Conference realignment has been the most discussed topic in college football over the past several years along with the long fight to establish a playoff system at the NCAA level, and realignment will certainly remain a key subject as the implementation of that playoff system approaches.
The Big 12 has been spot lighted as a conference that is in limbo when it comes to realignment and the overall future of the conference, mainly because the shot callers won’t make a decision on how or if they will try to realign.
As I have discussed, the collapse of the Big East as a football conference opens the door for the Big 12 to try and snag some schools to boost its ranks in preparation for 2014 and the new playoff system. However, in these previous discussions I have focused primarily on the schools that are already members of the Big East, and not those set to join in time for the 2013 football season. However, one school in that category should be in the Big 12’s crosshairs right now: the SMU Mustangs.
SMU has had some ups and downs over the past several seasons, but there have been more ups and they are a program that is poised to take its game to the next level in terms of conference competition. Hell, the Mustangs practically begged the Big 12 to take them a few years ago.
From 2009 – 2012 SMU went 30-22 overall and 3-1 in bowl games. Compare that to the Texas Longhorns who over the same stretch went 34-16 and 2-1 in bowls, while missing out on going to a bowl in 2010 due to a 5-7 record. Granted, Texas has been playing in a much better conference, and that one bowl loss was in the National Championship, but the point I’m making is that SMU has been winning games and is ready to step up to a big boy conference.
The Big East is not the conference that SMU wanted, but they took it because it was the best they could get. They wanted the Big 12, and now is the perfect time for the Big 12 to pull the same move it did to acquire the TCU Horned Frogs. The Big 12 needs to whisper sweet nothings into SMU’s ear and get them to ditch the Big East for a conference much closer to home.
SMU was a member of the Southwest Conference back in the day and has a long standing rivalry with TCU in the Battle for the Iron Skillet. The Big 12 would be a nice comfy little home for SMU, and the State of Texas is looking more and more like a free-for-all in terms of recruiting.
The Longhorns used to have the pick of the litter, but lately TCU has nudged in on their ground, not to mention that one team that ran away to the SEC, and the Oklahoma Sooners have always poached players from the Lone Star State. Dallas is oozing with recruits coming out of massive high schools, and SMU could easily snag more than a fair share of those talented youngsters if they put in some real effort.
Traditional rivals, recruiting in your home state in order to steal recruits away from your conference foes…sounds like the Big 12 is the perfect home for SMU in the long run, and I’ve got a suspicion that all it would take for the Big 12 to convince the Mustangs to come on over is for the Big 12 to ask them to. Let’s make it happen.
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