Week 5 Big 12 Picks

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 26: Rennie Childs #23 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys is wrapped up by the Texas Longhorns during the 3rd quarter on September 26, 2015 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 26: Rennie Childs #23 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys is wrapped up by the Texas Longhorns during the 3rd quarter on September 26, 2015 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Once again this week the Big 12 has no game in a primetime slot, even though West Virginia and OU squaring off in Norman looks quite appetizing, as does Texas Tech with yet another chance to make a statement against the Baylor Sunday Baptists.

To all the Texas fans out claiming that OSU vs. Texas was fixed: maybe your punter should catch the ball. After all, as defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway said, “There ain’t no way we were going to lose that game in overtime. Not at all.”

Actually, I think either the Longhorns’ punter or kicker would have found a way.

In any case, this is a great slate of games! Let’s talk about them:

Last week: 4-1 (.800)

Overall: (.781)

Kansas 17, Iowa State 28. Possibly the last remaining winnable game for either team. KU holds the all time edge in this series at 50-38-6 and won last year in Lawrence, but ISU has taken four of the past five matchups between these two teams.

No. 23 West Virginia 41, No. 15 Oklahoma 31. Vegas has OU by seven; but this game has upset special written all over it. Over their first three games of the year WVU has outscored their opponents 130-21, but when Liberty and Georgia Southern make up two of those three, the data doesn’t mean much. Still: they housed Maryland 45-6 last week, and Dana Holgorsen’s team faked a punt up 38-0 (how batshit awesome would it be if Mike Gundy had OSU fake a punt up 38-0?!). OU has beaten the Mountaineers in all three games they’ve played since WVU joined the Big 12. The three games have been close. OU’s defense looked porous against the spread against Tulsa, and I don’t think that improves this weekend against the Fighting Holgys.

Texas 28, No. 4 TCU 42. TCU’s defense has been slaughtered by injuries, but Trevone Boykin isn’t going anywhere. I think the Longhorns will score points, but not nearly enough to keep them from sliding 1-4.

Texas Tech 38, No. 5 Baylor 49. I picked Tech last week against TCU, and the Mahomes-led Raiders came a tipped throw to Josh Dactson away from pulling off a huge upset. They have a similar chance here against Baylor, who have not exactly looked bulletproof in their opening slate of creampuffs, but I think Kingsbury’s squad might be a little banged up after highly physical back-to-back games against Arkansas and TCU. This one could be close in the fourth, but I think the Bears ultimately roll.

Kansas State 17, No. 20 Oklahoma State 24. Who knows how good K-State is? I’m not sure if anyone does, but the major sticking point for me has been their first half performance against UTSA: unable to scrape up a touchdown. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for the Cowboys, who sputtered badly on offense in the fourth quarter last week against Texas, but I don’t think the Wildcats are ready for the Pokes’ wrecking crew of a defense. Also, there was plenty to suggest that Rudolph had hurt his hand, which might explain part of Gundy’s second-half hesitance to let him throw it. I think that Rudolph will bounce back here, but that OSU will struggle again to run the ball, resulting in an ugly game–but, in the end, a win for the Pokes.

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 26: Rennie Childs #23 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys is wrapped up by the Texas Longhorns during the 3rd quarter on September 26, 2015 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 26: Rennie Childs #23 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys is wrapped up by the Texas Longhorns during the 3rd quarter on September 26, 2015 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Week 4 Big 12 Picks

texas tears

First of all, isn’t it great how four of the five games on the first weekend of conference play are set to happen at roughly the same time? Sure, there’ll be some overlap between them, but I guess it occurred to no one in the TV world that, oh, perhaps the same people interested in watching OSU v. Texas might also want to watch TCU v. Tech. But then again I guess not. Considering Tech’s shellacking of Arkansas last week, I figured the matchup between the Red Raiders and the Horned Frogs would be prime time stuff. But no.

