Yesterday was ... an eventful day for the Big 12. Behold:
After meeting today, Big 12 presidents likely to announce tabling of expansion consideration, at least for the near-term (several years).— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) July 19, 2016
About an hour later:
This is a surprise. Big 12 board asked commissioner Bowlsby to survey interest from universities interested in joining the Big 12.— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) July 19, 2016
In other words: Big 12 presidents are saying expansion is NOT dead. It’s a change from the expectation going into the meeting.— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) July 19, 2016
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and our good friend David Boren, president of OU (known by most Missouri fans for stepping all over Brady Deaton's teleconference during Season 2 of everybody's favorite hit show, EXPANSIONAPALOOZA), spent the mid-afternoon telling us that, upon assessing certain financial possibilities, Big 12 presidents were unanimously agreeing to pursue expansion ... after about 108 instances of deciding not to (or at least not unanimously deciding in favor).
Bowlsby is going to query candidates' interest in joining up, the league's going to consider adding to its membership by two or four teams.
Look, the reasoning here isn’t 100 percent clear. We’ll probably get a better sense of it in the weeks to come. But what is clear is that the Big 12 saw a shiny object, and now it’s sprinting headlong after it, just as expansion was climbing onto its deathbed.
Okay, so maybe the Big 12 is indeed expanding. There are tons of decent expansion options and no slam dunks (and I have my own opinions regarding how the conference should expand), but the names really only matter to the schools involved.
Well ... sort of.
"I may be wrong and other people may see it differently, but I don’t think anyone could be in a better situation than the teams we have in our conference," [Kansas State head coach Bill] Snyder said. "I’ll tell you what. There are teams that left our conference right now that wish they could get back in our conference."
Snyder did not mention which schools want to rejoin, but he did respond to a follow-up question by saying "Two I know of".
This comes one year after Snyder publicly stated that there are some teams he think the Big 12 Conference should consider that no one is mentioning during the 2015 Big 12 Media Days press conference.
Two of four, huh? I'm assuming he's referring to Colorado and Nebraska -- Colorado because the Buffs haven't really found any sort of competitive or financial advantage to being in the Pac-12, Nebraska because I'm pretty sure Snyder has a lot of Lincoln-based friends. But Nebraska's not leaving Big Ten money/stability behind to join this ridiculous circus again, and Missouri and Texas A&M obviously aren't leaving SEC money/stability behind. And honestly, there's a case to make that CU wouldn't even be at the top of the Big 12 wish list.
(This could raise the question of where Colorado would rank among the non-powers currently being considered, but ... well, an effective counterargument would take an awkwardly long time. Minus conference money, Colorado and Houston brought in about the same revenue in 2015. The Buffs halved a national title 26 years ago and once knocked Texas out of a BCS Championship, though. And they have an ever-expanding, Power 5-sized football stadium and have made four of the last five NCAA Tournaments. Whatever, Boulder is nice.)
Boulder is nice!
This is only marginally Mizzou-specific since there's NO BLOODY WAY IN HELL THAT MISSOURI IS LEAVING THE SEC FOR THE BIG 12. but a) It's a reminder that these later seasons of EXPANSIONAPALOOZA just aren't nearly as riveting as the first couple, and b) It offers me a chance to set up a poll. A year into Missouri's SEC tenure, I polled readers to see how many were still preferring the SEC to the Big 12. Over 90% were still on board, and that was at the end of a pretty frustrating year. And Missouri fans don't agree on anything. Now that we're four years in, let's take Missouri fans' temperature once more. What say you? You still good with the SEC? Want to give the choppy waters of the Big 12 another go?