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League Wide: Big 12 Coaches in Favor of Changing to Divisions



Let’s take a look at some news from around the league over the last week or two.

Title Game Conundrum

College football fans (generally) win with the current setup of the Big 12 title game: the top two teams will play each other. But coaches feel differently for good reason.

ESPN reported on Friday that the league’s coaches voted 7-3 in favor of divisions.

Adding divisions would have been an easy fix to avoid situations like 2015. Cross-division games could come first on the schedule and be played by the end of October. A round-robin schedule guarantees a rematch, but divisions assured that the games would take place at least a month apart, most likely more.

The No. 1 vs. No. 2 plans could have offered the game much of college football wanted to see in 2014, a rematch between Baylor and TCU with a possible College Football Playoff berth on the line. However, a win wouldn’t have guaranteed either a spot, and in the event of chaos, it also would have eliminated any chance the Big 12 has of putting two teams in the playoff as long as these rules are in place. [Sports On Earth]

For the sake of the league putting a team in the playoff, the lack of divisions is a killer by adding potentially unnecessarily difficult obstacles.

The Fifth Power

A power ranking of the five top conferences is fluid—but the Big 12 is on alert.

The Big 12 has slipped to fifth-wheel status in a sport that rewards the top four conferences. It may be cyclical, it may be reversible – or it may be the beginning of the end as we creep toward new media-rights contracts and the possibility of another realignment spasm sometime next decade. [Yahoo Sports]

The general feel of a league doesn’t really depend on how beefy its middle is (see: Big Ten and ACC) but rather the highs the top tier can aspire to.

Lone Rangers

West Virginia’s awkward (geographic) fit in the Big 12 is even worse when you consider the alternatives.

West Virginians must feel a little discouraged when checking out United States maps. It’s 871 miles from Morgantown to Ames, Iowa, WVU’s closest Big 12 neighbor. Of the 43 schools in the Big Ten, SEC and ACC, 37 of them are closer to Morgantown than is Ames. Twenty of those 43 are less than 450 miles.

West Virginia is in the heart of the expanded Big Ten and ACC, and is on the SEC fringe. Yet the Mountaineers are in the Big 12. [NewsOK]

The article dives into potential new rivals but points to the Mountaineers contentedness as what makes them the best fit.

Scholarship Solutions

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby proposed a solution to the funky scholarship situation at hand: real and conditional scholarships to recruits.

“If you wanna get the recruiting process over, the institution can issue a letter of intent. You’ve got 14 days to sign it. And maybe the window runs from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15, or maybe it runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1, and you get it over before the postseason. I don’t know why there can’t be a window where you offer the scholarship. If the student-athlete wants to conclude the recruitment process and the institution knows they’d like to make a decision, they go ahead and do it.”

Bowlsby said he’s heard a statistic that the average FBS team issues 233 verbal scholarship offers in a given year. I can’t say if that’s correct, but it definitely sounds correct. Signing class sizes max out around 25, and there’s no question that teams offer scholarships to many times more players than they have slots. That leads to a culture where there are “real” scholarship offers and others that aren’t “committable.” [SB Nation]

It’s interesting to hear the head of a league taking a stance like this – in that some would benefit (early offer schools) and others wouldn’t (brand names holding out for big dogs).

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