Some interesting chatter arose today regarding rumored talks between the University of Texas and the Big Ten conference—and a possible realignment that could take place if UT was really interested.
While such a scenario would be shocking for many people if it were to play out, it's really not that far-fetched if you think about it.
The Longhorns would be joining classic powers like Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan, the revenue stream from TV broadcasts would increase, and I'm not sure Head Coach Mack Brown and company could complain about having to travel to Pasadena if they win a conference title every year.
All of that sounds pretty good from a football standpoint, but there is far too much at stake in a move like that.
Not only are you having to fork over more money for longer out-of-town flights, you potentially sacrifice playing rivals Oklahoma and A&M every year—a fact many Texas fans would not be too pleased with. (Let's face it: Texas won't schedule OU and A&M in the nonconference slate every year).
Moreover, recruiting could take a hit with a move to the Big Ten. Obviously, the institution wouldn't be leaving the state of Texas, but many of the Texas-born-and-bred recruits that Brown signs annually would not have as many opportunities to play in their home state (no contests with Baylor, A&M, or Texas Tech). You risk losing ground in your biggest recruiting pool by playing so many games up north.
With all of that being said, I believe a realignment concerning the Big 12 and Big Ten conferences is forthcoming—whether it be two years or 10 years down the road.
As such, I have a proposal for a realignment that could increase the competition level and overall interest level in the Big 12 and Big Ten.
Here's the step-by-step walk-through:
Step One: Send Missouri to the Big Ten, Split Big Ten into Two Divisions
Since the season ended, there has been a lot of talk about a potential move by Missouri into the Big Ten, and it makes sense.
Mizzou is an up-and-coming program that fits in geographically with the other Big Ten teams, and the addition of another spread offense into the conference could make for some really interesting games.
With the addition of a 12th team to the conference, there would be enough teams to form two divisions and hold a conference championship game at season's end.
The divisions would shape up something like this:
Ohio State, Wisconsin, Mizzou, Minnesota, Illinois, and Northwestern in one division.
Penn State, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, and Indiana in the other.
Step Two: Move Oklahoma to the Big 12 North, Add TCU in the South
I've been in favor of this for a few years simply because I want to see the two best teams in the Big 12 play in the championship game.
With the exception of Nebraska this past season, the Big 12 South has performed far better than their northern counterparts—and we've been forced to watch a great South team (Oklahoma, Texas) run away with the conference crown.
By adding the Sooners to the North in the place of departed Missouri, we potentially get two match-ups a season between Texas and Oklahoma, with one coming in the annual game in Dallas and the other potentially playing out in the Big 12 title game.
You can't tell me that two servings of Texas-OU almost every season wouldn't be perfect.
With the Big 12 needing to fill a vacant spot in the South Division, it could look no further than in-state, BCS crasher TCU.
The Horned Frogs, ripe from an impressive 11-1 season and BCS appearance, would be ideal candidates to join Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Baylor in the South.
With two strong teams in both divisions of the conference (Texas and TCU in the South, Oklahoma and Nebraska in the North), each division would be well represented in the conference title game—not to mention causing a serious boost in TV ratings.
Now consider these potential championship match-ups:
Texas-Oklahoma (Red River Rivalry: Part Two), TCU-Oklahoma, Texas-Nebraska, TCU-Nebraska, and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (Bedlam: Part Two).
Step Three: Move Boise State to Mountain West, Give MWC automatic BCS Bid
With the loss of its premiere team to the Big 12, the Mountain West would be in need of some serious compensation.
Enter Boise State.
The Broncos have been knocking on the door for a shot at a national championship for the past few seasons, and their undefeated 2009 campaign only strengthened their resolve.
Joining the MWC would only help the Broncos cause. Playing high-profile games against Utah and BYU every year would be a huge boost for a team that doesn't get much credit for running the table in the WAC.
Contrary to popular belief, the MWC has earned its spot among the major BCS conferences, as was evident by another strong bowl-season showing. As such, it's time for the NCAA to man up and give this conference an automatic bid to the BCS.
With three solid contenders in Boise, Utah, and BYU, the Mountain West would be more than ready to take its competition to the next level.
Do you like this plan? Got some ideas of your own? Sound off, creatures...
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