Big 12 Football: League Needs Bob Bowlsby to Handle Expansion

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterMay 15, 2012

AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 15:  University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr., center, Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonskon, left, and Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds, right, announce the athletics programs will continue competing in the Big 12 Conference June 15, 2010 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

The rumors are flying with respect to Florida State and the Big 12. If the money is right, the Seminoles should most certainly take off for the conference set in the Southwest.

However, as the Big 12 transitions into the Bob Bowlsby era, the conference is in desperate need of the new commissioner to be in charge of the expansion predicament. Bowlsby is going to be the voice of reason, the impartial decision-maker for the conference, something the conference has not had for quite some time. 

Even as the conference is restructured and set up to help teams succeed, the two power brokers still exist. It is clear in the message from DeLoss Dodds, the Texas athletic director, that Oklahoma and Texas stand ahead of the rest.

While mum has been the word from the Big 12, the Texas AD has stepped up to squelch the rumors about interest in the team from Tallahassee. As Dodds further expanded to Kirk Bohls:

“I’m for 10,” he said, meaning the current 10-school membership with the additions of TCU and West Virginia, starting this summer. “I think Oklahoma wants to talk about it. If the rest of the league wants more than 10, we’ll be good partners (and accept that).”

Dodds is playing ball—at least it seems. While others might be concerned with the idea of expansion, the real clear point here is that Oklahoma and Texas are going to fight to stay at 10 until they have no other option.

When you are in Texas' position with the Longhorn Network looking to expand their role, the added benefit of a conference championship game and a worthy opponent does not outweigh the possible negative outcomes: another opportunity to lose en route to the four-team playoff, an additional tough regular season contest in some seasons.

When you are printing your own money, like Texas, the expansion dance is not about survival, it is about positioning themselves for the greatest success.

With the issue becoming increasingly pressing, the best move for the Big 12 is to muzzle DeLoss Dodds, not allow the Texas power broker to speak out for the conference. Rather, they need their new commissioner to be prudent, to be smart and to do what is best for the entire conference.

Texas and Oklahoma are not worried about the bottom lines of TCU, West Virginia, Texas Tech or Kansas—that's Bob Bowlsby's job. The conference needs him to get on the job sooner, not later.

This Florida State move, with the addition of another viable property, could expand their footprint, increase their possible revenue in the television contract and give the league a cash cow through a conference championship game—something that would benefit the other members of the league.