In lieu of further diatribes about how the People that Decide Television Stuff’s lack of having-their-shit-togetherness, let’s just appreciate for a moment what happened last weekend in college football. Nothing wrong with a weekend that includes Alabama losing in high style, or Texas garbage-dumping-it with a last minute missed extra point, or Kliff Kingsbury making Bert Beliema feel bad.

Also: does Beliema not resemble his school’s mascot, the Fighting Piglet?

I wish I could write about Arkansas every week. It’s funny, now that I live here, a little over 2,000 miles from Fayetteville, as opposed to here, it’s become even more fun to hate them. Possibly this is because now that I no longer live in Oklahoma, I can’t smell them anymore.

Also, what the hell, K-State? Three over times to beat Louisiana Tech. That sounds a lot more like that other Sunflower State football team.

Last week: 5-2 (.714)

Overall: 21-6 (.777)

Kansas 20, Rutgers 24. Let’s see here: Rutgers sucks really bad, and is in the middle of a monumental shitstorm involving having head coach Kyle Flood suspended for three games for trying to get a player’s grades changed. I’m surprised he still has a job. On the other side of this equation, Kansas sucks REALLY bad. Predicting these kinds of games are just as hard as those between talented opponents; I just don’t see KU pulling one out on the road in this one.

Rice 24, No. 5 Baylor 59. “I think I’ve lost my edge a little bit,” said Art Briles to reporters this week. What?  He then went on to see he going to try and start being himself again over the course of this week. Sure, lowly Lamar was all tied up at 21-21 with four minutes to play in the second quarter of what would end as a 66-31 trouncing two weeks ago, and, in addition to throwing four touchdowns, QB Seth Russell did toss three interceptions, but I feel like folks might be overreacting a bit. On the other hand, I fully expected Baylor to be a little less than advertised in the preseason. I just have a hard time believing that their tremendous run of quarterbacks could continue without a blip. (Of course, part of my skepticism about this definitely stems from, after five mostly glorious years of Zac Robinson and Brandon Weeden, OSU’s five-quarterback clown car of a quarterback carousel from 2012-2014.) In any case, I don’t see the Bears slipping here, but they better watch out when Pat Mahomes and Texas Tech come calling next week. Then we’ll see about Briles’s edge.

Maryland 23, West Virginia 35. Despite Maryland’s taking WVU to the woodshed in a 37-0 beating in 2013, the Mountaineers are 8-1 against the Terrapins since 2004. The Fighting Holgorsens have looked good so far this season, but their opponents so far–Liberty and Georgia Southern–probably would probably struggle to break even against even a team like Kansas. Maryland, on the other hand, has managed to go 2-1 with a 48-27 loss to Bowling Green who, as far as MAC schools go, are no small shakes. Still, I like WVU in this one in Morgantown. Side note: I wonder if, when this series started way back in 1919, anyone ever thought these two schools would both be members of conferences primarily associated with the Midwest and Great Plains areas?

No. 24 Oklahoma State 34, Texas 23. While I believe this game will be within reach for Texas well into the fourth quarter, I think that Jimmy Bean and Emmanuel Ogbah OSU’s dynamic duo at defensive end are going to give Jarrod Heard fits–or at least contain him. I say this fully aware of Heard’s heroic 527-total yard performance against Cal. OSU’s defense is made of much different stuff than Cal’s, especially if they can keep producing turnovers. Still, no matter how far Texas has fallen, a trip to Austin is still a trip to Austin, even if the recent history in this series might beg to differ–the visiting team has won every game since 2008. OSU forced so many turnovers last week (seven!) against UTSA that the game began to feel like an episode of the Three Stooges; if the Pokes can get even half what they did last week, I think they’ll head back up I-35 with a victory. PS: read this.

