Wednesday, October 19, 2016
BIG 12 made a BIG mistake -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
TRAIN WRECK THAT WAS EXPANSION STAYS IN THE STATION.
So you've got this conference named the BIG 12. At one time, it had 12 members. It seemed logical. Then, due to raiding from other conferences and such...they ended up with ten schools. Someone comes up with the grand idea..."Hey, let's expand back to 12!" The idea gets out. Over two dozen school express an interest to be a part of the expansion. That list is eventually paired down to a dozen or so.
Presentations are made. Money, lots of it...is spent. Schools are ready to give their notices to their current conferences that they don't need to leave the light on for them, to re-design the conference banners and take them off the mailing list. They are looking to leave.
Cincinnati, Memphis, Houston, Connecticut and several other viable athletic/academic institutions got the equivalent of a punch to the belly Monday when the Big 12 decided to stay at ten. Big 12 expansion would no longer be an active agenda item. All ten schools were unanimous in this thought process. At least, that's what they said...
It is equal to being invited to a party, going shopping for clothes to the party, clearing your schedule for the party and then being told you didn't make the guest list, after all.
Hey Bearcats...keep your chili at home. Memphis? Sorry, we got ribs already. BYU? Uh...not sure how the whole two or three wives thing might go down in Norman...Houston? Oklahoma might still be smarting over the football loss...no need to shine your shoes. Find something on Hulu...you're aren't going anywhere, boys and girls.
Let's call this what it is. A money decision. And who are the two money schools in the Big 12? Texas and Oklahoma. So, guys...do we want to take this financial pie and split it 12 ways now instead of 10? Yeah, didn't think so.
No chairs will be added to the musical chairs we currently have in the room. Take your whoopie cushions and disperse in an orderly fashion.
I'm pretty sure that WVU would have liked to maybe had a few conference games to go to that were within 500 miles or so. Doesn't matter...they're part of the "bobblehead eight" that make up the Big 12...a conference where 2>8 in power.
Texas A&M got it a few years ago. Up and jumped ship when the SEC pulled up aside and threw out a rope ladder. You don't hear much complaining down in AggieLand these days...Missouri saw the SEC advantage and climbed the wall. Nebraska and Colorado, too.
Maybe the Big 12 waited too long...one thing is certain...they will still be the weakest of the "Power Five" conferences and they get ready to go into their sixth season without a divisional conference championship in football.
This is about football...oh, yeah...you betcha. Sure...Mick Cronin, Tubby Smith, Geno Auriemma and Jeff Judkins probably would have loved to have had their squads participating in the conference. They were never a part of the bargaining table though. Would UConn WBB have rolled through the Big 12 as easily as they do the AAC? Maybe not as easily...but they still would have rolled. Now, it's returning-time to the dysfunctional AAC and irrelevant West Coast Conferences. Walking back through the door and saying..."Well, that was interesting. Games on!". Head bowed to no one. Spurned at the alter and back in the dating scene.
What, prey tell Paulie...does all this have to do with Louisville Athletics?
To start with, the Cards got what now appears to be a great call when the Big 12 decided against them several years back. Away games to Duke and Miami are a haul, for sure....but would you rather have been going to Stillwater or Ames? Next, we're getting a great level of respect from the "old guard" of the ACC. We brought talented teams and travelling fan base. Consequently, the BIG 12 booted ex-Cardinal coaches Howard Schnellenberger and is probably ready to can Charlie Strong. They may not have been that eager to have Louisville in their midst. There is no, or very little...field hockey or lacrosse in the BIG 12. Was Louisville supposed to just throw those two exciting women's sports under the bus? Or ship them out to the MAC or Big East?
A boorish move that wasn't a move at all, in reality, by the BIG 12. Nothing happened here and no change in the running order. Maybe the ACC could offer to trade Notre Dame for West Virginia to the BIG 12. Now that football is nose-diving in South Bend and the Irish obviously have well-stocked coffers...plus Ames, IA is closer than Miami is from South Bend (and we could get Muffett McGraw off the WBB schedule)...it makes sense.
Forget this independence stuff, Irish. Head to a conference where your football team can make stops in Stillwater, Lubbock and Norman. Cowboys vs. Catholics. Take a chance and land in the "fly-over" states? Nah, never happen.
Those BIG 12 folks sure love that money. Yes, sir. And, they're gonna keep it.
WBB MEDIA DAY TODAY
Jeff Walz is having all the boys and girls over to his place today at noon to discuss UofL WBB. Following that, the media will get a chance to descend upon the squad to ask questions. This could be a pretty fun hour...
We'll have the recap, a few pictures and maybe some great audio for you in the Thursday Cardinal Couple. I gotta see if I can get Arica Carter to serve as my interview intern again this year...