College Football Expansion: Does the Big 12 Need FSU and Clemson?


Our Big 12 football Conference Conversations continue today with a Q & A session on Big 12 expansion.

Our Big 12 football panel of experts includes Jay Beck of Turfburner, Amanda Staver of Ride Schooner, Ride, Allen Kenney of Blatant Homerism, Flint Harris of Holy Turf, and the guys from EER Insider. Here is what they had to say about possible Big 12 expansion.

Question # 5: Do you want to see the BIG 12 expand by adding FSU and perhaps Clemson?

Jay Beck – Yes.

The Big 12 is actually in decent shape with their current ten-team model, but you simply can’t pass up teams such as Florida State and Clemson if they’re willing to make the move.

After Nebraska left (okay, and maybe A&M) the Big 12 was really left with two longstanding football power houses, Texas and Oklahoma.  Add Florida State and Clemson to go along with TCU and West Virginia and football wise at least, the conference may be in even better shape than it was before.

The Big 12 was decimated in part because they took a reactive stance in the conference expansion circus rather than being proactive.  While they may be in decent shape with ten teams, they’re still not at the same level as the SEC and Big Ten.  Adding Florida State and Clemson gets them back to that point and hopefully allows them to take a breather before having to make any more drastic moves.

Amanda Staver – Ride Schooner, Ride: I most definitely think the Big XII should expand. Some of the names getting thrown out there are a pipedream I think (Notre Dame), but in order to stay competitive they need to bring back a conference championship game. The new “Champions Bowl” between the SEC and the Big XII is a step in the right direction towards longevity, but adding a school like FSU would add to that. After the 2011 Orange Bowl, I think WVU would be ok with adding Clemson.

Allen Kenney – Blatant Homerism: This is a complicated question.

In the context of the new business of college football, I absolutely want to see the Big 12 expand and add marquee brands. FSU and Clemson definitely qualify. Those additions would help cement the Big 12 as a challenger to the SEC’s supremacy. Plus, getting the Seminoles and Tigers in the league means more good games on the schedule every year, which is never a bad thing.

On the other hand, I definitely have qualms about the direction of the college football. We’re talking about a sport that is regional at its core. Now, we’re getting odd marriages of convenience like San Diego St. in the Big East and Clemson joining the Big 12. Rivalries like Missouri-Kansas are dying as a result of realignment, along with the quirks, familiarity and traditions that have served the game so well. I’m all for that if it makes the sport better, but in the long run, I fear the NFL-ization of the game will make it less compelling.

Flint Harris – Holy Turf: I am for anything that makes a more level playing field for Texas, and to some extent, Oklahoma. The biggest fallacy of the Big 12 is catering to Texas. The lack of depth in the last decade has been detrimental to the Big 12.

EER Insider: I think if the Big 12 expands, which I do believe wil happen, it’ll mean nothing but great things for the conference. It wasn’t long ago that many considered the Big 12 on life support. But with the new addition for 2012, and potentially addition Florida State and others, a strong case could be made they’d be the best conference in America for college football.

The Saturday Edge: I believe it is imperative that the Big 12 expands to at least 12 teams. In today’s game, college football is like a business, and if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards. After losing Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A & M over the last few years, the Big 12 has moved backwards.

We’re talking about a couple schools walking out of this conference that had 80,000+ seat stadiums and tradition. Those are HUGE losses! The only thing that can make up for losing that kind of tradition is to bring in schools that have a little college football tradition of their own. FSU and Clemson are just about the only schools left out there that fit that bill. Anyone else other than Notre Dame (and I just don’t see that happening) would be a step down.

Yesterday, in their annual meeting, the Big 12 said that they aren’t interested in expansion for now. But I believe they are posturing until the NCAA makes up its mind on the format of the 4 team playoff. Once that happens I believe new conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby will be aggressive in pursuing at least two more teams for expansion. The Big 12 needs that 11th and 12th team in order to bring back a title game, which will increase revenue and allow the conference to keep up with the big boys.

Join us tomorrow for our final installment of Big 12 football. We’ll be looking at the West Virginia v Marshall game in more detail.

What are your thoughts on the Big 12 expanding? Please feel free to leave us your thoughts and opinions down below in the comments section. Thanks – GS.

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