You can't expect the Big 12 to look at last summer's defections of Colorado and Nebraska and say "Well, it was fun being a major conference while it lasted." There are, no doubt, some advantages to a 10-team league over 12. But the cheeriness at this year's Big 10, err, Big 12 spring meetings is very cheery indeed for a conference that waved good-bye to one of the sport's traditional powers and its lucrative conference championship game.
As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
"We didn't plan it, exactly, but what we've ended up with is probably better than we would have planned," Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds said Wednesday during the Big 12 meetings ...To which the former Pac-10 responds: O RLY? Because at the same time Beebe was supposedly jealous of those things, Larry Scott was willingly giving them up in order to steal Colorado, become the Pac-12, and eventually land the richest television contract in college athletics history. Somehow, we don't think it follows Scott is suddenly going to become the one jealous of Beebe.
"Now I can say this: I was always a little bit jealous of the Pac-10," said [commissioner Dan] Beebe, referring to its previous ability to schedule round robins in football and double round-robins in basketball.
A big factor in the Pac-12's new television windfall is, of course, its new conference championship game. But Dodds insists having to deal with all that money and attention was kind of a drag anyway:
Big 12 schools for the first time will ... drop the title game that three times cost its loser a chance to play for the national championship.Of course, it's awfully easy for Dodds to say; his Longhorn program is swimming in cash regardless of whether there's a Big 12 title game or not. We're forced to wonder whether his counterparts at Baylor or Iowa State would say the same, not only for the financial issues but because "we might lose our shot at a national title game" isn't exactly a major concern for them at the moment.
"I think it hurt more than it helped; I like where we are not having the game," Dodds said.
Then again: this would hardly be the first time Dodds and the Longhorns have taken it upon themselves to declare that's what best for Texas is what's best for the entire conference, would it?