy is always competing for a Sun Belt Conference title.

It's good to have this many possibilities because at some point, I do see Missouri ultimately landing in the Big Ten. Their academics are a good fit plus the Big Ten needs the St. Louis and Kansas City television markets. Even though the Tigers have been snubbed for now, if the Big Ten expands to 14-16 teams, Missouri and Notre Dame would be a part of their Western Division while Pittsburgh and Rutgers would land in the Eastern Division.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out but let the debate begin.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

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