Monday, June 6, 2016

What the 2017 Big 12 will look like

My man Chris Hall did some nice work recently at Inside Texas talking about the Big 12's decision to add a championship game starting in 2017 without adding additional programs to the league.

I explained on this blog before why expansion was basically a non-starter because there aren't any teams that add major TV market revenues that would make splitting the pot 12-ways rather than 10-ways an appealing option.

That article, "4 facts about the future of the Big 12" should be useful now if you aren't familiar with some of the underlying factors that are going to dictate how things go from here.

Adding a championship game is catching a lot of flak because one of the inevitable consequences it will have will be eliminating a Big 12 team from the playoffs that otherwise would have been "in." At some point in the future, Texas or Oklahoma will be the consensus no. 1 team in the Big 12, they'll play one of the northern teams in the title game, and they'll get upset. The result will be that no Big 12 team enters the playoffs that year.

Given enough time and that's going to happen, it's a mathematical certainty.

But the league is adding a game anyways because it's going to be entertaining and will create more revenue for the league. If you've been paying attention to what's going on at Baylor right now you know that this is ultimately all about money.

One positive from this is in scenarios like we saw in 2014 when TCU vs Baylor was the de-facto Big 12 championship game and it occurred in Waco. That's not really fair to TCU, who would have had a reasonable argument IF they beat Baylor in a end of year championship game that narrowly losing to the Bears mid-year in Waco but then beating them at a neutral site made them the true champions.

I happen to think Baylor was the better team that year but still, a neutral(ish)-site championship game clears issues like that up.

Here's where that becomes a problem though...Texas and Oklahoma already play their game at a neutral site and everyone is used to that game carrying the utmost importance regarding who wins the league.

In the future realignment of the league designed to create divisions and a championship game, Oklahoma and Texas cannot be in opposite divisions.

They have to be kept together or else you sacrifice the Red River Shootout and it's place of importance in the season. Since Texas and OU are absolutely calling the shots in this league you can bet on that game being protected. So here's how I'm expecting the divisions to shake out:

Separating Oklahoma and Oklahoma State isn't a great idea either because then you have the problem of an immediate re-match every year after Bedlam. Either they need to be kept together or else the game needs to be moved.
Instead, let's go with TCU, which should guarantee a little more division-parity so long as Patterson is sitting on the throne in Ft. Worth.

This is the divisional alignment that makes the most sense, and since everyone is still playing each other it's no great sacrifice for TCU. In fact, that's a pretty nice spot to be sitting in. Tech or Baylor would probably love to be in that spot but TCU is more eastern than Tech and more northern than Baylor so this is the best fit.

Should all be quite interesting and hopefully entertaining.

5 comments:

  1. I think your divisional split has merit, but there are at least two other ways to do it that I think would work equally well.

    Proposal A
    East: ISU, OU, OSU, TCU, WV
    West: BU, KU, KSU, TT, UT

    Proposal B
    Texas: BU, TCU, TT, UT, WV
    Oklahoma: ISU, KU, KSU, OU, OSU

    What issues do you see with these proposals?

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    Replies
    1. You split up OU-Texas, which has the risk of ruining the Red River Shootout and pushing those two programs to just dissolve the league and seek greener pastures.

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  2. I like the way you have this split up - in my opinion (as a TCU fan) it's very advantageous to be in the division with the northern teams, as we would be playing them at the beginning of the season, before weather becomes a serious factor against the northern teams.

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    Replies
    1. Why would you play them earlier in the year? I didn't think of that, although it's advantageous enough just to be competing record wise against the northern-teams since they aren't as good.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete