College football reshuffling

Well, my team, the Oklahoma Sooners, ranked #1, beat the highest rated team on their schedule, #5 Florida State, making me think they are for real.  OU has had a habit of losing games like this–early in the season, on the road, pre-mature hype–but this time, though it was a very hard-fought and exciting game, there was no choking, no appearance of disorganized panic when things got hard, just relentless football that ground out a 10 point victory.

But now I’ve heard that OU is seriously considering leaving what’s left of the Big 12 conference–along with Oklahoma State and maybe Texas, and I don’t know who all–for the Pac 12.   Oklahoma is nowhere near the Pacific ocean!  We are two time-zones away from the West Coast! A 7:00 p.m. road came will start at 9:00 p.m. in Oklahoma 5:00 p.m. in California!

I am opposed to doing violence to regional identity, language, and mathematics.   This is not the only conference shuffling in the works.  Texas Christian University, in roughly the same longitude as Oklahoma, is joining the Big East!  I don’t know the reasons for these shifts–I suppose the other conference members aren’t bringing in as much money for the pot as the members of these other conferences do–but I hate the loss of primordial rivalries (such as OU and Nebraska, which has already absconded to the Big Ten, now consisting of 12 members, with the Big 12 consisting of 10 members; the conferences should at least exchange names, until next year when the Big 12 may shrink to the Little 7).

I do see one potentially silver lining.  There are currently six Division-1 conferences in the BCS system.  The Big East is also bleeding members, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh considering joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.  If the Big 12 dissolves and the Pac 12 growing to unmanageable proportions, maybe it could split into two.   We could have four major conferences:  Perhaps a northeast, a southeast, a northwest, and a southwest, or if football wants to eliminate regions in favor of these artificial alliances, so be it.  But then with only four conferences, the winners could play each other.

Maybe all of this conference re-shuffling is the free market making possible a true national championship.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Eric Brown

    It would end up being 4 major conferences – an East (ACC), the Southeast (SEC), the Midwest (Big 10 [16]), and the Southwest/West (Pac-16). And actually, division consisting of OU, OK State, Texas, Texas Tech/TCU, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State wouldn’t be *too* big. And you simply wouldn’t play that many west coast night games with the easterly teams.

  • Eric Brown

    It would end up being 4 major conferences – an East (ACC), the Southeast (SEC), the Midwest (Big 10 [16]), and the Southwest/West (Pac-16). And actually, division consisting of OU, OK State, Texas, Texas Tech/TCU, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State wouldn’t be *too* big. And you simply wouldn’t play that many west coast night games with the easterly teams.

  • SKPeterson

    If you have 4 or 6 super-conferences, you get the makings of a real play-off system and a “real” national champion. The conferences will have their own playoffs between their division champions, resulting in conference champions. The BCS would then change into some sort of round-robin of “bowl” games that would pit different conference champions against each other (so it works better if you have 4, but with 6 you get the egg roll of a wild card dependent upon the ranking system), with the winners eventually heading to the national championship game. This would result really in only 1 extra game being played per season at most, and then only by the championship teams.

    As to divisional alignment and regional affiliation, precedent has already been set in Texas, with the Dallas Cowboys having continually been in the East Division with Philly, the Giants and the Redskins. If you want football with real divisional rivalries and tradition watch D2.

  • SKPeterson

    If you have 4 or 6 super-conferences, you get the makings of a real play-off system and a “real” national champion. The conferences will have their own playoffs between their division champions, resulting in conference champions. The BCS would then change into some sort of round-robin of “bowl” games that would pit different conference champions against each other (so it works better if you have 4, but with 6 you get the egg roll of a wild card dependent upon the ranking system), with the winners eventually heading to the national championship game. This would result really in only 1 extra game being played per season at most, and then only by the championship teams.

    As to divisional alignment and regional affiliation, precedent has already been set in Texas, with the Dallas Cowboys having continually been in the East Division with Philly, the Giants and the Redskins. If you want football with real divisional rivalries and tradition watch D2.

  • Random Lutheran

    This is all a plot to destroy Kansas basketball.

  • Random Lutheran

    This is all a plot to destroy Kansas basketball.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    As an Aggie, I have been watching the whole thing with rather avid interest since mid-July.
    As far as the Big-12 is concerned the reason for this is three-fold.
    t.u. ticked people off, Dan Beebe is incompetent, and ESPN has too much control over college football.
    Last year, I thought if Dan doesn’t bring in schools to replace Nebraska and Colorado the Big12 would die. Like a moron he went after Arkansas, who is perfectly happy in the SEC, never mind a couple of up and comers who are in the region and would be happy to join a BCS conference.

