University of Oklahoma president David Boren says the Big 12 conference needs to be careful if it is going to consider expansion.
In a statement released this week, Boren said, “I do not favor adding two more members unless they meet very high criteria. When we look at football playoffs and our conference is bumping up against conferences with 12 or 14 members, I believe that we are psychologically disadvantaged because we are a smaller conference.”
Boren also said, “Our television contracts are written to expand proportionally if we add additional schools. In other words, the pie gets proportionally larger if it is cut 12 ways instead of 10. There could be some slight loss of revenue from bowl games and other sources, but if the conference carefully selects additional members, based upon their media markets and fan base support, the amount should increase rather than decrease. We should, however, be very selective.”
The fact that the president of one of the top two schools in the conference (Texas being the other) is open to discussing expansion should be viewed as good news for schools like UCF, BYU and Cincinnati who would all love a chance to pull in Power 5 conference dollars.
The question of whether any of those schools would be a good fit for the Big 12 remains, but at least they may have a chance to be in the discussion.
However, based on what happened to TCU and Baylor last year, the Big 12 is at a serious disadvantage if they choose to continue playing with only 10 teams. Many believe that it was the Big 12’s lack of a conference championship game that allowed Ohio State to leapfrog TCU in the final rankings for the College Football Playoff.
By not having that extra game, and thus an extra chance to impress the CFP selection committee, both TCU and Baylor were left out of the playoff, clearing the way for the eventual national championship run by the Buckeyes.
One can only speculate what might have happened had TCU, for instance, demolished an opponent in a Big 12 championship game they way they did Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.
The Big 12 certainly needs to expand to 12 teams to stay on equal footing with the other Power 5 conferences, and given the quotes this week from OU’s president, it looks like they understand that. What they’ll do about it, and who they might add, remains to be seen.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports