Sunday, June 6, 2010

Off Topic Commentary: BSU to the MWC... er Big XII?!

So as a big time college sports fan (not just football), I've been following the conference expansion talk pretty closely. With word today that the Pac 10 commish has the authority to go out and shop for members the whole game is in play. While I would really like Bob Kustra to get a call from the Pac 10, I know deep down that is about as likely as the USA winning the World Cup this year. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? Not even close.

Now, as any even minor follower of BSU athletics knows the Mountain West Conference (MWC) is going to be meeting this week to discuss among other things, conference expansion. It is anticipated that BSU will be invited to join the MWC and BSU will accept on the spot. This is a pretty notable development although won't be all that surprising. However, this is where things get interesting!

Word in the college athletic world is that the Pac 10 is going to raid the Big XII and take six teams. The likely schools to leave the Big XII for the Pac 10 are Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and either Baylor or Colorado. In regards to the BU or CU dilemma, it appears that politics mean something. You see, the Pac 10 would probably prefer CU because it gives them a footprint into the Denver media market. However, don't underestimate the value of a good political struggle! A state senator for Waco seems to be reluctant to allow his beloved Bears (BU) left behind while the rest of the top teir Texas teams head to the Pac 10. No doubt that BU has the academic cred, but the athletic component specifically football, which is really driving most of this talk, is lacking.

In addition to the moves being made by Pac 10, we also see the Big 10 making similar ovations towards Nebraska and Mizzou. In fact, the courting of Nebraska and Mizzou has gotten so public that the Big XII has demanded that the two schools make a decision on where they want to be by the end of this week. That sort of public excoriation is unprecedented as far as I know. It also sounds a lot like a conference that is desperate and realizes that the ship may be sinking.

So what does this have to do with BSU? Well, if the Pac 10 and Big 10 do as is expected and ransack the Big XII, then the Big XII is stuck in a big time pickle. With only four schools remaining (Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and BU or CU) they don't really have a conference. The remaining schools will be looking to find a new home and fast. In comes the MWC to save the day. With the regional proximity and the athletic and academic comparability (albeit somewhat less prestigious) a merger between the MWC and Big XII would be a natural result, with the Big XII keeping the namesake for marketing purposes.

If you are MWC schools this is dream come true. If you are the four remaining Big XII schools, this is called making the best of a terrible situation. If you are BSU or a BSU fan, this is called the unthinkable happening. The crazy thing is, this isn't that crazy! To be sure, nothing is certain and a lot of pieces of this giant jigsaw puzzle are still waiting to be placed, but if they are then the result could be nothing short of miraculous.

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