Big 12 meetings kicked off in Kansas City yesterday and all day the question on everyone's mind revolved around realignment. With both Clemson and Florida State rumored as potential expansion possibilities, the topic figured to be one of the major issues addressed. After a day behind closed doors, the Big 12 leaders have communicated that they are happy at 10 and expansion is not on the table.
"The future is very bright for the Big 12 Conference. There is no hurry to consider expansion. You have to remember where we were and where we are. We have to build family unity. We have the opportunity for two new members to come into the Conference. We have a very cooperative spirit and something to build on. When you build a house, you build the foundation first. Are we happy and satisfied at 10? Yes. We have not reached out to Florida State nor have we been contacted by Florida State."
- Acting Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neines
So for now it seems that all the talk of Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame and any other number of options is all for not. If you believe the statement. The SEC made similar statements a year ago and this really is par for the course when it comes to moves like this. The one differentiating factor here might be that the Big 12 didn't completely close the door to the idea, they just said that they'd like to wait to see how things play out in terms of the impending playoff format.
"We appreciate the position we're in by not having a championship game. Our champion can get there with one less game. It's a good position to be in. The first time somebody's best team gets knocked out of a four-team playoff because they lost their championship game to a 7-5 team or 8-4 team, we'll see how long they want to keep a championship game,"
- Chairman of the Big 12 athletic directors Jamie Pollard
Makes sense if the playoff format goes the way that the SEC expressed their support for yesterday, that being a traditional BCS formula determining the four participants. The SEC stands to gain here because they traditionally have two, maybe even three teams in the mix in this situation. The Big 12, with 10 members, benefits in the same way that the Big 10 did for all those years.
If the playoff format takes a different turn then the Big 12's position could change. If for instance we see a conference champion type format, the rush for 16 might be back on. If that's the case then the message out of the Big 12 meetings does seem to indicate that their is confidence in the positioning of the league going forward.
Hard to say if anything was truly resolved yesterday, but the statements from the league meetings were strong and seemingly unanimous regardless of what the reality might be.