West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck believes the Big 12 should seriously considering expanding. ESPN/ABC and the conference are currently negotiating an extension (for 10 teams) of first-tier television rights with escalators in place. Add some combination of Louisville, BYU and Cincinnati and the annual payouts per school increase.
The Big 12 will focus initially on finding a permanent replacement for interim commissioner Chuck Neinas. After, television deals and expansion become real talking points. I’m not sure any of the three campuses listed above (sans BYU perhaps) says “no” if a Big 12 invite arrives. Louisville has been linked and fought, politically, to gain entrance into a conference that was near death two consecutive summers.
Expansion is going to happen. Realignment might restart again, on a smaller scale, in a few months.
Still, while correct in his long-term goals for the league, Oliver has a bit of learning to do (the Mountaineers don’t officially join the Big 12 until July 1st) and luckily for him, I’m offering a free copy of my “Welcome to the Big 12” pamphlet.
1. The Big 12 Commissioner keeps an office in Austin, Texas
Does it wrangle the Sooners? Of course. Do they care because they keep winning the Big 12? Not a bit. Chuck Neinas and Dan Beebe before him did an admirable job attending meetings, holding press conferences and speaking from cue cards. The man who asks the rest of the conference to turn and cough though is DeLoss Dodds. His athletic department doubles as a U.S. Mint. With that money comes a certain amount of power and having earned your law degree from the University of Texas, Oliver, surely you understand this. Someday – and that day may never come – DeLoss may call upon you to do a service for him. But until that day, accept this justice as gift on your school’s Big 12 Welcome day.
2. Iowa State is guaranteed an upset each football season
Bill Byrne will find your phone number and without question, he’ll ask for a Thanksgiving matchup. He’s smooth, calculating and downright terrifying when he asks if you’re ready to stick it to “t.u.”. Ignore his calls and put up a bat signal, we’ve found that tends to throw Aggies awry. We’re also not totally sure where the Missouri campus is anymore. Gary Pinkel was supposed to give us directions every year but he was mysteriously busy from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
5. If you’re looking for a quarterback, follow Art Briles on the recruiting trail
This might not apply to you as much as some of the others because Dana Holgorsen gets signal-callers. He gets them the same way he understands asking for a woman’s number in a casino is a losing bet. Hand out room keys and keep an eye on the high schools Briles visits. Those two things can move you pretty far along in life.