Run Sarah Run!

Open Letter of Reconsideration to Governor Palin

After Palin, who i will support with sweat and money, comes
Anyone but Obama, who i will support with a vote.


BCS: Leaning from AQ and Toward +1

From CBS' Murphy.

The items of note from the article for me are:

1. AQ automatically gets $22.3 million, non-AQ gets $13.2 million

2. If non-AQ gets to BCS, they get $26.4 million

What i get from this are

1. Non-BCS programs moving to BCS conference is probably more about TV contract money than BCS money. Tthe increased from about $1 million to $2 million doesn't seem to be enough to offset travel cost and conference exit fees.

2. The MWC and CUSA are unlikely to merge. As an independent conference each gets $13.2 million each, as one conference they might get only $13.2 million total. I am highly skeptical that the combined merged conference would get $22.3, same as an AQ conference, and definitely not $26.4 million, more than an AQ conference.

3. Alliance makes sense with revenue sharing if one team from the Alliance Championship makes it to the BCS, then both conference could win more money.

4. If TV money is the key, each conference will be at a minimum of 10 teams with 9 conference games per team (to get sufficient conference games for airing). 12 teams usually means 8 conference games per team so unless the conference championship game can offset this in tv negotiation, i do not see either conference going to 12. Especially with an Alliance championship format unless there is special NCAA disposition for the two conference to have an intra-conference championship and an inter-conference championship.

5. Even with the BCS as a +1 format, the money situation is unlikely to change. All conferences will continue unequal revenue sharing. And there will be additional money for making the BCS championship series (final 4) and the actual championship game itself.

My conclusion:

MWC + CUSA forms an alliance but not a merger. Both will go to 10, possibly 11 teams (which may result in less non-conference games, which means less tier 3 money for each school and less opportunity to increase strength of schedule against the dominant conferences)

MWC 2013: Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno, Hawaii, Nevada-Las Vegas, Nevada-Reno, New Mexico, and Wyoming for a total of 8 teams. At risk for Big East poaching: Nevada or Hawaii.
MWC candidates: Utah State, San Jose State, UTEP, Idaho, New Mexico State. I suspect the first two.

CUSA 2013. Alabama-Birmingham, East Carolina, Marshal, Memphis, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Texas-El Paso, Tulane, and Tulsa for a total of 9 teams. At risk for Big East poaching: Tulsa, Memphis, East Carolina
CUSA candidates: Army, Navy, Florida International, Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, North Texas


Big 12 Rivalries: New & Old

The Big 12 should try to maintain three sort of rivalries and play them annually. Firstly are the annual cross division rivalries that will define the divisions.

Texas & Oklahoma (Red River Rivalry since 1900)
Kansas & Kansas State (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
Texas & Kansas State (Chisholm Trail since 1913)
Iowa State & Kansas State (Farmageddon since 1917)
Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
Baylor & Texas Tech (Texas Farm Bureau Shootout since 1929)

There are four intrastate rivalries within of the three core Big 12 States: Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Thus each division should have one Kansas program, one Oklahoma program, and at least one Texas program. The annual cross division rivalries should thus be Kansas & Kansas State, and Oklahoma & Oklahoma State. Since the Texas and Oklahoma Red river Rivalry is the oldest, if they are not set as annual cross division rivals, then they need to be in the same division. Then given the Chisholm Trail rivalry, Kansas State and Texas needs to be in the same division. Then Farmageddon puts Iowa State and Kansas State in the same division. So far we have:

Division A & Division B
Texas & ?
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
Kansas State & Kansas (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Iowa State & ?

Texas Tech and Baylor needs to be placed, as well as new addition to the Big 12 Texas Christian. Texas has played 100 games against Baylor, 82 against Texas Christian, and 60 against Texas Tech. This means Texas' annual cross division rival should be either Baylor or Texas Christian, and the other to be in the same division. This leaves Texas Tech in the opposite division from Texas. However, there appears to be a preference by both Texas and Texas Tech to maintain the Chancellor Spur's rivalry. Ultimately rivalry is not just how long the teams have been playing but how much emotions and desires the teams have in playing each other. Since it would be an imbalance to place both of the Texas public universities in one division and both Texas private universities in the other, it seems appropriate to place Texas and Texas Tech as the annual cross division rivals. Baylor with 100 games against Texas will be in the same division as Texas as Baylor only has an 82 games series with Texas Tech. For Texas Christian, the rivalry with Baylor spans 107 games versus 54 with Texas Tech, leaving these two as natural cross division rivals and Texas Christian and Texas Tech to be in the same division. This then leaves the arrangement as:

Division A & Division B
Baylor & Texas Christian
Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
Kansas State & Kansas (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Iowa State & ?

Next to be placed is West Virginia. Given its geographical proximity and an empty cross division annual rival. West Virginia will become Iowa State's annual cross division rival. This will be a brand new rivalry as neither teams have played each other before.

Division A & Division B
Baylor & Texas Christian
Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
Kansas State & Kansas (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Iowa State & West Virginia

But this is only 10 teams and there would be no need for divisions. There is a general expectation that the Big 12 will go back to 12 with the addition of Louisville as 11th. Brigham Young has been mentioned but this seems to have fizzled for now. There has been hopes for Notre Dame but this remains just wishful thinking. Cincinnati have been discussed and would be a natural rival for Louisville. West Virginia list Louisville as a rival rather than Cincinnati so both should be in the same division. The Big 12 with 12 teams would thus be configured as:

Division A & Division B
Baylor & Texas Christian ("Holy War" since 1899)
Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
Kansas State & Kansas (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Iowa State & West Virginia (since 2012)
Cincinnati & Louisville (Keg of Nails since 1929)

These annual cross division rivalry games should be played early in the conference play if not at the beginning of conference play. These same two rival teams may end up in a rematch in the conference championship game as their respective division champions. The more game between the first meeting and the rematch the better. These annual cross division games should also be aligned such that all teams have equivalent exposure to the Big 12 geographically as well as to integrate new members with old members.

The remaining rivalries can be set up for rivalry weekend, the Thanksgiving weekend game.

Rivalries weekend games for division A:
Texas & Oklahoma (Red River Rivalry since 1900)
Kansas State & Iowa State (Farmageddon since 1917)
Baylor & Cincinnati (Battle of the Bears? since 2012 given that it is the Baylor Bear versus Cincinnati Bearcats)
Rivalries weekend games for division B:
Kansas & Louisville (The Birds Kansas Jayhawks versus Louisville Cardinals with both as basketball powerhouses)
Oklahoma State & Texas Christian
Texas Tech & West Virginia.

I went with Oklahoma State & Texas Christian with Texas Tech & West Virginia rather than Oklahoma State & West Virginia and Texas Tech & Texas Christian for a variety of reasons. Firstly Oklahoma State & Texas Christian and Texas Tech & West Virginia are more even matches. Secondly there appears a frontier commonality both present with Texas Tech and West Virginia. Thirdly it may be preferable not to have intrastate rivals for rivalry weekend. Fourthly it seems better not to pit the two new teams as rival for each other rather than integrate them into the conference by building rivalries with the original Big 12 teams. Naturally the four teams will play their three potential rivals (for Oklahoma State versus Texas Christian, Texas Tech or West Virginia; for Texas Christian versus Oklahoma State, Texas Tech or West Virginia; for Texas Tech versus Oklahoma State, Texas Christian or West Virginia; and for West Virginia versus Oklahoma State, Texas Christian or Texas Tech).

Naturally member teams should maintain rivalries in their non-conference schedule as well.
Baylor & ?
Cincinnati & Miami of Ohio (Victory Bell) and Pittsburgh (River City Rivalry)
Iowa State & Iowa (Cy-Hawk Trophy)
Louisville & Kentucky (Governor's Cup)
Kansas & Missouri (Border War)
Kansas State & Nebraska
Oklahoma & Nebraska
Oklahoma State & Tulsa
Texas & Texas A&M and Arkansas, possibly UCLA
Texas Christian & Southern Methodist (Battle for the Iron Skillet)
Texas Tech & Texas A&M
West Virginia & Pittsburgh (Backyard Brawl) and Syracuse (Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy)

Since Missouri and Texas A&M have both left the Big 12, neither Kansas nor Texas has expressed any interests to maintain the rivalries. This may apply to Nebraska as well. In these instances Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech should consider other regional programs such as Arkansas, Colorado State, Louisiana State, and New Mexico to build a non-conference regional rivalry series with.

The divisions as listed above will have:
30 BCS points from 2008-2010 for Division A with Baylor (0 pts), Texas (12 pts),
Oklahoma (9 pts), Kansas State (0 pts), Iowa State (0 pts), and Cincinnati (9 pts).
26 BCS points from 2008-2010 for Division B with Texas Christian (15 pts), Texas Tech (3 pts), Oklahoma State (5 pts), Kansas (0 pts), and West Virginia (3 pts).


Big 12: Old vs New by BCS points

BCS Points are described here. The next evaluation will look at the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 season. The points are used as part 3 of a 3 parts evaluation to determine automatic qualification for the 2012-2013 season.

So lets look at how the old Big 12 compares to the new Big 12 with the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons.