No. 3 TCU 49, Texas Tech 52. It’s really a shame this isn’t a prime-time match up, because it certainly feels like one. There are two main factors for why I’m going with the upset here. (1) Even though Tech’s win last week at Arkansas may fade over the course of the year–and it certainly could, if the Pigs fold up against the SEC West–Tech’s overall performance was complete. Offensively and defensively. It’s too early to say, but this Tech team reminds me a little bit of OSU in 2010–capable of coming out of nowhere to compete for the conference title, but not quite capable of winning it outright. But let’s not get totally ahead of ourselves! (2) TCU’s defense has been utterly decimated by injuries. They’ve lost seven starters since the season began. Can they get a stop against the Red Raiders? On the other hand, will Tech be able to stop TCU? Gary Patterson’s teams are not in the habit of getting surprised, but I foresee a trap waiting for them out in tortilla country.

OFF: Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma. 

Week 3 Big 12 Picks

chris carson

Not a great week of picks last week for me. Rice beating Texas was wishful thinking, I suppose, the type of upset that would be far more likely to happen had the Longhorns actually given Notre Dame a ball game in week one. OU plucked victory seemingly out of thin air with some heady fourth-quarter play from Baker Mayfield, and both K-State and OSU both looked very, very average in the first halves of their games against inferior competition.

Last Week: 7-3 (.700)

Overall: 16-4 (.800)

Tulsa 21, No. 16 Oklahoma 56. The State of Oklahoma will go Democrat in the presidential election before Tulsa beats OU in Norman. Through three quarters last week, trailing Tennessee 3-17, OU looked very, very shaky in a very tough environment. And yet they pulled it out in double overtime. Now there’s one more team wearing orange that knows what Sooner Magic is like.

Louisiana Tech 7, Kansas State 40. K-State looked very humdrum in the first half last week against UTSA, managing only a touchdown. Yet their defense has been very solid so far. My intuition is that we won’t learn much about them until they match up against OSU in Stillwater on October 3.

UTSA 10, No. 25 Oklahoma State 46. To continue our theme of lackluster starts, OSU also looked shaky against Central Arkansas, leading only 10-0 at halftime. Rudolph looked bad, and aside from showing some hops, Chris Carson looked fairly average. If the Pokes are going to make any noise in the conference race this year they’re gonna have to get some serious play from the offensive line. The defense, on the other hand, has only allowed 21 points through the first two games. No need to worry about Ogbah and co. I think that the Pokes will come out with serious energy against UTSA. Orange-colored glasses? Perhaps, but I don’t think so.

Texas Tech 31, Arkansas 37. So, why pick the team that lost to Toledo last week at home? A) Because they’re gonna be fucking pissed, that’s why, and B) there’s no way Beliema’s squad isn’t ready to play Tech. While Patrick Mahomes has been incredible in the opening couple games of this year, he hasn’t faced a real defense yet. I’m going with the Porkers in Fayetteville.

California 44, Texas 38. Toughest pick of the week here. This Cal squad is only two years removed from 1-11 in 2013, and 5-7 in 2014, losing six of their last seven to end the year. They’ve gotten fantastic play from quarterback Jared Goff in the opening weeks, but will that be enough to overcome the Longhorns? I think so.

SMU 17, No. 3 TCU 65. Not much to see here, kiddos. I kind of feel bad for SMU; they played Baylor in week one.

Toledo 24, Iowa State 26. While picking against the team that beat Arkansas at Arkansas feels foolhardy (even if I am picking the team that got beat by Toledo at home to win against Tech, le sigh), I’m not sure they can upset a P5 team two weeks in a row, even if Iowa State certainly commands less authority than the Piglets. Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if I were wrong, here.

OFF: Kansas (mercifully), West Virginia, Baylor.

Week 2 Big 12 Picks

bring the D

Well folks, we looked awful last week, Texas got trashed in South Bend, Kansas lost in humiliating style, and TCU survived a scare up north. I’m writing on the fly tonight, so these’ll be short and sweet.

Last week: 9-1 (.900)

Kansas State 34, UTSA 31. The Road Runners gave Arizona fits last week, and, with K-State rebuilding the way they are, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an upset here. I think the Snydercats take it away, however.

