As you probably read in my previous post (at least I hope you did), I am scaling back on my NFL recaps a bit. Case in point: last night the Cards destroyed the Jets 28-3. I did not watch a single minute of the game. I was watching the Blue Jays offense sputter yet again against a dominant Cleveland Indians pitching staff. I also know what most of the primetime games have been like this season (read: pathetic). So I felt I wasn’t missing much with not watching it.
I guess I kind of feel that way about the NFL as a whole. Here starts my NFL rant o’ the day. Let’s be honest: this season how many elite teams would you say there are? Three? I would say the Patriots, Vikings, and Cowboys qualify but that’s it. Which is fine. Let’s go down to the amount of good teams this season. Let’s go down the list shall we?
That’s about it. Yes I know the Bills and Eagles and Falcons are doing better than expected but almost everyone seems to think that they will all falter, at least a bit. So other than a few teams we have hit maximum parity in the league. Well, except for the Browns. They’re horrible.
So every week there are very few good games to watch. This past weekend had Atlanta-Seattle and Dallas-Green Bay and nothing else (and they were on at the same time!). Not saying there wasn’t good action but unless you see a big game coming up, the lack of hype is deafening. Also, going back to the primetime schedule, has the NFL gone out of their way to take marquee games OFF the primetime schedule? It almost feels that way. There seem to be more good games on in the late afternoon timeslot than ever before. The early Sunday timeslot always has the most games but none that capture the eye of the casual or just-above-casual fan.
Maybe it’s just my age or the lack of time I have compared to when I was much younger but I feel like I don’t have the opportunity to invest in all the sports. I don’t watch much NBA at all. I don’t watch soccer, period. I watch less NHL and junior hockey than I ever have. I only get interested in college basketball around late February once conference tournaments commence. It is what it is I guess. There are other things to do with my time and there are other options even with TV and the internet. So I guess what I am saying is my NFL recaps may very well be the shittiest part of my blog so I am reducing the amount of content there but not eliminating them altogether.
Now on to the other hot topic of the day: Big XII Expansion! Wait, WAIT, don’t run away. Just hear me out with this. Look I have gone over what I would like to see happen or I think should happen with realignment. I may very well end up being close with at least one of my predictions but no one really knows what we will be looking at in, say, 2025. But we can speculate right? Isn’t that fun? OK fun is maybe too strong a word here. It can be interesting though. Don’t worry, I won’t put Idaho in the Pac-12 or anything like that.
To say the Big XII botched this whole expansion process is an understatement. As others have said, they made a mockery of expansion and realignment. That’s a tough thing to do since it is already ridiculous to begin with. So the Big XII is not expanding. And it’s not “they’re holding off until 2017 to make a decision.” This is “Welcome to the Big XII. Shitter’s full.”
What does this mean? I think it means the writing is on the wall for this conference. Oklahoma and Texas already have other options. That is guaranteed. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naïve. Kansas and West Virginia also probably have options but I am not as certain about that. So 40% of the conference could probably leave at the end of the Grant of Rights (2025). That’s not good. It basically states that the end is imminent. It’s just a matter of where the teams will go. So let’s do that shall we? We will do this by team because the combinations could run to at least 15 or more.
Oklahoma – Chances are they will end up in the SEC. That is my best guess. They wouldn’t really fit in in the Big Ten or the ACC. I believe the ACC may end up being the most aggressive with expanding if the dominoes begin to fall so they will definitely ask. Many believe the Pac would make a call but I think it might be too much. Plus, the Pac desperately would want into Texas to solidify almost half the U.S. as theirs.
Texas – I believe they will end up in the Pac because the Pac wants into Texas. This would allow the Pac-whatever to show games throughout the entire day, from Noon until 2 in the morning. They would be the only conference to be able to do this which would be huge. The Big Ten and ACC would definitely ask. The ACC I can’t see it working but the Big Ten is going to throw everything at the wall to get them. It would be a huge get and could allow them to bring in someone else for #16 that is also a huge program to bring in and would put the Big Ten probably on par with the SEC (Rutgers notwithstanding).
Kansas – Yes Kansas is the third most important program when it comes to realignment in the Big XII. Almost a guarantee they would go to the Big Ten. They may be a surprise addition along with Texas and two other schools if the Pac-12 wants to become the Pac-16.
West Virginia – We all know WVU probably should have gone to the ACC in the first place. Now is the ACC’s chance to rectify that problem. Perhaps they head to the SEC but I don’t think they fit as well as if they were in the ACC with a lot of the old Big East programs.
Oklahoma State – Now we are getting into the teams that are good programs but have to be considered tag-alongs. This OSU is a pretty good program for both football and basketball. Sorry for the other sports but when it comes to realignment and revenue, these are the only two sports that count. Oklahoma State will hope to hitch their wagon to Oklahoma and chances are that is what will happen unless the conference Oklahoma joins is adamant against having Oklahoma State but I don’t see that as a real issue.
Texas Tech – Not as good as OSU in either football or basketball. However, with Texas A&M firmly in the SEC, the Red Raiders become the second most important Texas team by default. A conference might have a bit more of an issue of bringing Texas Tech in along with Texas but if they want Texas, I have a feeling this is the deal.
Kansas State – Not as much of a rich history here in Manhattan but still a relatively good program. It would be good enough that if a conference really wanted Kansas for basketball (and so they can have another doormat to squash in football), that the Wildcats would be part of the tandem to do so.
Baylor – Up until a year ago, I would have put Baylor instead of Texas Tech as the Longhorns’ tag-along friend. Not so anymore. So unless the Pac-12 wants four teams in Texas or the ACC struggles to get the two teams they really want, Baylor will probably end up in either the American or Mountain West conference.
TCU – When this all came to fruition, everyone knew the Horned Frogs really didn’t have a chance to get into a Power Five conference. They will pair with Baylor (to an extent) and head to the AAC or MWC.
Iowa State – Here is the real loser in all this. Most of the time the second or third worst football team in the Big XII and one of the better basketball teams (now) in the conference, the Cyclones really have no place to go. No matter where they head they will be a bit of an outsider. The Big Ten won’t take them. Going to the American or Mountain West would put them as a bit of a travel outsider. They are in some trouble. They have to hope the Big XII’s slim hopes of staying together beyond the next nine years comes true.
Now remember, this is just based on these teams. There is a possibility that the FBS goes from a two-tier to a three-tier system depending on how this all shakes out. This is how it would look:
Tier I – SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC
Tier II – Big XII, American, Mountain West
Tier III – Conference USA, MAC, Sun Belt
Where the Independents fall who knows, but I assume Notre Dame would be Tier I, BYU Tier II, and Army and UMass (and eventually New Mexico State) Tier III. This is assuming none of these teams join conferences. I do think there will be a push to basically make Independent programs a thing of the past except for Notre Dame since they will join a conference when they want to join a conference (COUGH*ACC*COUGH).
All in all, a complete shitshow. Funny how ESPN and FOX basically dictated to the Big XII not to expand. ESPN will start up the ACC Network soon. Don’t be surprised if the Pac-12 Network looks to FOX for some assistance. That would leave the Big XII without a conference network option either. They should be looking at my blog for ideas DAMMIT! Oh well, at least now, for the rest of the season at least, we can move on from this tomfoolery.
Alright, the rants are done….for now. College football schedule to come Thursday and NFL schedule Friday as per usual.