0 for Baylor
0 for Colorado
0 for Iowa State
0 for Kansas
0 for Kansas State
4 for Missouri
3 for Nebraska
9 for Oklahoma
5 for Oklahoma St
12 for Texas
2 for Texas A&M
3 for Texas Tech
38 total points

So here is the Big 12 as it appears now for 2012, having lost Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas A&M but with Texas Christian and West Virginia over the same time period.

0 for Baylor
0 for Iowa State
0 for Kansas
0 for Kansas State
9 for Oklahoma
5 for Oklahoma St
12 for Texas
15 for Texas Christian
3 for Texas Tech
3 for West Virginia
47 total points

The new Big 12 even with just 10 teams is nearly 24% better than the old in raw points. Since the BCS formula then modify this for conferences less than 12 teams, the 10 teams Big 12 will gain a 12.5% bonus to yield a modified points of 52.875 points.

Should the Big 12 decides to go to 12 with Louisville and Cincinnati, the new points would be:

0 for Baylor
9 for Cincinnati
0 for Iowa State
0 for Kansas
0 for Kansas State
0 for Louisville
9 for Oklahoma
5 for Oklahoma St
12 for Texas
15 for Texas Christian
3 for Texas Tech
3 for West Virginia
56 total points

Going to 12 teams with both Louisville and Cincinnati will make the Big 12 even stronger by BCS points, not just to mention more markets for viewers and fans, and the Ohio river valley to recruit.


Veteran's Day

To all current and past Veterans, I thank you for your service and sacrifices.


Alliance: C-USA and MWC

Alot still depends on what happens to the Big East despite rumored invitations to Air Force, Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Navy, and Southern Methodist. Any teams joining the Big East must realize that realignment of current Big East teams is not over. Per the West Virginia suit against the Big East state what we all know, that Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida are all leaving. In fact, there may not be a Big East football conference if the Big 12 takes Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida while the ACC (or less likely the B1G) takes Connecticut and Rutgers for 2014.

The demise of the Big East, will best position the Alliance of C-USA and MWC to gain an automatic bid to the BCS. Whether each conference should have its own championship game is open for discussion due to NCAA rules. The Alliance championship game must be played in time for the BCS selection, as well as for the loser to be directed to its own bowl. Most likely this will be the first weekend in December, same time as the other conferences championship games. If there is a conference championship game then it will occur during "rivalry weekend" of Thanksgiving. The differentiation during both weekends might favor more for the C-USA and MWC conferences: Alliance championship rather than conference championship and conference championship rather than conference rivalries. But since the schedule is moved forward one week, and since the season cannot be moved forward one week (NCAA rules) then the Alliance teams may lose its bye week.

For each conference lets look at what the membership would be like, with and without losses.

Losing Central Florida, Houston and Southern Methodist the conference could stay at 9, add one to go to 10 (Louisiana Tech from the WAC) or add three (Louisiana Tech, upcoming UT San Antonio, and Texas State, all from the WAC). The two new Texas teams could replace Houston and Southern Methodists in the division line up, while Louisiana Tech could be in the East to replace Central Florida or in the West with Tulane moving East. If the three teams lost were Central Florida, Southern Mississippi and Tulane, then the 6 Texas teams would be West, and Tulsa and Louisiana Tech would be in the East.

Losing just one team like Central Florida the conference could stay at 11 or take Louisiana Tech (WAC) to go back to 12. Of the one team lost was Tulane, then Louisiana Tech would slide right in Tulane's spot.

Losing 2 teams (Boise State and Air Force) the conference will need two replacements and again it will be the WAC that will be raided: Utah State fills a geographic deficit, leaving Idaho, New Mexico State, and San Jose State. All four teams could take the conference to 12. Its division could be split East (Colorado State, Idaho, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Utah State and Wyoming) and West (Fresno State, Hawaii, San Diego State, San Jose State, Nevada, and Nevada Las Vegas).

It is quite possible that like the Big East, the WAC could be eliminated as a football conference. I think conference consolidations from 11 to 9 could be a good thing and one step further to equalizing the conferences with a playoff or BCS.


Big 12 Realignment.

Missouri is officially going to the SEC for 2012.

That leaves the Big XII with:
Iowa State
Kansas State
Oklahoma State
Texas Christian
Texas Tech
and West Virginia.

When West Virginia can start Big XII play remains unclear as they are suing, and being counter sued, by the Big East, to start Bug XII play in 2012. A big question still as a drag out legal contest in itself, regardless of who wins, may prevent a working schedule for the Big XII play. I have no question they can play by 2013 because that is when the Big East will be reconstituted with new members, who themselves have a year hold obligation with their own current conferences.

Thus if there is only 9 teams in the Big XII then television contracts might have to be renegotiated (from the TV carriers) as I believe the threshold for this is 10 teams. The only one of the independent team is likely to be able to start conference play by 2012. Of the four, Army is not interested in any conference, Navy is being courted by the Big East, Notre Dame won't give up its independence to help out any conference, and so that leaves BYU. BYU was previously courted by the Big XII but nothing became of it for uncertain and unpublished reasons. Unpublished means that there is still an opportunity to renegotiate. Interesting enough, BYU has also been mentioned as a traveling partner for Boise State to go to the Big East. If BYU turned down the Big XII, I would be skeptical they would choose the Big East instead, but if the Big East was more pliant, then it could happen.

The Big XII needs to make a renewed push for BYU, and perhaps to entice it, consider taking Boise State as well. I understand that there is concerned about Boise State's academics, and a programs academic's reputation and standing lingers longer than on field football prowess, but as long as there is a commitment to academic excellence, it might be reasonable to consider them.

Taking both BYU and Boise State would leave the conference at 12, where the conference started in 2010. But when you rebuild, you should always look to rebuild bigger and better. Again I believe the Big XII should become the Big XIV, no later than 2014. Work today and make plans for tomorrow. Going to XIV would also allow the Big XII to renegotiate its TV contracts for more money, not just keep the same or lose (if there is only 9 teams for 2012).

Who should these 2 teams be? Again we should keep the idea of loco-regional rivalry and traveling partner in mind. Thus i propose the following "couples" in order of appeal.
1. Central Florida & South Florida. Pros: Both are reasonably competitive programs. Both are within a major media market. Both have good fan bases. Both are located in a state rich in potential recruits. Cons: Neither has a long history for football in the national college football psyche. Distance from the Big XII (though this is a minor con).
2. Cincinnati & Louisville. Pros: Both are current AQ conference members. Both are competitive in football. Both have good media markets for viewers. Both have good fan bases. Both are in the Ohio Valley region for recruiting purposes. And both are ready and willing. In addition, Louisville has an excellent basketball program. Cons: While competitive, neither has a long history for football in the national college football psyche.
3. Southern Mississippi & Tulane. Pros: Both are in good football recruiting areas of the Southeastern Conference. Southern Mississippi has a long tradition of football competitiveness and Tulane has a long tradition for academics as an AAU member. Cons: Southern Mississippi has a decent fan base but no significant TV market. Tulane is in a good TV market but with a small fan base, it is unclear they can deliver viewers.
4. Colorado State & Wyoming. Pros: Both are neighboring states. Both has decent fan bases (similar in size to Louisville & Cincinnati). Colorado State is in a former Big XII state with likely many Big XII viewers already. Wyoming has the Wyoming market locked up. Cons: Neither are in good media market. While decent, neither are particularly strong on the football field. Neither are in states rich with recruits.
5. Houston & Southern Methodist. Pros: Both are competitive on the field. Both are in good media markets. Cons: Both are in Texas where there is already 4 Big XII teams so unclear whether there will be a gain in viewers, fans or recruits. Both have relatively small fan bases and thus may not deliver their media market.
6. Rice & Tulane. Pros: Both are AAU members. Both are in good media markets. Cons: Both are poor football performers. Both have small fan base and thus may not deliver their media market.

So a reconfigured Big XII
Division A & Division B (as annual cross division rivalry games)
Kansas State & Kansas (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
Baylor & Texas Christian (Great Revival since 1899)
Iowa State & West Virginia

the additions:
Brigham Young & Boise State
Central Florida & South Florida
Cincinnati & Louisville
Tulane & Southern Mississippi
Colorado State & Wyoming
Southern Methodist & Houston
Rice & Tulane

1. Interesting enough, taking Central Florida & South Florida as well as Cincinnati & Louisville will likely kill off the Big East before they can reform. Then their BCS Auto Qualifier can go to the MWC & C-USA Alliance Champion.
2. The two matched teams, being loco-regional rivalries, should try to stagger their home games so that in any fall weekends, there will be a nearby Big 12 game within driving distance, whether it be in Provo or Boise, Orlando or Tampa Bay, Cincinnati or Louisville, New Orleans or Hattiesburg, Fort Collins or Laramie, Dallas and Houston, or Houston & New Orleans.
3. Alternative pairings would be BYU & WVU (West & East) and Iowa State & Tulane (North & South). All pairings should be somewhat competitive.
4. My preferred are Cincinnati & Louisville and Rice & Tulane.


Big 12 Expansion: WVU sues the Big East

With the threat of Mizzou's impeding move, the Big 12 may only have 9 teams for 2012, which appears to put them at jeopardy for meeting their end of the TV contract. This is why they have been talking about Mizzou playing in 2012. As a fail safe they approach BYU but that has hit an impasse. Then they approach the next teams on their list, WVU and Louisville. WVU was willing to try to get out of the Big East in time for 2012 play so here we are. WVU has filed a lawsuit to leave the Big East before the 27 months hold and start Big 12 play in 2012.