UTEP 28, Texas Tech 42. Tech was all offense and no defense last week, but at least they had something going for them.

Liberty 3, West Virginia 49. FCS, meet West Virginia.

Stephen F. Austin 6, No. 3 Texas Christian 63. Boykin won’t have any trouble this week. Patterson’s team will come out angry after nearly losing at Minnesota.

Iowa 13, Iowa State 24. Although I’m not one to bank too much on Iowa State’s dominating win over FCS Northern Iowa last week, I think there could be genuine hope in Cyclone territory this year–who knows, with a full year to install his system, Mangino’s offense might get ISU back to something like respectability.

Memphis 27, Kansas 23. Watching the end of last week’s game between KU and South Dakota State was one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen on a football field. You’re supposed to spike it, not take a knee!

No. 19 Oklahoma 27, No. 23 Tennessee 28. Toughest pick of the entire week. A win for Tennessee would be that the Volunteers are truly back. A win for Oklahoma means stemming the restless Sooner faithful’s grousing about OU’s recent fall for a week.

Central Arkansas 13, Oklahoma State 41. Methinks Yurcich better get his shit together. If the Pokes don’t score at least 40 here, it’s gonna be a long season in Stillwater.

Lamar 14, No. 4 Baylor 58. This game should be on a Friday too!

Rice 17, Texas 16. Yep. Austin, we’ve got a problem. Or at least Charlie Strong does. When was the last time Texas lost to Rice? Answer: they’ve only done it once since 1965. That’s once in the last fifty years, for those counting at home.

Week 1 Big 12 Picks

Vaqueros Victorioso!

Once again the season of happiness and joy is upon us! Life is a haze of stuff right now for me, as I’m working as a full-time copywriter with a pretty hefty commute, in addition to All That Other Stuff I Do. And, for those who don’t know, these picks are now coming to you from PAC-12 country. So we’ll see how that goes. Those eleven a.m. central time kick-offs are gonna be pretty early for me this season!

Brief recap of last year: my win/loss column last year finished out at 57-15 (.791), and I managed to nail the spread on the Bedlam game (my pick was 37-34, actual score: 38-35), which was probably my shining moment predicting things for pretty much ever.

Conference champ prediction: the smart money’s on TCU, and that’s who I’m going with. However, I think OSU’s schedule is perfectly set up for a run.

I see the conference finishing this way:

  1. TCU (11-1)
  2. Oklahoma State (10-2)
  3. Baylor (10-2, with losses to the above)
  4. Oklahoma  (8-4)
  5. Kansas State (8-4)
  6. West Virginia (7-5)
  7. Texas (6-6)
  8. Texas Tech (4-8)
  9. Iowa State (3-9)
  10. Kansas (2-10)

Anyhow! Let’s get to the picks.


Oklahoma State 48, Central Michigan 13. Mason Rudolph and the Pokes will be way too much for the Chippewas. While I’m tempted to say that we’ll learn a few things from how, say, the running game produces with the heralded juco transfer Chris Carson toting the pigskin, or if OSU is able to score at will–but I won’t. First games don’t always say much about the teams that play them (see the Pokes’ last season opener in which they all but took Florida State down to the wire, and then proceeded to hit a five game losing streak during conference play). So I’m not sure we’ll know all that much after Saturday. Still–good teams make it look easy against inferior competition.

No. 2 Texas Christian 56, Minnesota 27. Though I fully expect to ultimately see Trevone Boykin and co. slash the Gophers’ throats, I would not be in the least surprised to see this game a little closer than comfortable at halftime. Just a hunch–and it doesn’t hurt that the game’s in Minneapolis.


No. 4 Baylor 66, SMU 0. Do I need to say much more about this? This game is on a Friday night for a reason–there’s at least one high school-level team playing, and it ain’t Baylor.


