The effect no expansion could have on the Big 12
Monday, October 17, 2016. Normally, that'd be just another day - except for this year. This year, it's the day the Big 12 Conference could have, for all intents and purposes, signed its own death certificate.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, along with University of Oklahoma President David Boren, emerged from a meeting of member institution's presidents and athletic directors to announce the Big 12 was not going to expand to 12 or 14 teams.
I understand the thinking that adding teams that don't bring anything substantial to the table isn't bettering the conference - and, in fact, I agree with it. The Big 12's lapse in judgement didn't start today - it began when they had the opportunity to add Louisville to the conference. Had they jumped on that opportunity, they could now have the seventh ranked team in the country (the Cardinals) along with the 11th ranked team (Houston). Can you argue those two institutions don't bring something substantial to the Big 12?
Instead, the Big 12 did what it always seems to do - make a decision that leaves the majority of people around the country scratching their respective heads. The difference is this time, it could ultimately signal the end of the conference as we know it.
President Boren was quick to say that what he "heard over the last 24 hours as our colleagues spoke very candidly among ourselves was the strongest expression of unity and cohesion and commitment to the conference that I've ever heard. In my opinion, there's not a single school in this conference that is looking to go elsewhere."
If you rewind just a few months ago, though, it was Boren himself who said the Big 12 Conference was "psychologically disadvantaged." Does that sound like someone who is 100% committed to the Big 12?
Granted, opinions can change - I understand that. But when you think about how many other Power 5 Conferences would jump at the chance to add OU (and OSU) to their portfolio of teams... what will have to happen for Boren to reverse course again, and leave this "kumbaya" stage he's in for more of a incredulous view of the Big 12? In my opinion, not much - it's only a matter of time.
Wherever OU ultimately ends up, the Cowboys will be there, too - the state of Oklahoma will make sure of that. Whether it's the Pac 12, the Big 10, or the SEC... I expect it to be somewhere other than the Big 12.