Without this lawsuit, the Big East would have rebuilt itself for 2013 play, and the all the Big East teams who wanted out would likely have been out by 2013 rather than 2014. So in all likelihood this lawsuit makes for a 1 year difference. The Big 12 could have taken a harder look for a 2013 arrival while continuing to work on BYU. The Big 12 could and should have worked harder to keep Missouri. All the same time they could have taken Louisville, Cincinnati and WVU and declare the Big 12 is becoming the Big 14 by 2014. Any TV contract problems with 9 members should Missouri leaves could have been renegotiated in light of a forth comming Big 14.

This 27 month clause is similar to the 1 year clause by the C-USA, and even the 6 years tier 1 & tier 2 ownership clause by the Big 12. WVU was a willing participant of the 27 months Big East clause, as it is now a willing participant of the 6 years media ownership clause of the Big 12. These clauses serve the conference members by insuring short term stability, and enough time for the conference to reconstitute itself. I think this lawsuit really put WVU, and the Big 12, in a bad light. I am thinking when will WVU do the same to the Big 12. I am thinking how manipulative the Big 12 appears. The Big 1G, the ACC, the SEC, and the Pac10 did not need any such shenanigans.


Big East: Rebuild for Synergy

The Big East is having a tough year. So far three football programs have officially declared their departure (Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia) and three more are looking to leave (Cincinnati, Connecticut, and Louisville). To rebuild, the Big East is looking to rebuild with teams like Air Force, Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Navy, Southern Methodist, and possibly Army and Temple. Of these I do not believe Air Force or Boise State will join up. In fact, the target goal of the new Big East is 12 teams; I think they should plan for 14 just in case Louisville and Cincinnati both decides to leave. The teams under consideration are the best available from the C-USA, MAC, and independents but I believe additional teams should be considered.

There are no major teams left but the Big East did pretty good taking C-USA teams and with a higher level of competition, made them more competitive (Cincinnati, Louisville, and USF all come to mind) if not on the field definitely on college football fans' awareness. The best way to rebuild the Big East is to make sure that TVs are tuned to Big East games. Major media market are needed but rather than spread out to cover more markets, major markets within "reach" should be saturated. By this I mean have two Big East teams to cover each market so that each fall weekend a Big East game is played loco-regionally. The two teams thus should alternate home games for the season, with one game against each other to open the season. Once awareness is maintained or even raised, it will be easier to recruit and thus build better teams in the process.

Thus I propose the following. Listed are two teams set for synergy, each will play each other once a year every year but will be in different divisions of the Big East. Each team will also play 5-6 in division games (5 for a Big East with 12 teams, 6 for a Big East with 14 teams) as well as 2 rotating cross division games (staggered for a home and away game each). I have arranged the divisions based also on each team's average ranking from 1960-2010 as listed at mcubed. I have also included two teams making the transition from D2 to D1 for their geography, Villanova and UMass (both in italics below). These two teams will be placed in separate divisions. A contest should be conducted to name the two divisions as they will not be amenable to East & West or North & South. In the list, current Big East programs are in bold. Since in basketball divisions will not matter so much as all teams can play each other, the basketball only non-football programs are not listed.

Division A & Division B (mcubed average ranking 1960-2010)
Cincinnati (67.1) & Louisville (63.3) [Ohio Valley]
Connecticut (69.3) & Massachusetts (NA) [New England]
Buffalo (96.7) & Rutgers (73.2) [New York & Jersey]
South Florida (46.3) & Central Florida (72.3) [Florida]
Southern Methodist (69.3) & Houston (53.1) [Texas]
Villanova (89.9) & Temple (76.4) [Philadelphia]
Navy (68.7) & Army (80.5) [Military]
Average mcubed (72.5) & (69.8)

The two matched programs should open conference play with each other. Given inclusion of a bye week, all Big East programs can open conference play over two weekends. To foster a sense of rivalry and Big East conference should pay for a trophy of some sort trophy to represent these games but allow the two teams to name the trophy. The Big East would be smart to award the winner of the trophy a donation to their general scholarship fund ($10k+?). A scholarship contribution would make it more than a game trophy and get buy in from students (prospective, current, and alumni) and faculty. The Big East would be extra smart if it uses the exit fee money from teams leaving to create an endowment fund for a "Big East" scholarship at each schools (to remain at each school as long as they are members). The rivalry game prize money would go into this endowment fund. All this would generate a certain buzz and allow the Big East to market their conference play openers.

The Big East should also open conference play with the annual cross division rivalry games because it is possible that both teams could become division champions and a rematch could occur in the Big East championship game. Better to put as many games between their first encounter and their last encounter.

This Big East does not guarantee an automatic bid to the BCS (average rankings for the new Big East is 71.3 as compared to 57 for the old) but it does help lay a foundation for a good conference. How so? Well in addition to markets and marketing opportunities, this Big East will also have footprints in 5 of the top 10 states for for football recruitment according to Rivals (#1 Texas, #2 Florida, #5 Ohio, #6 Pennsylvania, and #10 New Jersey. The Big East has to rebuild for the long term.

Additional Notes.
1. The new Big East could start play in 2013 or 2014, depending on when they let out exiting members.
2. Average travel for both divisions are similar, both contain the Ohio Valley, New England, Florida, Texas and Philadelphia.
3. Both Buffalo and Rutgers are AAU members and are matched against each other.
4. If both Cincinnati and Louisville leave, the conference would still be OK with 12 teams.
5. If Boise State and Air Force joins, they would be set as cross division rivals.
6. If Notre Dame stays, their football team should play 4-6 games against Big East programs. This would help strength of schedule as well as another marketing opportunity.


Big 14 in 2014

News came today that West Virginia University has been accepted into the Big 12 in July 2012. Interesting enough, the long anticipated Missouri's departure to the SEC still has not happened. The word is that the Big 12 is to stay at 10 teams for now. I just don't see that happening. Firstly, how can WVU join in 2012 when the Big East will hold all members to the 27 months notification. Sure WVU will try to renegotiate their exit terms but the Big East can only lose to allow any team to leave before the Big East is ready. Definitely a domino concern is in play as one team leaving early will mean three teams leaving early, which may leave the Big East short of 8 teams necessary to be a NCAA conference. Secondly, why unlikely, Missouri may still stay in the Big 12. Finally, I believe the current TV contract specifies 12 teams and a minimum of 10. Come time to renew and renegotiate the TV contract time returns in 6 years the Big 12 will be certainly negotiate based on the number of teams they have. Numbers provide for both stability and profit.

Thus I believe if Mizzou leaves and West Virginia cannot play in 2012 the Big 12 will need another team for 2012. I also believe that if Mizzou stays the Big 12 will be at 11 and will then consider adding another team to go to 12. Big 12 expansion will not end with West Virginia. Going to 14 however is another matter and in part will depends on what happens with between Missouri leaving and West Virginia playing, i.e. team 11 (with WVU being team 10 to replace Missouri). Team 11 cannot come from the Big East if WVU cannot play before 2014. Brigham Young University remains in play for this reason. Notre Dame is a wish list that will not happen in 2012. If not Brigham Young then it leaves an opportunity for a C-USA team (of which I believe Tulane is the leading candidate over alternatives such as Rice, Southern Mississippi, Central Florida, or Memphis) or a MWC team (Air Force has been ruled out, leaving San Diego State, Colorado State, possibly New Mexico). Of these I think the top two for the Big 12 expansion before 2014, in order, are Brigham Young and Tulane. It is possible that the Big 12 may decide to pick up both to go to 12 rather than just one and go to 11. If invited, unlike BYU, Tulane will jump at the chance.
But when WVU cannot play in 2012 the Big 12 will have to decide whether to take any other teams from the Big East while they still can. The teams to consider then, in order, will be Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida.

So lets then look at how the Big 12 with 12 teams might be configured. In a previous post I laid out divisions based on rivalries. I still believe this is the best approach. To review, the major rivalries in the Big 12 (with Missouri as they have not left yet, but without Colorado, Nebraska, or Texas A&M) are:

Kansas & Missouri (Border War since 1891)
Texas & Oklahoma (Red River Rivalry since 1900)
Kansas & Kansas State (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)

Texas & Kansas State (Chisholm Trail since 1913)
Iowa State & Kansas State (Farmageddon since 1917)
Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
Oklahoma & Missouri (Peace Pipe since 1929)
Baylor & Texas Tech (Texas Farm Bureau Shootout since 1929)
Iowa State & Missouri (Telephone Trophy since 1959)
Texas Christian & Baylor (Great Revival since 1899)

The rivalries in bold will be used as the basis to divide the conference zipper style, with these games representing annual cross division games (an addition 2 cross division games will be rotating, along with the 5-6 in division games). As represented, the first column will represent one division and the second column the other division.