South Dakota State 13, Kansas 16. With the hiring of David Beaty, a new era has dawned in Lawrence. Unfortunately, it will not change the Jayhawks’ score deferential against FCS opponents any time soon.

Sam Houston State 14, Texas Tech 42. This is not going to be a good season for Tech. Tech is going to suck. Hopefully for Kliff Kingsbury’s outfit, it won’t be so readily apparent in game no. 1 as it was last year in their opening 42-35 victory over Central Arkansas. Hopefully.

Akron 10, No. 19 Oklahoma 56. Hand the ball to Perine, hand the ball to Perine, hand the ball to Perine–and this game should be fine. Interested to see who trots out under center for the Crimson-and-Cream.

South Dakota 7, Kansas State 45. The Wildcats shouldn’t have much trouble here, but it’ll be interesting to see who emerges for them as playmakers.

Texas 13, No. 11 Notre Dame 24. This kind of matchup makes me squirm inside to watch, as these are two of the most perennially overrated teams in the country. Oh, how much would it brighten the general perspective of Longhorn fans in general and Charlie Strong in specific if Texas could pull off a victory here? I think this one will be closer than the thirteen-point spread I’m predicting indicates.

Georgia Southern 3, West Virginia 49. Dana Holgerson is officially on the hot seat this year, and as much as I like him, I’m not sure if he’ll be around in Morgantown next season (although some prognosticators at ESPN seem to think WVU has a shot as a Big 12 dark horse, I’m afraid I don’t agree). However, none of that should impact WVU’s demolition of Georgia Southern.

Northern Iowa 12, Iowa State 16. Ah, Iowa State. It’s going to be a long year. Unlike KU, I actually feel bad for Cyclones’ fans.

Week 15 Big 12 Picks: Bedlam Edition

sooner magic

how to throw a football, norman-style

Bedlam in December. For the past three years, we’ve come to know this game as a sort of de facto Big 12 Championship, and this is the first time in eight years that Bedlam has had zero implications for either a division championship, the Big 12 championship, or BCS bowl selections. As a result, the mood in the media seems strangely lackluster, but I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising. The whole week has been sadly overshadowed by an overcoverage of Gundy’s Monday press conference, in which he was, apparently, quite a peach, with even the O’Colly (sort of) saying Gundy should be fired. Things are pretty bad, PR-wise, when the school paper gets involved.

Bedlam, to me, is still Bedlam. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

A lot of intrigue in the other two games this week. Who’s in, TCU or Baylor?

Last week: 4-0 (1.000)

Overall: 55-14 (.797)

Iowa State 24, No. 4 TCU 54. I read somewhere recently that TCU is playing the best football in the Big 12 right now, which is arguably true. I thought, after struggling with Kansas the week before, that TCU might be in for a close one against Texas, but Gary Patterson’s squad would have none of that, scoring 28 in the fourth quarter to win 48-10. A certifiable blowout. If this game was in Ames, I’d consider it a potentially tricky matchup. But it isn’t.

No. 9 Kansas State 41, No. 5 Baylor 38. This contest will be huge. In 2012, an unranked, 5-5 Baylor team destroyed a Collin Klein-led K-State squad that had ascended to No. 1 in the BCS rankings 52-24. It’s a game that I imagine K-State fans still shudder to think about, and I don’t blame them. Baylor, on the other hand, wants to provide the most impressive win it can in order to convince the playoff committee it has more of a case than rival TCU. Playing at home on senior night, the smart money might be on them, and Bill Snyder–lauded coach that he is–has an 0-10 record all time against AP top-10 ranked opponents, which ESPN Stats & Information claims is the worst all time. On the other hand, Bryce Petty suffered a concussion last week in Baylor’s 48-46 near-defeat at the hands of Texas Tech. He’s been cleared to play, but concussions are often more complicated than they’re made out to be. I’m taking K-State.


