K-State Slate: 12.2.10

 

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Not much going on out there right now.  The football team is in a holding pattern until a bowl bid is announced, and men's basketball doesn't play again until (late) Friday night.

Police are investigating the threats directed toward Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, which led to him not going to Lincoln to present Nebraska with its Big 12 North trophy, which in turn caused Nebraska fans to become apoplectic for about the 1,284,583rd time this year.

The NCAA has ruled Cam Newton eligible.  Basically, they ruled that no punishment will be handed out to players whose fathers or "friends" or "handlers" or "advisers" ask for money for their commitment.  I guess in one sense, that's fair enough, because it doesn't sound like Newton himself was involved in asking for money.  I'm guessing most players aren't involved.  But if this is going to be the NCAA's precedent going forward, we've entered a brave new world of college sports.

Donald Trump is lobbying the University of Miami to hire Mike Leach as its head coach.  It would be downright scary what his offense could do with the talent he could theoretically recruit at Miami.  But, c'mon Mike, I know you want to come to Manhattan instead and be our offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting instead?  Right?  RIGHT?

Don't miss this CBS piece about Chris Henry.  He died almost a year ago, and his mom decided to have his organs donated.  This Thanksgiving, she met with the people whose lives were changed by that decision.  I highly recommend you watch this somewhere where people won't be asking you why you have red, watery eyes.  (Thanks to The Beef at Rock M Nation).

And finally, I'm going to take a moment to address the continuing mindset that the Big 12 somehow missed out by not adding TCU, because my response yesterday left out a lot of the details.  In a vacuum, with no context, TCU seems like a good program to add to any conference.  It's located in a major metropolitan area, its football team has gone undefeated the last two regular seasons, and it's very well funded for a school outside a major conference.  However, when you look at the characteristics of the Big 12, you see quickly why adding TCU does the conference no good.  

I have yet to hear a convincing argument that the Big 12 needs to add teams just for the sake of adding teams.  Twelve isn't a magic number.  There's nothing that says you can't survive as a BCS league with 10 schools.  The Big East and Pac-10 have been at or below 10 schools for years.  Now granted, the Big East is sliding quickly into relative irrelevance nationally, but do you expect that to happen to the Big 12 with established programs like Texas and Oklahoma?  Or emerging programs like Missouri and Oklahoma State?  Look at the Big East and find me even one program that is anywhere near as established as UT and OU.  I guess Pitt would be the closest, but they're on a decades-long slide.

So if we don't need to add teams just because 12 is a magic number, then why add teams at all?  The answer is that you add teams if they bring value to the conference (read: TV sets, translation: money) that is greater than the dilution of the existing money pool that occurs because they are added.  If someone can put convincing data in front of me that shows TCU will do that for the Big 12, then I'll change my stance.  But I don't believe such data exists.  TCU is a small, private school in Forth Worth that can barely fill its already-small stadium in years when it has gone undefeated in the regular season.  They aren't going to do anything for the Big 12 as far as TV ratings in DFW that UT, OU, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech don't already do.  The bottom line on this point is that the only school that I believe brings in so much TV value that it would be worthwhile to add is Notre Dame.  BYU may be close, but that's still only a maybe.  Other schools, such as Memphis, New Mexico, Louisville, Colorado State, and others would at least bring in new TV markets, although with them it's doubtful they move the needle enough in those markets that they would be good additions.

Obviously, there aren't a lot of good expansion candidates if the Big 12, for whatever reason, needs to add programs.  At this point, I think the conference should be perfectly happy to stay at 10.  And if full-blown realignment comes around again this next offseason, then I wouldn't sweat it too much, because if that happens we may be headed for true superconferences and the landscape is going to be so radically altered that we won't recognize it.

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