I've been pondering this for two weeks and have written about it a several times. The Senator hit on it yesterday. Why isn't the Big 12 already figuring out their next move?
The Big 12 doesn't have to die. Even if Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State follow Colorado and Nebraska out, the remaining schools have two very valuable commodities. The first is the most obvious to me, the automatic qualifier to a BCS game. This alone, despite TCU and other's bluster about not wanting to be in a conference with Baylor, is bait enough to get the likes of TCU, Utah and Boise State to the table. The persistent message from PlayoffPac and the schools of the MWC is the lack of access to the money the BCS brings to a conference. If you can't beat them, join them.
I grant the MWC stands a decent or better chance of being granted AQ status when the BCS protocol plays out in two years, but the schools that most likely would float the Mountain West ship up to that level are the very ones that are the best candidates to join a league that guarantees them AQ status. Missing out on that kind of prestige and money for the sake of getting Baylor back for whatever happened in 1994 seems like an awful high price to pay for whatever that slight was.
The second is all of the money Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State are going to leave the conference during the two years until they leave. Per the Big 12 bylaws, those leaving forfiet 50% of their revenue to the remaining members. If you think about those schools, my back of the envelope calculations means those six schools will give about 70 million dollars of shared revenue (based on 2007 numbers) back to the remaining six schools in the transition years. That would be a very powerful bargaining chip to bring to the table when looking for new schools to join.
Also, the Big 12 bylaws require a 9 school vote to dissolve (technically, a 75% vote to modify the bylaws). By my count, there are no more than two who have remotely flirted with leaving, provide all of the Big 12 South, except Baylor, leaves. That leaves four, and thinking about the options facing Mizzu and Baylor, I'm guessing staying with the Big 12 is a much better financial and prestige move than going to Conference USA or the Mountain West. Now that becomes a real bargaining point for the schools leaving. A vote for allowing teams to join (remember the six remaining will need at least three more votes to agree to add member schools) a reasonable giveback of that revenue.
I also thought about Memphis. I wonder what the FedEx money Fred Smith has put on the table makes a difference when you go looking at possible teams the Big 12 might look for?
It is clear to me that I don't understand what is going on (and if you have read the blog, it is clear to you that I don't understand). It still looks like all of the Texas schools except Baylor will leave the Big 12, along with Oklahoma and Okie State. What scenario has Oklahoma in the SEC? What about Texas A&M to the SEC? Does Texas consider the SEC? Will Texas only leave for the Pac-10? Who does the SEC go after if any one team from the Big 12 joins?
As an aside, if the Big 12 does die, then the automatic bids to the NCAA basketball tourney are now 30. As a Georgia fan, this gives Georgia Tech more shots to get in the basketball tourney if there was that extra at large spot. I'm just saying.
Finally, I cannot understand why Dan Beebe is being so passive about this. Perhaps his other members have decided that they don't want the conference to continue. I can't imagine that scenario, but like I said, I just don't understand. Either he has something up his sleeve or he makes Dan Radakovich look proactive and forward thinking.