Big XII athletic directors met in Las Vegas last month. The group, which included the four incoming schools, discussed a variety of topics. Among the discussion was how the league might look in 2023 if Texas and Oklahoma are still members and if UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU are in the conference.
CBS Sports Dennis Dodd reported the group talked about how divisions might look with 14 schools. Dodd wrote that a North/South setup would have UCF in the south with West Virginia and the five Texas schools(Texas, Houston, Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor). It's my understanding the group studies several plans and not just what has been reported. No final decision has been made, but athletic directors have an idea of how things might look.
Of course, the biggest question is who will be in the league and when over the next few years. UCF, Cincinnati and Houston have moved forward with plans while working on the financial details of exiting the AAC. The price is much larger for Texas and Oklahoma to leave before 2026. The current media deal has the Longhorns and Sooners in for four more seasons and any plans to exit before might cost each school upwards of $100M.
Most observers believe the incoming four schools are more likely to have a clearer path to join in time for the 2023 season versus Texas and Oklahoma making it to the SEC.
It benefits no one to drag this beyond next season. It's uncomfortable for all. The AAC started pulling conference championships from host cities at schools leaving. Conference meetings are awkward and fans want to move on.
The Big XII has no plans to allow Texas and Oklahoma out unless the full exit fees are paid. But that's what back rooms are for. To negotiate deals like this and allow both leagues to start focusing on their new media deals, something UCF would love to see to get an idea of what kind of money is on the horizon.
Timing is always important. With the plans of expanding the college football playoffs coming to a halt, resolving the issues of who is coming and going and when is in the best interest of all.
As for UCF, let's say 2023 is their first year in the Big XII and the Dennis Dodd report ends up being the division setup with Oklahoma and Texas still in the league. I believe the Big XII will play a nine game conference schedule. UCF has non-conference games in 2023 at Boise State and a home game against BYU. The BYU game likely becomes a conference game. If we assume teams play all six schools in your division and three in the other division then UCF might have a conference slate that features Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Houston and West Virginia and then BYU and two others from the other division. What if UCF draws Oklahoma and, let's add, Kansas State. How about a home schedule of Texas, Baylor, West Virginia, BYU and Kansas State? And a road conference slate featuring Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU and Houston? Add in the road game at Boise State and UCF still needs two more games. Would the Knights add another P5 opponent at home along with a G5 or FCS school to complete the slate? Talk about a challenging schedule.
UCF's 2024 schedule now includes a return game to BYU(which would become a conference game) and the road game at Florida and a home game with Liberty. One thing to watch is if Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big XII to the SEC for the 2024 season, does the SEC go to nine conference games? If they do, what does Florida do with its non-conference schedule? The Gators have scheduled games with Miami, Samford and UCF at home and their FSU game on the road. If Florida plays a ninth conference game, which non-conference game do they drop? Before you say Samford, would they really want three P5 non-conference games? Maybe they do, but I think that becomes a really interesting story if the SEC is playing nine conference games.
I will not be shocked if Texas and Oklahoma find a way, an expensive way, out of the Big XII sooner than later. But the Big XII has no reason to give up a dime to let them go earlier. Whether those two schools are ever in the league or not when UCF arrives, the schedule for the Knights is a challenging one and fan friendly whether it's a 12 or 14 team league with North/South or East/West alignments...
The NCAA Convention is taking place in Indianapolis. There are many things being discussed and voted on, including a new constitution. To make it simple, the rules are getting simplified and Division I, Division II and Division III are getting the ability to run their groups independent of one governing body. Oh, it's also about money, because it's always about money. But keep this in mind. There are 350 schools who play Division I basketball. That's ridiculous. The Maine Black Bears do not play the same game and business as Duke and Kansas. We love Cinderella for one weekend in March and pretend to know something about a 16th seed when they play a one seed. But don't be shocked if the NCAA Basketball Tournament changes in the years to come. Will small schools be bumped out? Maybe. But if the bottom 16 leagues had to then play 8 play-in games to make the field, would you stop watching? No. Don't be surprised if that happens...
Georgia Coach Kirby Smart flew into Orlando on a helicopter on a recruiting whirlwind tour of three area schools before then heading off to Tampa and Miami. Some are saying it was all a recruiting pitch for Smart since the media was notified in all three cities of his schedule and when he was arriving. NO KIDDING!!! Why would you not do that? It is ALWAYS about recruiting. Smart is one of the best recruiters in the country and who did he learn from? Nick Saban, who just took an 11-minute flight from one Florida city to another to see a recruit. Why did he take an 11-minute flight? Because he's Nick Saban and he can...
A picture featuring Kyle Shanahan, Matt LeFleur and Sean McVay on the Washington Football Team's staff years ago popped up on social media.The three current coaches were assistants on a staff for a team that hired Jay Gruden the following year and passed on those three. But did you know in 2009 the UFL's Florida Tuskers had former NFL coach Jim Haslett as the head coach with a staff that included Jay Gruden and special teams/tight end coach Sean McVay, who was 23 years old that season. The team played two of its three home games at the Citrus Bowl(now Camping World Stadium) and one game at Tropicana Field. They went undefeated(6-0) in the regular season but lost the title game to the Las Vegas Locomotives. The owner of the Tuskers in 2009? That would be current Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg.
Final thought: The Patriots have the most all-time postseason wins with 37.The Steelers have 36 and the Cowboys have 35.