Current state of The Big 12
Flux on a good day.
Currently, the Big 12 is still ripe for the picking, and the conference will continue this state of flux unless it becomes proactive. Colorado and Nebraska are gone and are not coming back.
Why is it that The Big 12 could be dissolved?
Not for lack of competition.
After all, it is considered by many to be the second best football conference, next to the SEC. This is up for discussion because the Big 10 has had a good year, but it is in the discussion to say the least. In fact, the Big 12 is considered the second best conference nearly every year. Oklahoma seems likely to be chosen for another BCS game, Missouri has secured another 10-win season, Texas was a Colt McCoy injury away from winning the national title last year, Texas A&M seems to be rebuilding, Oklahoma State is a perennial Top 25 team and even Baylor is going bowling.
Furthermore, the Big 12 is a national basketball power. Kansas is one of the “College Basketball Blue Bloods” and they are in the discussion for a national title every year. Because of Kevin Durant, Texas has produced a NBA talent that is unrivaled in the modern "One-and-Done Era" of college basketball. Seriously, name me a college that has produced a talent like Durant. You can’t, because LeBron James and Kobe Bryant did not go to college. Oklahoma alum, Blake Griffin, seems to be doing the unthinkable in changing the culture with the LA Clippers. Beyond NBA talent, the Big 12 fields, on average, seven teams to the NCAA tournament, and those teams do well once they get there. The Big 12 is losing two members and their level of basketball competition will go up. There is no easy win during Big 12 conference play.
What’s the next move?
Add Boise State and Memphis.
Boise State wants to play with the big boys. TCU will abandon them for greener pastures after next season and then the MWC is left as the new WAC. People can argue about how good Boise St. actually is, and while they might not have the tradition of Colorado, they are an upgrade in the current state of the respective programs. Boise St. has two BCS wins and is a Top 25 mainstay. They also replace Colorado’s Mountain West time television market.
Memphis is a college basketball power. Financially, FedEx CEO Fred Smith is willing to pledge $10 million annually to the conference that invites and accepts Memphis. This is a no-brainer. With adding Memphis, the Big 12 will tap into SEC recruiting country and get $10 million for doing it. While the Memphis Tigers don’t have NFL stars outside of DeAngelo Williams, they do have NBA superstars in Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose.
I realize that football is king and generates tremendous revenue for schools, but the NBA is facing what looks to be an inevitable lockout or strike. This means that a great college basketball conference could cash in on a huge TV deal and the Big 12 is a Memphis team away from becoming the unquestioned Alpha-Dog conference.
The New Big 12's outlook.
Dan Beebe needs to make a move and adding Boise State and Memphis creates minimal drop-off in football. The remaining Big 12 conference has two teams in the BCS Championship discussion every year, Texas and Oklahoma. Boise gives the North a two time BCS game winner to replace Nebraska, and at the very least a consistent bowl eligible team. Memphis may add little to the league in football stature, but it adds a great television market.
The new Big 12 would be a juggernaut in college basketball. Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Baylor are currently in the top ten. Memphis is in the top 15 and Texas is in the top 20.
Oh, and it gives your conference an additional $10 million a year for the foreseeable future. That donation is essentially like winning another BCS game every year. Also, the 12 teams would allow the Big 12 to continue its championship game which is a fantastic revenue generator. The one thing that all this conference has proved over and over again: "If it does not make dollars, then it does not sense."