The Big 12, in such a Big 12 way, upstaged it's own media day (a.k.a. "Just how far can Baylor's administration and coaches dig the hole before hitting rock bottom?) with a revelation that the league was expanding. Put out the help wanted sign because we've got positions available kids!
They made this revelation public after a special session of the Big 12's hierarchy held at the tail end of Big 12 media days. Baylor for one was thrilled because the announcement seems to have thrown the leering press off the Bears' scent in the wake of Jim Grobe's comments that Baylor doesn't "have a culture of bad behavior." Right. Except for the culture of undeterred sexual assault and the knowledge of said sexual assault by the esteemed higher ups. Other than that, oh, and the violations of Federal Law, the University, athletic department and football team have really knocked the bottom out of this thing. That and the other tone deaf comments from the Baylor car pool are now yesterday's news because WE GOT EXPANDIN' TO DO BOYS!
This is not about competition, or putting together the best league. Nope, don't fool yourself. The league is in no hurry to give Tom Herman's team a shot at the big time. The conference wants to get bigger, not necessarily better. Hence why those football hotbeds Cincinnati and UConn are the front runners to wear the logo.
The ACC and ESPN just announced, literally this morning, a new digital network for the fall transitioning into a full blown cable network in three years. That leaves the Big 12 as the only league without a network. We're using that term loosely because the Pac 12 Network is a series of cans tied together by string across four square miles of Orange County. Our friends in Austin would argue that the Big 12 has a network, the Longhorn Network dad-gum it! The ratings indicate different. ESPN wishes they could unload the old LHN quicker than they did Stump the Schwab.
No, the Big 12 wants a tv deal and to get it they're willing to create a league that is as large as it is unwatchable. Who's excited about that epic UConn/TCU tilt? Circle the Cincy/Okie State game on your calendar. The MAC is laughing at you Bob Bowlsby.
That said, the network and a championship game are worth a billion dollars over the next 7-8 years according to the league's television gurus. Those are magical marketing numbers kids. Cable subscriptions are going the way of Blockbuster memberships. These are the same numbers guys that tell you a new professional ballpark is worth eleventy trillion a year to a city. No one ever goes back and double checks the math years later, they sale their fire water and skip town.
Whatever, let's break down the expansion contenders...
UConn: The Huskies signature football moment was tricking Maryland into hiring Randy Edsel.
Cincinnati: Tommy Tubberville walked out on a dad-gum steak to leave Lubbock for southern Ohio and now Tubb's might be back in the league. It's like if your dad left the family for that Denny's waitress and then you let them move back into the garage apartment.
BYU: If this were 1984 BYU would make sense. Cougar fans will tell you that they're still a national brand, not unlike people who told you "The Office" was still funny after the "Prison Mike" episode.
South Florida and Central Florida: I'd feel better if these two just combined and became "Directional Florida." I'd also like to propose the FIU and FAU combine and become "Other Miami" or "Trick Daddy U."
Memphis: The Tigers have enlisted the help of Justin Timberlake. They aren't going to tell you that Timberlake wouldn't live in Memphis if Jessica Biel condoned extramarital excursions within the 901 area code.
Houston: Nope. Not gonna happen. Sorry Tom Herman. You may be too good for this league. Let that sink in.
Colorado State: How awesome would it be if years after Colorado left for the Pac 12, the Big 12 snags up the Rams. It's like losing your copy of "Highlander" and convincing yourself that "Highlander II The Quickening" is just as good if not better. It's not kids, trust us on this.
So...just when you thought the conference expansion talk was over, it's ramping back up. Dominoes are falling, whether we want them to or not. Try and stay out of the way.