Kansas State & Kansas (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
Texas Christian & Baylor (Great Revival since 1899)
Iowa State & Missouri (Telephone Trophy since 1959)

Division A will have Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Christian, and Iowa State. Division A will also preserve the Red River rivalry (Oklahoma & Texas), the Chisholm Trail (Kansas State & Texas) and Farmageddon (Kansas State & Iowa State).
Division B will have Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor, and possibly Missouri. Division B will also preserve the Border War (Kansas & Missouri) and the Texas Farm Bureau Shootout (Texas Tech and Baylor).
One rivalry will not be preserved in this alignment, the Peace Pipe between Oklahoma and Missouri. The Chisholm Trail predates this rivalry and since Missouri may leave I thought it better to preserve the Chisholm Trail over the Peace Pipe rivalry.

With just WVU replacing Missouri there would be no reason to have divisions at 10 teams. But if Missouri stay the Big 12 will take one more, lets say either BYU or Tulane, then I would arrange the following matches:

Kansas State & Kansas
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
Texas & Texas Tech
Texas Christian & Baylor
Iowa State & Missouri
Brigham Young/Tulane & West Virginia

If Missouri leaves but WVU cannot play till 2014, and the Big 12 takes 1-2 for 2012, and with WVU go to 12 for 2014, then the following could be considered. I am certain the Big 12 will go back to at least 12.

Kansas State & Kansas
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
Texas & Texas Tech
Texas Christian & Baylor
Iowa State & Tulane (both AAU, both fairly matched in competitiveness)
Brigham Young & West Virginia (both fairly matched in average ranking from 1960-2010 at 42.9 and 40.4, both extreme geographic ends of the Big 12)

Now if the Big 12 decides on more Big East teams than just WVU, then take the match set of Louisville & Cincinnati (the Keg of Nail rivalry). The Big 14 cross division would be zippered as follows:

Kansas State & Kansas
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
Texas & Texas Tech
Texas Christian & Baylor
Iowa State & Tulane
BYU & West Virginia
Cincinnati & Louisville

A solid conference in football, basketball, market reach, and overall quality. This is my preferred Big 14.

Should BYU not join, then I believe the Big 12 will take Tulane to go to 10 till the Big East teams joins. In addition to Louisville & Cincinnati, the Big 12 should consider South Florida as their average ranking (1960-2010) is 46.3, and will give the Big 12 direct entry and presence in the Florida market for viewers and recruitment. The Big 14 in 2014 thus could be:

Kansas State & Kansas
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
Texas & Texas Tech
Texas Christian & Baylor
Iowa State & Tulane
South Florida & West Virginia
Cincinnati & Louisville
A pretty damn fine conference as well.

But if there is a chance Missouri stays, this is what the Big 14 in 2014 should look like:
Kansas & Kansas State
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
Texas & Texas Tech
Texas Christian & Baylor
Iowa State & Tulane
Missouri & West Virginia
Cincinnati & Louisville


College Football Big 12 Realignment & Provisional Membership

No Big East teams will be a replacement for Missouri in the Big 12 because of their 27 months hold with the SEC. Missouri say if they leave they will leave to play elsewhere in 2012, which means the Big 12 will take a team that can start conference play in 2012. Even if Missouri does not leave till 2013, the Big East teams will not be available till 2014. This is where BYU comes in and probably why they are still being pursued. BYU can probably start conference play in 2012 and definitely by 2013 if they choose to join.

If the Big 12 decides to take the Big East teams anyway, which is what I hope the Big 12 does and go to 14 ("Big 14" is owned by the Big 12) then taking WVU, Louisville, and Cincinnati would be preferred as a package rather than just two of the three, as along with Iowa State would allow for future regional play as well as concentration of geography within the B1F footprint. These three teams may not start Big 12 conference play until 2014, 2013 at the earliest. Thus i see an opportunity for a program to demonstrate its commitment to taking it to "Big 14" level. Such a program would have to start this year and demonstrate itself over the next year or two. Think of it as a provisional membership plan?

For programs currently weak in football play but with excellent academics, the program needs to show commitment to improving itself, partly through on field performance, but more so through building athletic infrastructures such as an on campus stadium of sufficient size and other athletic facilities, coaching hires and staffs, and general support from the institution to its athletic program (not just football). It may also be easier for a strong academic program to commit to academic because academic is the true raison d'etre for universities. If mission one is already accomplished, then mission two, brand building will come easier. For most university, brand building is easiest with athletics. If for simplicity rating programs for good academics uses AAU membership, then there would be three available AAU programs outside of AQ conference: Buffalo, Rice, and Tulane. Buffalo is probably too far away, thus leaving Rice and Tulane.

For programs currently strong in football play but weak in academics, it will need to demonstrate a commitment to improving its academic. This means faculty recruitment, grants awards, and quality improvements. Since most programs are likely doing what it can already to improve academics, I do not see these programs as viable provisional members. When you get down to it there is only one program in this category: Boise State. They have an excellent football program but relatively weak in their academic. I do not think Boise State can do much in the next few years.

Then there are programs lacking excellence in academic and football, but are decent in both. To build up both athletic and academic at the same time is a Herculean effort. They would have to be on the cusp, just needing a bit more time and a bit more resources. The only program that springs to mind is Florida International, strong in academic and in a good geography to build their athletic (Florida).

Another consideration is private programs vs public program. In this consideration the private program will have an edge. For a public institution to increase its effort for academic of athletic will require support from the state government and I just do not see this happening. With the current state of the economy, falling tax collection and government deficit, most state governments would be hard press to commit more money to athletic program building. While the state of the economy is poor for private institution as well, their alumni base may be better positioned tax wise to donate, as well as a desire to see their alma mater compete better.

In final consideration, if the Big 14 does consider provisional membership, the following programs have an opportunity and I list them in order: Tulane, Rice, Buffalo, and Florida Atlantic.


Big 12 Old and New by the Numbers

The Big 12 took a huge hit losing Nebraska, Texas A&M, Colorado, and possibly Missouri. To even get close to where it was it needs 14 teams. The lost is felt across the board in football competitiveness, fan base, money, and AAU.

None of the potential Big 12 candidates individually comes close to a Nebraska, Texas A&M, Colorado, or Missouri. They are all mixed bags.

BYU is a good addition if it happens, as BYU is a competitive program in football and strong in academic endowment though not AAU. BYU though can gain viewers in Utah as well as nationally.
Boise State is competitive athletics but weak in academic. There are few viewers in Idaho but they do have a national presence now.
Cincinnati is a solid pick with decent competitiveness, fans and money (more than BYU). They also bring part of the Ohio market.
Colorado State is decent in competitiveness, fans and money. The Colorado market may be primed for a Big 12 presence after the lost of Colorado. There are many Big 12 fans there who are not Colorado U fans.
Louisville is also decent in football competitiveness, fans, though less money than Cincinnati but more than Colorado State. Louisville is also a decent market for the Big 12 to gain.
New Mexico is a weak competitor, few fans, and little money. They are a neighboring state to the Big 12 though with a decent market in Albuquerque.
Southern Mississippi is a strong competitor and has a decent fan base but little money. The market is small and behind Mississippi and Mississippi State. But Mississippi brings the Big 12 that much closer to Florida, a huge market and recruitment ground for players.
Tulane is a weak competitor, small fan base, but good endowment and AAU. Tulane is also in New Orleans a very good market and destination. The Big 12 can afford a few weak competitor who are good academics and bring new market to the league. The Big 12 already has plenty of competitive programs on the field and may need to replenish its AAU memberships.
West Virginia is a strong competitor, large fan base, and decent money but not a strong academic nor a large market. The market is decent if you include Pittsburgh and Northern Virginia though.
SMU and Houston were not included in the analysis because there are already 4 Texas teams and neither would bring new market share.

Overall I would rate the contenders in the following order.
1. BYU
2. WVU
3. Cincinnati
4. Louisville
5. Tulane
6. Boise State
7. Southern Mississippi
8. Colorado State
9. New Mexico

BYU and WVU would become matched rivals for cross division annual play. Same with Cincinnati and Louisville (Keg of Nails since 1929). If Tulane replaces Missouri, then Tulane would be matched with Iowa State. All seems like good matches to me.


Big 12 Should Look East

News today is that the Big East plans to go to 12 football teams. Their options are limited however with candidates like Air Force, Army, Navy, Temple, East Carolina, Central Florida, Houston and SMU. None of the teams mentioned are from Automatic Qualifying conferences, but teams mentioned (with the omission of Boise State and BYU) are among the best of the rest. If the Big 12 rest at 10, then the opportunity to take teams from the Big East, or these "best of the rest" will be severely limited.

When the Big 12 expands back up to 12, and possibly 14 (given the Big 12 currently owns the copy rights to Big 14), the expansions should consider new markets for both football as well as basketball, major metropolitan areas, and academics. While final decisions cannot come until Missouri decides whether to leave to the SEC or not, the Big 12 expanding to at least 12 now might entice Missouri to stay. Given all these considerations, the Big 12 should move now rather than later.

Which way to expand? If the Big 12 looks to improve both its football and basketball footprints, then it should look to what conference currently are strong in football and basketball. This means Big 10 and SEC for football and ACC and Big East for basketball. All these states are east of the current Big 12 footprint, not west. All these states also have higher population densities than the states west of the Big 12. While geographic continuity should be considered, there are options eastward the Big 12 should consider.

Firstly, I favor the Big 12 inviting at least Louisville and Cincinnati now. Both have reasonably competitive athletics, both have reasonable academics, and both are in complementary population markets. Both straddle the Big 10 and SEC footprints, allowing the Big 12 higher visibility in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. West Virginia should also be considered if Missouri leaves and the SEC does not pick up West Virginia though this is mostly a football gain only. It is important to remember that the Big East programs needs to give 27 months notice, and may not be available for Big 12 conference play until the 2014 season.