Oklahoma State 37, No. 20 Oklahoma 34. Yep. I’m picking the Pokes. Despite the drama surrounding Gundy. Despite the fact that OSU has dropped five games in a row, all by at least two touchdowns. Despite the fact that Samaje Perine exists. Despite the fact that OU has won three of the last four Bedlam games, and the arguable fact that in all three instances, OSU had the better team. Despite the fact that Oklahoma has won 11 of the past 14 matchups between the teams, and that the Pokes haven’t won in Norman since Rashaun Woods did this in 2001. Despite the fact that OSU will be starting a quarterback making his second collegiate start. Why, you might ask? Because I believe in Mason Rudolph, and the fact that OU has one of the worst secondaries in the entire conference, giving up 272.6 yards passing per game. Because OU’s quarterback, Cody Thomas is making just his third career start, and has looked like anything but a world beater. He was 3-13 passing for 39 yards against Kansas last week. I’m betting on OSU because this is exactly the kind of year when we win this game–when we’ve got nothing to lose. And we don’t.


The College Football Playoff and Why Big 12 Realignment Will Rise Again: Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part post. Read the first here.


Remember the summer of 2010, when Nebraska and Colorado announced their decisions to leave the Big 12 for the Big 10 and Pac-10? And when, in the summer and fall of 2011, Texas A&M and Mizzou exited stage SEC? When the Big 12 and much of college football started cannibalizing itself?

In the span of just over a year, some of the oldest rivalries in all of American sports were over: Kansas-Mizzou, A&M-Texas, OU-Nebraska, to name a few. More recently, other rivalries outside the Big 12 bit the dust, too, with the end of WVU-Pitt and Michigan-Notre Dame.

The reasoning behind all this madness? You know it well enough–TV money, and ego. Lots of ego.

The Big 12, which once had a handsome, contiguous geographic footprint that looked like this, was left with this, and a new member in West Virginia whose nearest neighbor is 869 miles to its west.

The only way to repair the broken rivalries will be an unlikely step toward sanity, which would include universities actually listening to their fan bases and scheduling non-conference games that not only matter, but are nourishing to the sport as a whole–how much better would it be for OU to play Nebraska, as opposed to Tennessee, or for Kansas to play Mizzou instead of Southeast Missouri State?

I can tell you this: the Big 12 has to expand, and will. And adding more geographic anomalies (here’s looking at you, WVU) like the much-discussed UConn, Cincinnati or even, god-forbid, UCF, is not the answer. (When conferences get too spread out geographically, they tend to keep fracturing, over and over–take one look at the history of the Western Athletic Conference, which boasts 9 current members against 27 former members.)

So what’s the solution for the Big 12?



Remember our doomsday scenario, where, essentially for lack of a championship game, the the Big 12 misses the CFP? What, then, is the next step?

Look west, not east. BYU is answer no. 1. The Cougars have made no bones about their desire to join the Big 12. Coach Bronco Mendenhall has continued stoking the fire for the past few months, despite the Big 12’s seeming ambivalence.

BYU would bring a huge fan base, quality academics, and a football team that not only traditional success, but has beaten the piss out of Big 12’s most prestigious members with regularity in recent years–here’s looking at you 2012-13 Texas, and 2009 OU.

And, as Allan Taylor of the WV Metro News puts it, BYU “arguably would represent the league’s No. 3 most recognizable football brand (behind UT and Oklahoma) and their 2013 home attendance of 61,225 would have ranked third” in the conference. That’s ahead of everyone but Texas and OU.

But hey, you might be thinking now, aren’t you contradicting yourself, Nate? Utah isn’t contiguous to any current Big 12 member states.

And, wouldn’t BYU’s nearest Big 12 partner, Texas Tech, be–somewhat eerily–868 miles away?

Here’s your answer: Colorado State University.

CSU just finished up its season at 10-2, up until the Rams’ defeat against Air Force, had spent a couple consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25. CSU certainly does not have a high profile in as far as football goes, but they are building a new stadium, have a fantastic coach in Jim McElwain (though he appears to be on his way out), and are exhibiting all the signs of an athletic department on its way up in the world.

