If you’ve been near the internets at all today[Edit:this post was supposed to go up before yesterdays events occured], you’ve probably seen various reports that the Big Televen is courting Texas rather hard. If not, your tubes may be plugged, impeding your progress to the blagosphere. People smarter than me have broken down the potential reasons for Texas to share interest, but I figured I’d just look at this from a college football/Big Ten fan perspective. In disjointed list form!
Holy Football Powers, Batman: Let’s say that things could move this quickly and Texas could join the Big Ten tomorrow. The final AP poll had #2 Texas, #5 Ohio State, #7 Iowa and #9 Penn State, just in the top ten. Wisconsin made it in at #16 as well. Looking forward, if most of those rankings hold, going into next season, the Big Ten could have four top-ten teams…which is more teams than the Big East has in the whole poll. If the league does things right, the Big Ten Championship game suddenly becomes the title game to watch- I’m assuming that the SEC continues to slide a little bit- and maybe people will lay off the conference a little bit. Which, speaking of the title game…
Home Field Is The Only Way To Do It: We’ve seen neutral site title games in other leagues, with some success in the SEC (a league that’s pretty geographically condensed) and less in the ACC (the opposite). Given the size of the new Big Ten, just give the game to the team with the best record (include tiebreakers in case they’re needed). It’s been covered in many places that the home field advantage concept is dead at the pro level, but it’s still huge in college. And with the addition of Texas, there’s another wrinkle that would come up…
See! Longhorns. On! ICE!: Maybe it’s the Bills fan in me, but I love rivalries where a warm weather team and a cold weather team go at it. If I were Delany, I’d put Texas against either Minnesota, PSU, MSU, Iowa or OSU in the last week of the year (Michigan can get back in the discussion for that when they prove they can win again /ZING). Even though they’re not the greatest team on the list, with the new outdoor stadium, Minnesota would be my favorite for that; especially if they can pull off the upset now and then. At the very least, it’s more entertaining than watching Texas/Texas A&M and I’m sure Mack Brown looks adorable in a puffy jacket too. Giving the title game to the better team would also be huuuuge. You think Texas would rather play in Austin or State College in November/December? Exactly.
The Big 12 Suuuuuuucks: Take Texas out of what was a rather unremarkable league, especially with the Mike Leach thing at TTU, and suddenly you’re left with two Oklahoma schools and a lot of Baylors. I won’t get into speculating about where everything would go, but I do think that Texas’ departure would cause a lot of dominoes to start falling. Except one.
Notre Dame misses out: At some point, Notre Dame has to join a conference somewhere. It’s just a reality they have to face. Sadly, when you combine “institution” and “Catholicism”, progressive thinking isn’t usually the strong suit. The choices they’re left with…well, they’d only have one choice then, the Big East. And the Big East is- from every standpoint that isn’t basketball- an inferior option to the Big Ten. And while Texas would add a ton to the Big Ten, it’s a shame that rivalries like ND/Michigan, ND/MSU, ND/Purdue and ND/PSU would go by the wayside. Then again, it’s their own fault. Enjoy independence!
A Marquee OOC Game Every Year (or every other year, depending on the divisions): When tOSU and Texas played in the third week of the season in back-to-back years, it was labeled a BCS elimination game. The winner got a huge victory, bumping up the computer polls, and the loser at least got a bump in strength of schedule. Taking that game and making it a league game will make the league better as a whole. Obviously, just adding Texas will add money through the title game and everything, but another marquee game every week bumps up TV revenue, too. Funneling more money to all the league members will allow them to improve facilities and programs, and with the right coach, some lesser Big Ten schools could build up quickly.
A Mighty Triumvirate: At that point, you’ll have the Pac-10, the Big 10-11-12 and the SEC as the powerhouse football conferences. The Big East, ACC, WAC, MAC, Big 12now11, and MWC will all clearly be inferior. Being that only three of those are part of the BCS Big 6, you have to wonder if…
Playoffs! Playoffs!? Are You Kiddin’ Me?: This move could potentially get the ball rolling toward a playoff. Think about it- with this construction of conferences, the MAC/MWC/WAC all have to be wondering why the Big East/ACC/Big 12now11 are guaranteed a spot over them. Well, more so than they do already. And the latter three are going to start resenting that the powerhouses are the only ones getting multiple BCS slots. The BCS works because the six conferences that make it up want it to…but if there’s dissent in the ranks, it could fall apart fast. Not saying all this is likely, just that it’s possible.
In short, this would be awesome. Let me hear it in the comments.