Secondly, the Big 12 should consider penetrating the SEC territory by considering Tulane and Southern Mississippi. Tulane has strong academics and appears interested in strengthening its athletics. Tulane is AAU to replace the AAU that are lost (Colorado, TA&M, Missouri, and "Nebraska"). Southern Mississippi is strong in football, a rival for Tulane, and moves the Big 12 a bit closer to Florida, a major recruiting field and leaves option for addition of Florida teams in the future.

I think the Big 12 will lose out if it does not move ahead of the Big East. BYU and Boise State can both wait and be added later.


Big 12 Reorganization.

With the Big 12 inviting TCU and TCU accepting membership, it looks like the Big 12 has at least stabilized some (pending Missouri's decision, which I hope and expect to remain with the Big 12). Additional candidates are likely to go to 12 if not 14. I think this would be a good time to look at the organization for division formation. Previously with 12 teams, it was a North vs South with the line drawn between Kansas and Oklahoma. This geography would be hard to re-establish, and an East-West split would also constrain current rivalries as well as future additions. Witness the SEC with 13 teams, 7 West and 6 East. Either the SEC will have to redraw its division if it adds Missouri, or be constrained to take a team to the East (West Virginia? Virginia Tech? Miami? A North Carolina team?). And then what would have to change when it feels 16 teams is needed? Redrawing division lines while preserving traditional rivalries will be difficult for any conference. Thus the Big 12 should give serious consideration now, before it has divisions, as to how the divisions should be drawn to accommodate future growth.

While conference realignment appears largely about money, the best thing about college sports is rivalries and these must be preserved in any division alignments. Thus if rivalries are to be preserved, why not build divisions around rivalries? Currently in the Big 12 there are the following rivalries, from oldest to youngest (rivalries with Texas A&M not included).
Kansas & Missouri (Border War since 1891)
Texas & Oklahoma (Red River Rivalry since 1900)
Kansas & Kansas State (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
Texas & Kansas State (Chisholm Trail since 1913)
Iowa State & Kansas State (Farmageddon since 1917)
Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
Oklahoma & Missouri (Peace Pipe since 1929)
Baylor & Texas Tech (Texas Farm Bureau Shootout since 1929)
Iowa State & Missouri (Telephone Trophy since 1959).

As can seen in the above, keeping all the rivalries within one division will not be practical. There are two kinds of rivalries, intra-state and inter-states. Since there are more inter-state rivalries, and rivalries should be annual games, it makes more sense to build divisions based on inter state rivalries and keeping intra state state rivalries as an annual inter-division game. With this format the following intra-state rivalries will split the conference into two.
Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
Kansas & Kansas State
Texas & Texas Tech

Around this we will add inter-state rivals, keeping interstate rivals in the same division. In the South we have Oklahoma & Texas (so Oklahoma and Texas should be in the same division). In the North we have Kansas & Missouri and Missouri & Oklahoma (so these 3 teams should be in the same division). The result is Division A: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas with Division B: Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. Given that both Iowa State and Missouri do not have in state and in conference rivals, and they are rivals as well, the two will be matched as cross division rivals. Now Division B has Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. There remains two teams for placement, Texas Christian and Baylor. Texas Christian has an 106 games rivalry with Baylor and a 51 games rivalry with Texas Tech. Baylor has a 67 games rivalry with Texas Tech. Thus Texas Christian and Baylor should be in opposite divisions, with Baylor in the same division as Texas Tech.
Thus we end with:
Division A: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Christian.
Division B: Baylor, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech.

The balance of power appears to favor Division A (with current upper powers Oklahoma and Texas and mid powers Missouri and Texas Christian) over Division B (with current upper power Oklahoma State and mid powers Kansas State and possibly Texas Tech). But power rankings will change from season to season. Besides, with cross division rivalries, all the strong teams from one division will play against the other division teams as well. With expansion to 12 or 14, addressing power imbalance can occur.

Each year each team should play its cross division rival to open conference play. Playing your cross division rival first because should a set of cross division rivals end up being division champions, their rematch in the division championship would come after all conference plays have occurred. It would also be a great way to start conference play.
Baylor opens with Texas Christian.
Iowa State opens with Missouri.
Kansas opens with Kansas State.
Kansas State opens with Kansas.
Missouri opens with Iowa State.
Oklahoma opens with Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State opens with Oklahoma.
Texas opens with Texas Tech.
Texas Christian opens with Baylor.
Texas Tech opens with Texas.

Another benefit to divisions based on rival is that travel cost for each team also averages out more evenly. In the old Big 12 division the southern teams had a shorter distance to travel (Oklahoma and Texas) while the northern teams had longer travel distance (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska). In a division of rivals both divisions have Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas with one also has Iowa while the other Missouri. I also see this as enhancing the smaller state's presence within more populous Texas for exposure, fan building, and recruitment.

With a conference built on rivalries, any additions to the Big 12 should thus be recruited as rivals set. For instance Louisville + Cincinnati (or West Virginia), BYU + Boise State (or West Virginia), Tulane + Southern Mississippi, etc. The rivals division is practical for 12 or 14 teams arrangement. It will need a bit of tweaking for 16 teams though.

Finally, each conference teams should try to cultivate annual extra-conference rivalries. For instance Iowa State and Iowa, Texas and Texas A&M, Texas Christian and Southern Methodist, and Texas Tech and New Mexico. Of the expansion candidates, it would be BYU v Utah (or Boise State), Louisville vs Kentucky, WVU vs Pittsburgh, and Tulane vs LSU for instance. These inter-conference games would highlight the conferences against each other at the beginning of the season, whereas bowl games will highlight them at the end.


Big 12 Expansion Candidates

The Big 12 will expand this season, taking in my opinion 3-6 teams (depending on whether Missouri leaves or not) and will soon have 12+ members again. This means an 8-9 games conference schedule. Any expansion candidates must consider this schedule, leaving only 2-3 non conference games available. Some of these non-conference games must include games against national and regional rivals. Regional rivals are particularly important to establish a regional presence to build both a fan base and capture media market. Local fans are the most important as they will attend games, buy team related products. A large local fans base will also force more media attention and service.

The leading candidate so far is BYU. BYU has the largest sporting presence in Utah as well as a national presence. Their non conference games would include Boise State, Utah, and possibly one other. These regional non-conference games will certainly help BYU to deliver Utah.

If the Big 12 wants geographical continuity with BYU as well as regain the Colorado market, it must consider a Colorado program. Colorado left the Big 12 for the Pac 12 will not be coming back. That leaves the Air Force Academy or Colorado State. The available number of non-conference games almost certainly rule out Air Force Academy. Air Force will want to play Army and Navy each year. Air Force has also been a frequent competitor of Notre Dame. For Air Force to grab the Colorado market, it must also play against instate rivals Colorado and Colorado State. This is particularly true for Air Force because despite being in Colorado, it neither recruits nor serves Colorado. Both Colorado and Colorado State thus must be a part of the non-conference schedule. Playing both of these Colorado teams along with Army and Navy just is not practical. On the other hand Colorado State non-conference schedule would include the biggest sporting event in Colorado when it plays against the University of Colorado. It would also highlight a Big 12 vs Pac 12 rivalry (similar to a Iowa State vs Iowa game). Colorado State other rivalry with Wyoming would also help deliver the Colorado market. My analysis would favor Colorado State rather than Air Force for the Colorado market.

Another populous state with potential for cross conference rivalry is Louisiana. Here I think Tulane is our best option for the Big 12. Tulane is an AAU member. Tulane is a well established institution in New Orleans and a historical rival to LSU. True Tulane is not very competitive on the field but teams get better by playing against good teams regularly (which the current even shrunken Big 12 has plenty of) and by investing in its athletic program financially. Being a part of an Automatic Qualifying conference will bring more experience and money to Tulane. Given that Tulane is fairly well established in academics, there would be less of an issue for Tulane to put more money into Athletics. Tulane's non-conference rivalries with LSU and Southern Mississippi would certainly help gain viewers in the southern Gulf coast region. The alternative program to Tulane in Louisiana is Louisiana Tech. However, Louisiana Tech is not located in a major metropolitan area, not strong in academic, and doesn't have as much of a presence as Tulane. Tulane was recently mentioned as a potential candidate and they should be considered.

New Mexico might be a consideration but this should be a last resort to fill a gap and round out conference membership to an even number rather than a primary or even secondary target for expansion. There are two teams in New Mexico, University of New Mexico and New Mexico State. Neither are academically outstanding and both have equivalent metropolitan area (Albuquerque and Las Cruces + El Paso). Albuquerque might be a reasonable consideration. A better choice for the Las Cruces + El Paso market would be UTEP rather than New Mexico State. New Mexico could have an outside shot at being considered for the Big 12.

UTEP really doesn't add much to the Big 12 that it doesn't already own in Texas. The top 3 teams in Texas are UT, TA&M, and TTU. TA&M is now lost to the SEC. TCU might be a consideration in that it is the only remaining Texas team with a national recognition. However, SMU isn't so far behind and nor is Houston. Perhaps the best reason to take TCU is to deny the Big East a Texas presence. Of the remaining Big 12 states none have any in state options of note. Of the surrounding states there really no viable options either beyond those mentioned above(Colorado State, Tulane, and New Mexico), whether it be Arkansas, Arizona, the Dakotas or Wyoming.

