While I like to engage in discussion on the many scenarios the Big 12 could take with expansion, in reality I am not all over the place a believe the Big 12 is much better remaining with 10 schools.
The only reason we have all these expansion option discussion is the fact that college football can never get it totally correct on a playoff system. Everyone keeps patting them selves on the back on what a great system we have with four playoff system when college football is the only major sport in the USA that decides it final four championship teams with a selection committee.
The only good method to truly describe college football playoff system is having square pegs in round holes. We keep saying that college football thrives on ciaos when in fact the only reason it thrives is because it is one of the most exciting sports to watch on live TV.
Everyone keeps referring that if Big 12 survives after 2025 due to membership size, however, history proves that larger conference are the ones that traditionally splinter off into smaller more compact leagues.
The SEC lost schools overtime and reverted back to a more compact league of 10 schools before expanding into the made for cable TV bloated league it is today.
The Southern Conference splintered off into the ACC which has to somehow morphed back into the same issues that caused the original breakup of the old Southern League.
In more modern times, we have the bloated Big East and WAC in the history books because of the unwieldy size these league were force to take to survive for a short period of time.
These huge power leagues are one cable TV change of revenue stream from ending up in the same fate as these old bloated leagues that either slimmed down or imploded into other smaller leagues.
The Big 12 may not have the capacity to make the same revenue as the Big Ten ripping off unexpected cable customers that have not other options at the moment. This could change very quickly and as history has proved could cause major havoc on these huge bloated leagues down the road.
I could see more of the elite college football schools taking the same approach as the University of Texas which could lead to schools becoming independent again to provide a bigger cut of the financial pie latter as cable and TV interest change.
With ESPN and other TV giants laying off folks, it is best to take a conservative approach to expansion because none of us really now what the future holds down the road. No league could be immune to defections of schools including the most powerful Big Ten and SEC.
It is a shame the only reason the Big 12 is actually considering expansion is due to unpractical playoff system we have in place.
Maybe it would be great if not only we blow up the Big 12 and blow up the entire college football system and start all over again.
Make every school independent and pay the schools the most that actually contribute to the sport and not just because of association with a particular league.
If we finally got rid of these power leagues we college football fans could finally have a playoff system we could actually believe in.
Lash--it's good to see one of the older posters a rounds again. I am with you in that that the playoffs, and the BCS before it, are imperfect systems for picking a champion. In an ideal world, all of the major conferences would be of relatively equal strength as well as size and their would be a spot for the winner of every major league as well as a few "wild cards" who performed well but we're in a stacked division.
I don't follow your thinking concerning big=unstable. Sure the WAC and 16 member version of the Big East both fell but both of those leagues were built on compromise. The Big East was built with a split in mind because NCAA legislation required that in order to get an auto berth for post season play, including the lucrative men's basketball tournament, you needed 6 schools who spent 5 years together plus a 7th school. Neither the basketball or football factions could meet the requirements so they built a league designed to be split in half. Things didn't ultimately go as planned because expansion elsewhere saw all of the pre-ACC raid football schools depart and the basketball faction ultimately split away from the replacement schools. The WAC grew to 16 because when it came time to expand they couldn't agree on which schools too pick so the compromise between the factions was that they took in everyone. It was ultimately the old guard who decided that the newcomers, and the media markets they brought weren't providing the financial windfall they thought and they'd rather go back to the old annual rivalries so they dumped the newcomers and geographic outliers.
Historically, numbers have equaled strength. The SEC began with 13, and along the way lost Sweanee who couldn't compete, and later Tulane and Georgia Tech for academic reasons. THe Big Ten also began as a larger league. Ohio St gave them their 10th member in the teens and when Chicago dropped out they quickly added Michigan St and moved on. The Pac 12 was also bigger with 10 schools early on--after some internal issues and disbanding due to scandal they left out Idaho and Montana when they got back together and after a couple decades added the Arizona schools.
comparatively, the ACC began with 8 and lost South Carolina shrinking to 7. It was much later that they brought in Georgia Tech and Florida St. The Big 8 spent a long time with just 7 before adding Colorado. The SWC also spent a long time with 7 until Texas Tech joined and then 8 until the addition of Houston. When the Big East started football only 4 of the original 8 schools were full members and Miami had just been given full membership.
I guess the point I'm getting at is conferences who were larger to begin with have stuck together and weathered realignment better than the ones that started smaller. In this day and age of Grant of Rights and big media deals I don't see any of the bigger, older conferences who have retained most of their original members. The only type of thing I could see happening is a WAC break up where the pre-realignment members boot the expansion schools but even this is doubtful. The Big 12 and ACC don't have the same kind of solidarity or profitability so that's why I think they remain candidates to be picked apart.