2010 Big 12 Football: Looking Ahead

David HedlindAnalyst IIJune 14, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 5: Sam Meginnis #67 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers gets ready to hike the ball during the Big 12 Football Championship game against the Texas Longhorns at Cowboys Stadium on December 5, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This is the last season of the Big 12 as we have come to know it.

If you have been reading what I have been writing lately, you know I have been talking about potential expansion.

Well in the last week, expansion has gone from talk to action. Two teams from the Big 12 have already made it known that they will be leaving the conference and joining others as soon as next season.

There are still rumors that as many as seven or so other teams are potentially going to be in another conference within another week or so.

There is also talk that the remaining ten teams could try and stand as they are, while other rumors have the Big 12 looking for replacements.

It would take forever to talk about these rumors and I am sure by now most of you have heard or read nearly all of them anyway.

So moving on to one of the other topics I have largely been discussing: new coaches.

The two coaches that lost their jobs in the Big 12 this past season both lost them under similar circumstances in that they were both alleged to be mistreating players.

Kansas has replaced Mark Mangino with Turner Gill. Gill was a highly sought after up-and-coming coach from the University of Buffalo. One year after the Bulls' best season in decades, they only managed a 5-7 season. This didn’t change his stock as Kansas tabbed him as their new coach.

Tommy Tuberville makes his return to college football by replacing Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. Leach had been successful at Tech but the controversy was too much to overcome. Tuberville was a fairly successful coach at Auburn but resigned after his first losing season with the Tigers.

Both teams should look different in the coming season.

The Big 12 champion will still go to the Fiesta Bowl in the event they are not in the national championship game.

The Cotton Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Alamo Bowl, and Insight Bowl are all still in the mix for the Big 12.

The Gator Bowl, Sun Bowl, Independence Bowl, and Texas Bowl have changed partners and will no longer host a Big 12 team.

In their place the Big 12 now has a partnership with the Yankee Pinstripe Bowl to play the Big East and the Dallas Classic to face what will be a third Big Ten team during bowl season.

These are the two newest bowls created and will play their first games ever this season.

It is hard not to expect a rematch in the Big 12 title game this season. Texas and Nebraska appear to have the lead over their respective divisions. Oklahoma is always a contender though, and Missouri is returning a fairly experienced team to challenge in the North.

This will likely be the last time we see a Big 12 championship game, at least for a while.