There is the option of raiding the Big East by taking Louisville, Cincinnati, and even West Virginia. I seriously doubt the Big East will fold any time soon. In addition, if Missouri leaves, these 3 Big East programs will be even less attractive. There won't be geographical continuity. Missouri in this sense is the Big 12's gateway east and these 3 school's gateway west.

Looking West there remains Boise State. Though a very competitive football program, unfortunately Boise State doesn't offer much else, whether it be academic, geographical proximity, or regional media market. However, like New Mexico, Boise State will be considered as a filler team.

In summary, my assessment of expansion candidates for the Big 12 are:
Tier 1: BYU (to replace TA&M)
Tier 2: Louisville, Cincinnati, WVU, (only if Missouri stays, and even so, unlikely)
Tier 3: TCU, Colorado State, and Tulane
Tier 4: Boise State, New Mexico
I can see the Big 12 going to 14 for both stability (should another team leaves) as well as parity with the ACC and the SEC. I do not see the Big 12 going to 16 because there isn't a reason to yet, and because when the time come, a 14 teams big 12 will be in a stronger position to take better candidates than it can now. My 14 are: all the current Big 12 (including Missouri), BYU, TCU, Colorado State, Tulane, and Louisville.


Palin is not running for President

Too bad. I will vote for anyone but Obama but count me out of the campaign season otherwise.


College Football Conference Expansions, the Big Picture

Though it did not come to pass, there was a substantial amount of buzz regarding super-conferences his past months. I assume that super-conferences will be 16 teams in size. I do not assume there will be just 4 super conferences because of the BCS bowls. There are currently 4 BCS bowls, the Fiesta, the Orange, the Rose, and the Sugar. These four bowls then rotate hosting a fifth bowl for the championship game. Currently the Cotton bowl is negotiating for inclusion as a BCS bowl. There is substantial money associated with the BCS bowls and they will not be going away any time soon. This means there will be 5-6 BCS games each year, and 10-12 teams. To prevent anti-trust, there must me 1-2 open slots for non-automatic qualifying conferences. This leaves 8-10 automatic invites to be divided, likely among 5-6 super conferences. It seems more likely that the six automatic qualifying conferences will become super conferences then one or more of the non-automatic qualifying conferences gaining super conference status and gain automatic qualifying status. In addition, the automatic qualifying conferences have better teams, at least in football, on average than the non-automatic qualifying conferences. For most schools though, football brings in the majority of the income.
Given these consideration, the only driver for conference expansion is to gain television market share without damaging the character of the conference as is. Each conference's character is a varying combination of athletic competitiveness, academic standing, and regionality. Another assumption is that not all conferences are equal and the stronger conferences will have more influence to expand over weaker ones.

The top conference is the Big 10. All of the Big 10 members are institution of significant academic standing and members of the Association of American Universities (AAU). The Big 10 is also based around the Midwest of the US, thus any future members must also be geographically connected to the Midwest yet at the same time increase its market share. If you look at the list of AAU universities not already in the Big 10 but within geographic fit, there are only 4: Iowa State, Rutgers, University of Buffalo, University of Missouri, and the University of Pittsburgh. Of these I believe Pittsburgh and Missouri would be the best fit as Pittsburgh has 2,050 millions followed by Mizzou has 974 millions in endowment, compared to 640 millions for Rutgers, 566 millions for Buffalo, and 508 millions for Iowa State, the Big 10 on average for endowment is 2.264 million dollars. Both Pittsburgh and Missouri would bring major media markets (Pittsburgh, St Louis and Kansas City) and are very much Midwestern. While Rutgers is located in a major media market, neither it nor Iowa State has a very large fan base to carry the market. By this analysis in the NYT, Missouri has a nearly 1.1 million fan base and Pittsburgh as nearly 0.9 million fans. Rutgers has over 0.9 million fans compared to 0.5 millions for Iowa State and 0.2 for Buffalo. Buffalo, with a relatively low endowment fund, small fan base, and not currently in not in a BCS automatic conference (Buffalo is in the Mid-American Conference) will be the weakest candidate for the Big 10. The strongest are Pittsburgh and Missouri. Pittsburgh has recently shifted from the Big East to the ACC and Missouri is currently in the Big 12. Interesting enough the remaining two schools are also in the Big 12 (Iowa State) and the Big East (Rutgers). The big 10, sitting on top with 12 teams should have no urgency to expand.

Next up is the SEC. The SEC recently accepted Texas A&M as its 13th member, and is likely looking for at least a 14th if not 15th and 16th. Given that the conference is currently divided East West, the 13th team will likely be an eastern team. The most attractive candidates are Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia Tech (all from the ACC), South Florida (Big East), and Central Florida (C-USA). Both South Florida and Central Florida are geographically too close to University of Florida and will not add much in terms of television markets and are both unlikely candidate. That leaves the ACC schools and with the new 20 million exit fees, it will be a difficult poach but it will be possible. Of these ACC schools, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, and North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech is least wedded to the ACC being among its newest members. Miami also has a huge fan base (1.3 millions compared to 1.7 for Clemson and 1.6 for Georgia Tech) and adds the populous south Florida market for the SEC. Miami however has a certain reputation as manifested by their current troubles with the NCAA. Virginia Tech also has a large fan base, same as Miami at 1.3 millions and gives the SEC a place in Virginia. However, Virginia Tech may want to bring Virginia with them. West Virginia (oft mentioned as a potential candidate) is neither a good geographical fit nor does it add much to the TV market. Virginia Tech also has a large fan base, same as Miami at 1.3 millions and gives the SEC a place in Virginia. However, Virginia Tech may want to bring Virginia with them. Missouri, another currently cited potential candidate, would force reformation of the East-West divisions, is not a better candidate than Virginia Tech or Miami. For 15th and 16th, Missouri will be considered, but so will TCU and SMU to further expand the Texas reach for the SEC. If TCU is still available it will be preferable to SMU In the East it will likely be a program in North Carolina to extend the geography of the conference. By 15th and 16th, the conference may be able to focus more on geographic expansion and be less rigorous on athletic competitiveness so the likes of SMU and perhaps even Eastern Carolina University (both from the C-USA) might be considered. But the SEC will be under no pressure to expand to 15 or 16.

What is left of the ACC will be considered next. Though standing at 14 teams now with their recent raids for Pittsburgh and Syracuse, they may still lose programs to other conferences (Pittsburgh to the Big 10 and Miami to the SEC). For quality programs they will have to continue to raid the Big East with occasional consideration for the C-USA. From the Big East already Rutgers and Connecticut have expressed interests (with 0.9 and 0.6 million fans respectively). These two teams will consolidate the North East reach for the ACC. Other teams to be considered will be South Florida (also Big East) or Central Florida (C-USA). The Florida programs (both with about 0.5 millions fan) will only be considered if the ACC loses either or both Pittsburgh and Miami.

Though the Big 12 might be a stronger football conference, the Pac 12 is currently more stable and will be considered next. The Pac-16 is the most stable conference west of the Mississippi and is highly unlikely to lose any members. This year it tried to raid the nearest automatic qualifying conference, the Big 12, but came up short, mostly because of the egos of the teams being considered (Texas primarily but also to a lesser extent Oklahoma). The Pac 12 will likely have problems finding quality programs for expansion, and will have to look at the Mountain West and the Western Athletic. The Pac 12 has already own nearly all the major media markets west of the Rockies and there are few media markets left to expand into. The candidates are BYU, Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, UNLV (all with the exception of BYU are Mountain West Conference). Note that like the Big 10 the Pac 12 does not have to expand.

The Big 12 survived a scare this month and would have ceased to exist as an automatic qualifying conference had Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech all left for the Pac 12. I have blogged about what the Big 12 needs to do to remain viable and competitive as a major conference. The Big 12 will need to expand to move forward, and given the continued risk of losing members (Missouri and Texas) the Big 12 should look to go to 14 rather than stop at 12. The three teams to round out the conference should be announced before the regular season ends; the additional two teams for 14 can wait till after the bowl games. The next three has to be viewed as competitive football teams to shore up the image of the conference viability. I believe two of these three should be BYU and TCU. Both teams have strong national awareness. BYU is an independent that really would prefer to be part of an automatic qualifying conference, would join the Big 12, and add the Utah market. TCU is in transition to the Big East and given how moribund the Big East appears currently, would also gladly prefer to play within its geographical foot print of Texas. The conference would also be better with 4 Texas teams to give it the options for a division split evenly through Texas (TTU & TCU west, UT & Baylor east). Of the currently available Texas teams, TCU is by far the best, better than SMU, Houston, Rice, or UTEP. The twelfth team in my opinion should be Boise State rather than Air Force or Louisville. Boise State is a competitive team that would provide a local competitor for BYU. Air Force has half the fan base of Boise State ( 0.2 millions compared to nearly 0.5) and less competitive. Air Force is also being courted by the Big East and there is no point in a bidding war for a second choice. Louisville has a good fan base (0.6 millions) and is geographically connected to the Big 12 via Missouri. I think Louisville could work but I view Boise State, being a western team, would be a better fit than a more Midwest Louisville. I am also certain the Big East would do what it can to keep Louisville. For team 13 and 14 the Big 12 can concentrate more for market share and worry less about team competitiveness (given a conference already has Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, and adding BYU and TCU, possibly Boise State. Market consideration will consider national fan base, local and state appeal, entry into a competitor media market, as well as academic. Top of my list for 13th would be Louisville with Tulane an alternative. Tulane has a small fan base (0.1 millions) but sits in New Orleans and Louisiana, an adjacent market that sits within the SEC and LSU media market. Tulane is also an AAU school with a large endowment of 800 millions and would thus increase the academic profile for the conference. The 14th team needs to be a Colorado school to provide western balance for an eastern Tulane, regain the lost Colorado market and compete with new Pac 12 member University of Colorado. The choice then is between Colorado State and Air Force. Both have about the same fan base (0.2 millions) with Air Force having a better national reputation but the Colorado versus Colorado State annual game is a biggest draw in Denver. Colorado State also has the largest endowment in the Mountain West at an acceptable 400 millions, along with 300 millions in research money. Compared to the state of Colorado, neither New Mexico nor Wyoming compare in either game play or television markets.

