Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bring Back the Southwest Conference

Colorado officially announced that they're leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10 today. That doesn't really mean anything, as the Buffaloes are immanently replaceable.

If, as is expected, Nebraska announces tomorrow that they're moving to the Big Ten, that's when the shit will really hit the fan. It's assumed at that point that the Big 12 South (minus Baylor) will join the Pac-10. Unless the Big Ten manages to wrangle Notre Dame, the Pac-10 will have stolen the show.

Really? I'm not so sure. Craig James was saying on ESPN College Football Live today that the mood in Texas is one of disbelief. They don't understand how an inferior conference managed to steal them away. They feel robbed. I'm not sure that's really what's happening.

The Pac-10 isn't taking over the Big 12 South, the Big 12 South is taking over the Pac-10. The Big 12 South is effectively its own conference. Every member was once in the defunct Southwest Conference. Whether they play in the Big 12 or the Pac-10, they will all still dominate. Unless the new Pac-16 manages to talk the BCS into giving them two automatic bids, it will be a long time before we see an original Pac-8 team in a BCS game*. Say good-bye to your traditional Rose Bowl match-ups. Unless of course an 8-team tournament emerges. Wait a minute, that would still eliminate the traditional Rose Bowl match-ups.

Southwest Conference logoThe new Pac-16 would immediately become the 1st or 2nd strongest football conference, behind the SEC, but that's not saying much. The Big 12 South could join Conference USA and make it the 2nd best conference behind the SEC. The Big 12 South on its own would be the 2nd best conference, which is why I wonder why they don't just reform the Southwest Conference. That would let you keep Baylor around. Then maybe you could pluck back TCU, Houston and even SMU and Rice (you've got to have some doormat teams). Boom. Then you have the Tex-Ok Conference. You'd pick up the Big 12's BCS bid and you're masters of your own destiny.

Somehow I doubt that's what Texas A&M and Texas are talking about today. College football has decided it needs "super-conferences" in spite of the fact that large conferences traditionally never survive.

* If you doubt this, realize that it's been 7 years since a Big 12 North team won the Big 12 Championship Game. The North is a less than stellar 4-10 all time, and one of those wins was by Colorado. So, congrats Pac-10 on marginalizing your original members.

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