Also, CSU is a land grant institution with a very good academic reputation, and its basketball program has made two consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament. As a bonus for fellow new-member Brigham Young, both additions have a long history with one another in the Mountain West and WAC.

To those who might say Colorado State’s lack of football power makes them a terrible choice, I’d say well, did anyone in 2006 think Baylor would ever compete to win the conference two years in a row? Or did anyone in 2000 think OSU would have the kind of run it had from 2010-2013?

CSU would be a grower of a choice, not a show-er.



Here’s what your divisions would look like, should all this come to pass:

Big 12 West: BYU, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State.

Big 12 East: Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, West Virginia.

In terms of cross-division rivals, OSU-OU would, of course, remain a yearly affair.

The only trouble with all this would, of course be West Virginia, which certainly not be pleased with the Big 12 looking west for its newest members. Like I already said, WVU is already nearly 900 miles from its nearest neighbor.

Oliver Luck, WVU’s Athletic Director, has variously described the league’s current 10-team, round robin format as “quite perfect,” and “ideal,” and that there are “no available teams” that the Big 12 would be able to justify adding. Which, it should be clear by now, just ain’t true.

As much as I love the Mountaineers, I don’t think West Virginia would last long in the newly-accurate-in-nomenclature version of the Big 12, just as I don’t think WVU is going to remain in the conference long-term even if it stays at 10 members.

The travel is just too damn far, and, either way, at some point WVU is going to get tired of traveling to Lubbock, Texas for track meets, volleyball games, and soccer matches.

So at some point in the next three-six years, WVU is gone. So who do you add?



Here’s the real long shot.

Much has been written about how Texas caused Nebraska to leave the conference, and about how Nebraska felt marooned by having their annual rivalry with OU cut in half, and how excited the University of Nebraska academic-types were to join a more prestigious academic conference in the Big 10, and how excited Nebraska fans were for regular dates against the likes of Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, and how much better off they thought they’d be.

Yet Nebraska’s move to the Big 10 got a whole hell of a lot less sweeter when Rutgers and Maryland were invited. Just take a look at their home scheduleand the rest of the Big 10’s! Additionally, the Cornhuskers’ recruiting has taken a major hit now that it no longer regularly plays games in Texas.

Also, many of the factors that caused Nebraska to leave the conference are now either much reduced or complete non-factors. DeLoss Dodds is out at Texas, and the Longhorn Network, which many at first worried would be a huge game-changer to UT athletics, has been nothing if not a giant flop. Plus, with the re-entry of Nebraska (and exit of WVU), your divisions would look like this:

Big 12 West: BYU, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Nebraska

Big 12 East: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU

Which, if you decided to keep a nine game conference schedule and renew OU-NU as an annual rivalry, could be very attractive.

But Big 12 execs would have to do much, much more to sweeten the deal enough to bring Nebraska back into the fold. As the most unstable Power5 conferences, it’s long been thought that the Big 12 has no chance of luring a school from one of the other P5’s. However, if the Big 12 were to start sharing its third-tier rights equally, and begin its own network, then I think you’d be looking at a conference able to, perhaps, get one of its own back.



Unless by some insane stroke of luck both TCU and Baylor make it into the CFP, it’s only a matter of time before the Big 12 has to expand.

While much has been made of adding schools like Cincinnati or UConn to provide WVU travel buddies, or South Florida and UCF so that the Big 12 can gain a recruiting foothold in Florida, such additions would simply fragment the conference further. A conference with teams in West Virginia, Florida, Iowa, and Texas, just ain’t built to last.

A Big 12 that looks west, adding BYU and CSU, and gets itself a network, fixing its third-tier rights, and then makes overtures toward Nebraska, and guarantees them a game against OU every year, would be as formidable as any in the country. Both form a brand perspective and from a football strength perspective.

And that, in my opinion, is how to go about fixing this thing.