The Big East might not survive, currently down to 6 members with the loss of Pittsburgh and Syracuse and at risk for losing Connecticut, Rutgers, as well as Louisville. West Virginia is unlikely to leave, not because it doesn't want to, but because like Oklahoma, it has little options. West Virginia is not attractive to the Big 10, and doesn't add enough to the SEC or even the ACC. To be seen as viable the Big East must expand to 12, possibly 14. However, going to 12 means adding 6 new teams, nearly doubling its remaining members. Though TCU is expected to come on board, I suspect they will instead move to the Big 12. For expansion Army, Navy, Air Force and Temple are all mentioned as potential candidates and I believe these will all be good addition for the Big East, with possibly the exception being Air Force for geographical consideration. Some other teams that should be considered are Buffalo (from the MAC), Central Florida, East Carolina, possibly Memphis (from the C-USA), and Florida International (Sun Belt). Buffalo is an AAU program with strong academic and is nearby to Syracuse, a departing Big East member, and thus continues the western New York presence for the conference. Central Florida has a large fan base (by remaining Big East standards) with 0.5 million fans, and would be a natural local competitor Big East's South Florida. Florida International, though doesn't have much of a football presence, like Buffalo is very strong in academic though not AAU itself. Florida is an excellent market and more exposure for the Big East in Florida is good for the conference. East Carolina wants in, has a decent fan base of over 0.3 millions, and will introduces a foothold in North Carolina, an ACC stronghold thus expand the geography of the Big East. Memphis comes with a smaller fan base (0.2 millions) but would extends and bridge the geography of the Big East. If TCU stays, then Air Force would make more sense, as well as other Texas schools such as SMU or Houston. Once the Big East is at 12 teams, it must then assimilate the new members before bringing in any more.

The remaining conferences, Conference USA (C-USA), Mountain West (MW), Mid American Conference (MAC), Sun Belt, and Western Atlantic Conference (WAC) will naturally have to readjust. For these conferences, geography may be a limiting factor given the cost of travel. Regionality maybe more important than new market gains. C-USA may lose ECU, Tulane, UCF, and possibly Memphis. Replacement for these 4 would most likely come from the Sun Belt (Florida International, Troy, Arkansas State) and Louisiana Tech (WAC). With these programs: Florida International (for Miami market), Troy (nearly 0.4 millions fan), Arkansas State (0.3 million fans) and Louisiana (replace the Louisiana market with the loss of Tulane) the C-USA will maintain its current east-west division and geography. If C-USA also loses Marshall, Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt) should be considered.
The MW, minus TCU, +/- Boise State, +/- Air Force, +/- Colorado State will be down to 4-5 teams but is already expecting 3 teams from the WAC (California State-Fresno, Hawaii-Manoa, and Nevada-Fresno). The MW should consider expanding to get to 12 by raiding or merging with a smaller WAC for 12-16 teams. Yes I know that was tried before but the conference realignment environment is different this time. The teams from the WAC to consider are Idaho, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Utah State and future member Denver and Seattle. The remaining WAC teams, Texas State, UT-Arlington and UT-San Antonio should look to the Sun Belt. Louisiana Tech could also look to C-USA.
The MAC, if it loses Buffalo, should look to Marshall (C-USA) to go back to 12. Marshall is also a nice geographical fit with a rich football tradition.
The Sun Belt, without Arkansas State, Troy, Florida International, and possibly Florida Atlantic but with Texas State, UT-Arlington and UT-San Antonio would largely retain its size and gain a greater presence in Texas. Along with South Alabama, Texas State, UT-Arlington, UT-San Antonio the Sun Belt would have the 4 youngest Division 1 football teams but all in good tv markets.


College Football Big 12 Expansion

So the PAC-12 have decided not to expand, thus largely leaving Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech in the Big-12. That still leaves 2 thorny issues and 2 uncertainties.
The two thorny issues are conference revenue sharing agreements, equal or unequal. If the conference is to regain stability, rather than going through this drama and turmoil again, it will need to move to equal conference revenue sharing. Doing so will facilitate the conference members to act as a team rather than continuing on every school for itself. Which brings to bear the next thorny issue, which is the Long Horn Network (LHN), U of Texas and ESPN 300 million dollars 10 year partnership sport channel. The LHN, and UT's attitude regarding it, was the essential reason why Texas A&M left, this is the primary reason why the PAC-12 decision against expanding to 16 with OU, OSU, TTU, and UT. If UT and the LHN cannot or will not become compliant to the Big-12 expectations, then UT should not be a football member of the Big-12. UT will be fine as a football independent and should not have a problem scheduling annual games with OU, TA&M, TTU or any other regional teams. UT would have no problems arranging for games with USC, UCLA, Stanford, or Notre Dame. In many ways both UT and the Big-12 would both be better off with an independent UT.
The other uncertainty is Texas A&M (the first is whether UT should go independent or not). If revenue sharing and UT/LHN will comply with the conference, then TA&M may decide to stay. IF UT is independent then TA&M will likely stay in the Big-12.
Once the thorns and uncertainties are clarified, the Big-12 should expand to at least 12, if not 14 or even 16. With either UT or TA&M the next three teams the Big-12 needs to get back to 12, and thus host a conference championship game, would be to add BYU, TCU, and Boise State. All these are competitive teams with national standings. I believe though stopping at 12 would be a mistake and the conference should go to 14 with the addition of Air Force or Colorado State (for the Colorado market) and Tulane (for the Louisiana/New Orleans market). I think 14 would still permit two divisions with a reasonable conference schedule of 9-10 games (6 divisions games, 1 cross division annual rivalry, and 2-3 rotating games from the other division). To go to 16 would mean a pod based arrangement with 4 teams each, 9 conference games. But other than Colorado State/Air Force who else? Wyoming? New Mexico? A 15 team conference would means 3 pods of 5 (4 intra-pod games, 2 inter-pods annuals, 4 rotating intra-pods. Expansion to 14 I think would be reasonable for now rather than going to 15 or 16 to be a super conference.


College Football Conference Realignment

Since my last post on Big 12 realignment survival through retention and expansion, news over the weekend suggests the Big East is even in worse shape than the Big 12. The Big East, with 8 football schools lost Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC to become their 13th and 14th schools.
Today came an analysis by the NYT's Nate Silver looking at the value of each school with respect to their estimate fan size, and their respective conference. But before I get into Nate's analysis, I want to set forth some premises.

Premise 1. Conference realignment will continue, with conferences seeking to grow larger.

Premise 2. The minimum size for a conference is 12 and the maximum is 16.
Smaller conferences has less leverage for tv contracts, as well as leave member teams open for poaching by larger conferences (both the current Big 12 and Big East are less than 12 teams). Twelve teams will allow the conference to hold a championship game. A championship game brings both visibility and money to the conference. However, 12 teams leave no cushions for changes, as the Big 12 saw last year with the lost of Nebraska and Colorado. Not only did the Big 12 lose its championship game, it also became vulnerable to greater instability as witnessed by Texas A&M, OU, and UT drama this year, which is still unfolding. I am certain that all the conferences realize this and though both the SEC and the ACC had 12 members, both sought cushion against future instability by expanding beyond 12. Had the Big 12 and the Big East possessed any fore vision, they would have expanded to at least 12 last year and now it may be too late. So if the conferences want to expand beyond 12, what would be a good number?
With 13 teams, each team could play 2/3 of the conference each year on a rotational schedule, with a conference schedule of 8 games. Very dooable. Conference championship could be between the top two conference teams rather than by division.
With 14 teams, each team has 13 conference opponents, which is an odd number. One solution is to set up an annual rivalry game, and then play 1/2 or 2/3 of the remaining conference teams for a conference schedule of 7-9 games. 14 teams also allows 2 divisions, with 6 games from your own division each year, 1 annual rival from the other division, and 1/2 the other division on a every other year rotation. Again division championship could be based division champions.
With 15 teams the schedule becomes much more difficult. Each team could play two annual rivalry games then half the remaining conference teams for a total of 8 conference games. The conference could also be split into pods of 5 but this means three pods; 4 games against pods mates, 2 annual rival games (one from each of the other pods) and 2 of the 4 teams from each pods every other year for a total of 10 conference games. !0 conference games is likely too much as it only leave one non conference game within the standard school season. Non conference games bring exposure to a non-conference market, which ultimately enhances the program. 15 teams is dooable but barely so and I am skeptical any conference wants to stay at 15.
With 16 teams, the most popular arrangement is four pods of 4. Each team would play 3 games against pod mates, and 2 of 4 of each other pods for a total of 9 conference games. Pods also allows for regionalization to save travel costs. Divisions would result in an 11 conference games schedule and this is prohibitive. Conference championship could be the two pod champions with the best records.
With 17 teams, the odd number would rule out pods organization and division separations. 17 teams i do not believe is workable.
Thus conferences will likely be configured at 13, 14, or 16. 14 seems most practical to me to allow regionalizations with divisions and designations of division champions that actually means something (rather than pod champion). The WAC tried 16 with pods before and did not work then in actuality despite a workable concept.

