Of all the Automatic Qualifying Leagues in the BCS, no other league is going to be dealing with expansion rumors more than the Big-12 throughout 2011. While the deal Commissioner Dan Beebe put together last June to hold onto Texas and keep the league intact despite the destabilizing loss of Nebraska to the Big-Ten and Colorado’s move to the PAC-12, sooner or later a 10 institution league with no Conference Championship Game is going to find itself at a huge disadvantage when final BCS polls are released after the first December weekend placing the best teams in the Grand Finale a month or so later.
Unlike the SEC, Big-Ten and now the PAC-12, the Big-12 is at a huge disadvantage with respects to its TV deals, particularly the one that runs through 2016 with ESPN. Schools such as Texas want to exploit their brand at a higher profile against their smaller league partners further north in places like Ames, Iowa or Manhattan, Kansas and put together their own TV deal in addition to what the league can negotiate. Additionally Oklahoma and Texas A&M are reportedly exploring their options for their own TV channels/networks. With this instability on the table and resentment from smaller schools, this has been harder in many ways to hold together than Mikhail Gorbachev holding the Soviet Union together 2 decades ago.
With NO PARTICULAR ORDER let’s put the facts on the table on who the Big-12 should try to invite should these individual TV deals be finalized and the overall league structure stabilize enough to explore making the Big-12 brand on the same level as the Big-Ten and the SEC where it has historically been throughout the history of the BCS era of college football.