Big 12 Realignment: The Big Texas Plus Nine Conference
The loss of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Colorado Buffaloes leaves the Big 12 with 10 teams but accentuates the conference's financial imbalance problem. The smaller conference has not yet been renamed but I would recommend something like the Big Texas Plus Nine conference.
Nebraska and Colorado both ranked in the top-5 in Big 12 conference football revenue leaving fewer teams to compete with the Longhorns. Although individual school revenue is not destiny, it is a key variable in being able to hire the best coaches, build and maintain the best facilities, and have the political influence to affect the sport.
The University of Texas now has really only two conference financial competitors in football. Based on 2008 figures, Texas had revenues of $87 million with Oklahoma at $47 million and Texas A&M at $38 million.
All other schools came in with $26 million or less. Baylor came in last at $12 million per year. How can a conference expect competitiveness with such a mismatch in financial resources from top to bottom in a conference?
Initial reports suggest that the new 10-team conference will probably be more financially imbalanced. Although new television contracts will boost total conference revenue, Texas and Oklahoma will benefit the most. They will get more TV revenue and be allowed to develop their own individual TV contracts.
This would not be allowed in any other major conference but seems to be a desperation attempt to do anything necessary to keep the league together.
Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State, and Baylor just signed on for the Big Texas Plus Nine conference. Their chance to win the conference championship in football likely fell under the new conference arrangement.
The new conference will not be eligible to have a conference championship. But based on the growing financial inequality, the championship game will likely be played each year in the Cotton Bowl. That's when Oklahoma and Texas meet in the annual Red River rivalry.
For many years, the rest of the conference teams will likely be battling for third place.
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