Premise 3. The BCS Bowl series will remain intact. The BCS bowl is about money, and money speaks. Many has suggested replacing the BCS bowls with a playoff but that will only happen within a bowl format anyway. Currently there are 5 BCS bowl games: the championship game, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl. Conference champions would play each other, but sometimes a second team from one conference would rank higher than the champion from another conference, thus open spots are necessary. With 5 BCS bowls there would be 10 teams, easily permissive of 6 champions, 3 second conference teams, and an at large spot. This is practically the current arrangement for the champions of the ACC, Big 1G, Big 12, Big East, PAC 12, and the SEC. There has been talk of 4 super conferences and I just don't see this applicable with the current BCS Bowls. Lets also keep in mind that there is movement to add a 6th BCS Bowl with the Cotton Bowl. 6 BCS Bowls means there will certainly room for more than 4 super conferences.

Premise 4. Conference wealth is based on fans, for TV as well as merchandise.
According to Nate's analysis of team's fan base, the conferences rate as follows:
Big 1G: 15.5 million fans with an average of 1.46 per team.
SEC: 13.5 million fans with an average of 1.13 per team; with Texas A&M 15.5 million fans and 1.19 per team.
ACC: 11.1 million fans with an average of 0.93 per team; with Pittsburgh and Syracuse 12,7 million fans and 0.91 per team.
PAC 12: 7.4 million fans with an average of .62 per team.
Big 12 without Texas A&M: 8.1 million fans with an average of 0.9 per team.
Big East without Pittsburgh and Syracuse: 3.7 million fans and an average of 0.52 per team; with TCU 4 million fans and 0.5 per team.
C-USA: 2.6 million fans with an average of 0.22 per team.
MWC without TCU, with Hawaii, Fresno State and Nevada: 2.5 million fans and an average of 0.25 per team.
Sun Belt: 1.8 million fans with an average of 0.20 per team.
Mid American: 1.6 million fans with an average of 0.13 per team.
WAC without Hawaii, Fresno State or Nevada: 0.5 million fans with an average of 0.11 per team.
Notre Dame with 2.2 million fans (and UT also with 2.2 million fans) appear viable as independents.
As above, despite talk of the Big 12 being weak, it actually has greater potential than the Pac 12.

Premise 5. Teams from strong conferences (BIG 1G, SEC, ACC, PAC 12) will not leave their conference.
Thus realignment will center on the Big 12 and Big East. The Big 12 as is can survive as a fifth super conference, on par with the Pac 12.
For completeness lets look at what looms on the horizon currently with realignment.
PAC 16 with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech: 12.5 million fans with an average of 0.78 per team. Just 4 teams will nearly double the fan base for the PAC 12. Given the rich football recruitment and growing population of Texas over that of California, it could have been these 4 schools expanding to take the PAC 12 rather than the PAC 12 taking in these 4 schools. What the PAC 12 has is organization and leadership that these 4 schools lack, as each essentially is its own master and independent of each other. If these four teams were smart, they would do better by staying and expanding rather than joining the PAC 12.
SEC with Missouri and Texas A&M: 18.7 million fans with an average of 1.33 per team.
Big 12 + Big East remnants: 5.6 million fans with an average of 0.56 per team.
Big 12 remnant + MW +BYU: 5.1 million fans with an average of 0.22 per team.
Big East remnants + C-USA: 6.2 million fans with an average of 0.35 per team.
Given the last 3 combination, the Big East is better joining with the C-USA while the Big 12 remnant would do fine with BYU and the MW. However, if the Big 12 remain intact and merge with the MW, BYU and TCU, the result would be 11.63 million fans (20 teams so some pruning will be necessary).
Approximately of course.

In summary
1. Conferences will expand to 14-16.
2. There will be room for 5-6 super conferences, and the Big 12 could remain a player if it remains intact and expand.


College Football Big 12 Realignment

Last year the Big 12 lost the University of Nebraska to the Big 10 (giving the Big 10 its twelfth team) and University of Colorado to the Pac 10 (which now also has 12 teams). This year Texas A&M University have made plans to leave for the SEC. Currently rumors are flying about Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University, and the University of Texas considering options with other conferences, and to a lesser extent Texas Tech University and the University of Missouri as well.

My preference is for the Big 12 to continue and expand rather than shrivel and die. I would also like to see UT get kicked out of the Big 12, left with no conferences to join, and thus declare themselves Independent. I personally have no problem with some disproportionate sharing of the wealth among member teams. After all if you are better you should get more. However, a conference should still function as a team, meaning you are only as good as those you play against. The stronger team should help the weaker team some. This is also a trait of a leader. The University of Texas, though better positioned than mist others in conference, has not been a leader in the Big 12 but rather played the spoiled brat. The big 12 teams deserve better.

I hope the remaining eight teams, Baylor University, Iowa State University, Kansas State university, Oklahoma State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri, and the University of Oklahoma, all work together to rebuild the conference with recruitment and expansion. Why would any team want to join the Big 12? Because the Big 12 is an automatic qualifying conference for the Bowl Championship Series. However, given the weakened position of the Big 12 currently, it will be highly unlikely to expand with teams already in an automatic qualifying conference such as the ACC, Big 10, Big East, Pac 12, or the SEC. This leaves the second tier conferences such as Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt, or Western Athletic. Interesting enough, the unequal distribution of conference money may make expansion of teams from these conference easier for the existing teams.

Teams I think the big 12 should consider are, in order:
Tulane University. Enrollment of 11,000. Endowment of 800 millions US$. Football Stadium for 73,000. Tulane would also bring in the New Orleans and Louisiana market of 1.2 millions and 4.5 millions respectively.
Colorado State University. Enrollment of 25,000. Endowment of 400 millions US$. Football Stadium for 34,000. Colorado State would resume Big 12 football in Colorado with its 5 millions already familiar with the conference.
University of Houston. Enrollment of 39,000. Endowment of 500 millions US$. Football Stadium for 32,000. Houston is an up and comer program with a competitive team in a major media market.
Texas Christian University. Enrollment of 9,000. Endowment of 1.1 billions US$. Football Stadium for 44,000. TCU is a competitive team, a good school, and belongs in the Big 12 rather than the Big East.

The addition of these 4 teams would bring the Big 12 back to 12. While both Boise State and BYU would make strong competitors, the distance is too far and the market gain not worth enough to travel for. However, alternative neighbors, or to bring the conference to 14 for greater stability would be to add the Air Force Academy (4,400 enrollment, 24 millions US$ endowment, and 52,000 football stadium) and the University of New Mexico (35,000 enrollment, 300 millions US$ endowment, and 40,000 stadium) to maintain regional hegemony.

The conference's two divisions should be split to include Texas in both (2 Texas teams each) to allow all conference teams continuous exposure to the most populous state in the conference. The divisions could be East-West or by "zipper" based on rivalries. Each year each team would play all its division partners and half of the other for a total of 8 games, allowing plenty of non conference play. A 14 team split would allow for 10 conference games (6 within the division, 1 annual rival game from the other division, and 3 general rotating games from the other division). A 16 teams two division conference would result in an 11 game conference play and is not practical with the current season length.

Should Texas stay then either not add TCU or expand the conference with the University of New Mexico for 14 (along with Tulane, Colorado State, TCU and Houston). The current Big 12 teams, minus Texas A&M University, are:

Baylor University. Enrollment 13,000. Endowment 870 millions US$. Football Stadium 50,000.
Iowa State University. Enrollment 29,000. Endowment 500 millions US$. Football Stadium 55,000.
Kansas State University. Enrollment 24,000. Endowment 280 millions US$. Football Stadium 51,000.
Oklahoma State University. Enrollment 23,000. Endowment 500 millions US$. Football Stadium 60,000.
Texas Tech University. Enrollment 31,000. Endowment 775 millions US$. Football Stadium 60,000.
University of Kansas. Enrollment 30,000. Endowment 1 billions US$. Football Stadium 50,000.
University of Missouri. Enrollment 33,000. Endowment 975 millions US$. Football Stadium 71,000.
University of Oklahoma. Enrollment 30,000. Endowment 970 millions US$. Football Stadium 82,000.
University of Texas. Enrollment 50,000. Endowment 14 billions US$ for the entire UT system. Football Stadium 100,000.