    Then ESPN announces they are going to pay for the privilege to show all things t.u with a contract that pretty much eliminated other schools in the Big12 doing the same. I recall right at the time this deal was announced Stoops went ballistic and the A&M fan base wasn’t far behind. After the initial outcry most died off, we were still unhappy with the 300 mill paycheck, but a fair number figured it would flop and ESPN would kill the contract. Then in a bid to make it profitable, ESPN and t.u. wanted to put conference games and high school football games on the t.u. channel. That decision brought the hammer out for the nail in the coffin. A&M and OU led the charge to call foul bypassed Beebe and went straight to the NCAA. t.u. in their arrogance figured A&M and OU would never leave, so much of our traditions involve a rivalry with them. Then they got a shock when Gov. Rick Perry, a former student of A&M, in a press conference let slip that there has been discussions concerning A&M leaving the Big12. It was later confirmed when we sent our official notice to the Big12.
    I was not surprised to see OU begin to talk realignment soon after. I know all the commentators think OU is going to go Pac12 but I think SEC, ACC, or even Big10 would be a better fit. I really don’t see t.u. going Pac12, they would have to share their ESPN money.

    Kansas will land on their feet, the Big East wants them for their basketball program. The ones who should be and are worried are Iowa State and Baylor.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    As an Aggie, I have been watching the whole thing with rather avid interest since mid-July.
    As far as the Big-12 is concerned the reason for this is three-fold.
    t.u. ticked people off, Dan Beebe is incompetent, and ESPN has too much control over college football.
    Last year, I thought if Dan doesn’t bring in schools to replace Nebraska and Colorado the Big12 would die. Like a moron he went after Arkansas, who is perfectly happy in the SEC, never mind a couple of up and comers who are in the region and would be happy to join a BCS conference.

    Then ESPN announces they are going to pay for the privilege to show all things t.u with a contract that pretty much eliminated other schools in the Big12 doing the same. I recall right at the time this deal was announced Stoops went ballistic and the A&M fan base wasn’t far behind. After the initial outcry most died off, we were still unhappy with the 300 mill paycheck, but a fair number figured it would flop and ESPN would kill the contract. Then in a bid to make it profitable, ESPN and t.u. wanted to put conference games and high school football games on the t.u. channel. That decision brought the hammer out for the nail in the coffin. A&M and OU led the charge to call foul bypassed Beebe and went straight to the NCAA. t.u. in their arrogance figured A&M and OU would never leave, so much of our traditions involve a rivalry with them. Then they got a shock when Gov. Rick Perry, a former student of A&M, in a press conference let slip that there has been discussions concerning A&M leaving the Big12. It was later confirmed when we sent our official notice to the Big12.
    I was not surprised to see OU begin to talk realignment soon after. I know all the commentators think OU is going to go Pac12 but I think SEC, ACC, or even Big10 would be a better fit. I really don’t see t.u. going Pac12, they would have to share their ESPN money.

    Kansas will land on their feet, the Big East wants them for their basketball program. The ones who should be and are worried are Iowa State and Baylor.

  • DonS

    It’s all about TV. As Dr. Luther says, I think the Texas TV contract, not requiring equal sharing with other conference members, ticked off those other members, and accelerated the downfall of the Big 12 (now 10). Once the psychology starts rolling that a conference is failing, there is a mad rush by each school to become aligned with another conference before the good spots are taken. The Pac 10 and Big 10 wanted at least 12 members so they could split into divisions and have a lucrative conference championship game. That was another factor accelerating the team moves.

    There is still a lot to sort out, but ultimately it seems as if the new alignments, with four super-conferences and the Big 12 and Big East becoming minor conferences in football, will lend itself to a playoffs format down the road.

  • DonS

    It’s all about TV. As Dr. Luther says, I think the Texas TV contract, not requiring equal sharing with other conference members, ticked off those other members, and accelerated the downfall of the Big 12 (now 10). Once the psychology starts rolling that a conference is failing, there is a mad rush by each school to become aligned with another conference before the good spots are taken. The Pac 10 and Big 10 wanted at least 12 members so they could split into divisions and have a lucrative conference championship game. That was another factor accelerating the team moves.

    There is still a lot to sort out, but ultimately it seems as if the new alignments, with four super-conferences and the Big 12 and Big East becoming minor conferences in football, will lend itself to a playoffs format down the road.

  • Lisa

    Absconded? There was no absconding involved in the way Nebraska left the Big 12-2. It was all done out in the open. They paid their fine and moved on to greener pastures in the Big 10+2. When the big 12 was formed it was OU who was all for dissolving the annual game with Nebraska. They said that Texas was their only rival. I am sure that the beatings that the Sooners took at the hands of the Cornhuskers during the 90′s played into that decision.

  • Lisa

    Absconded? There was no absconding involved in the way Nebraska left the Big 12-2. It was all done out in the open. They paid their fine and moved on to greener pastures in the Big 10+2. When the big 12 was formed it was OU who was all for dissolving the annual game with Nebraska. They said that Texas was their only rival. I am sure that the beatings that the Sooners took at the hands of the Cornhuskers during the 90′s played into that decision.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Whatever happens, my Michigan Wolverines are looking better and better by the day

    Go Blue!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Whatever happens, my Michigan Wolverines are looking better and better by the day

    Go Blue!

  • Dan Kempin

    ” . . . a true national championship.”

    This, too, is vanity. A chasing after the wind.

  • Dan Kempin

    ” . . . a true national championship.”

    This, too, is vanity. A chasing after the wind.


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