As The Realignment Turns

While we still wait for the official word to come on where Texas Tech will end up, it appears the Big 12 Conference has come to an end.

An old proverb states that, "Where ambition ends, happiness begins."

So if everyone is to follow in the rumors, stories and probabilities that have surrounded college football and the myth of the ultimate realignment, will there be satisfaction felt throughout the college sports land?

Of course not.

However, this likely appears to be the best solution to giving teams in Texas more money than they could have imagined 14 years ago when the Southwest Conference came to an end and the Big 12 Conference was created.

It may also be the best solution to not just aligning power conferences by region, but also creating a regular season that creates a playoff solution to those that seek a true Football Bowl Subdivision national champion each season.

This first move appears to be made by Nebraska and its board of regents as reported by on Wednesday. The website reported that a "source close to the situation" in Lincoln said the regents agreed to announce as soon as Thursday that Nebraska will leave the Big 12 and accept an invitation to join the Big Ten as the conference's 11th team.

This more than likely spells disaster for any teams hoping to keep the Big 12 Conference together. As for Missouri, who is still expecting to piggyback on the Cornhuskers move — pray the Big Ten doesn't decide to take Kansas, what I believe would be a much better market and competitive school. Can you imagine what that would do for Big Ten basketball?

While we wait for the decision by those with the power to create such a move for Texas Tech to stay within the heart of mainstream college sports and most importantly, within the heart of the college football landscape, I can't provide many answers, but have always been told that it is better to ask questions or give thoughts that help create discussion.

The latest came from ESPN on Wednesday night that Colorado may already have its invitation to join the Pac-10 with the five original schools identified by a week ago: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The latest demand with realignment came from ESPN, according to an anonymous coach in the Big 12 that would be a part of the realignment. That source stated that the new Pac-16 would like as many as two teams, one from each of the eight-team divisions, to receive an automatic BCS bid in the current bowl format. That could also mean the BCS would have to finally do away with the limit of only two teams from each conference being able to compete in the BCS — the rule which left 11-1 Texas Tech out of the BCS in 2008.

So after reading countless articles and columns over the last few days, here are a couple things for everyone to consider.


1. "Follow the money."

The main piece behind the realignment discussion has been brought on by the possibility of creating more television revenue for those teams who seek to copy the blueprint (or perhaps improve on it) created by the Big Ten Conference.

The Big Ten Network has become the most powerful cash cow for the conference, giving the teams an equal share of an estimated $220 million generated from the conference's network. Add that to anything brought on by bowl games and merchandise sales and it's enough to bring drool running down an athletic department's mouth when it considers what could happen next with its own network.'s original report last week was just the beginning of how many teams could be included in the six-team move away from the Big 12 and to the Pac-10 Conference. Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado would no doubt bring the necessary attention and top television markets needed (reportedly seven of the top 20 when added to the existing Pac-10 schools) to create the newest conference network.

After all, a similar network contract for a "Pac-16 Conference Network" would almost double the reported money Texas gained off of the Big 12 TV contract a year ago ($10.23 million, according to the report).

But again, it's just the beginning of deals that could be struck up.


2. The Bears or the Buffaloes?

Some in Waco argue that Baylor would be the better addition as opposed to Colorado, should the other before mentioned five Big 12 South schools bolt for the Pac-10.

There's no doubt, at least in my mind, that Baylor has had some greater success in sports over the last couple of years than when you look at Colorado. Art Briles has had more success in two seasons than what Dan Hawkins has done in Boulder and the recruiting by Briles is already beginning to show its worth. Baylor men's basketball was one step away from making the Final Four this season and its baseball team is consistently competing in the NCAA Tournament.

And I have not even touched women's basketball because I think everyone is aware of Kim Mulkey and her recruiting. She has the most recent national title between the two schools and arguably the most talented player.

But is this about athletic competition or gaining the better market?

Boulder is just a short 30 miles northwest of Denver — which happens to be the No. 16 TV market in the country. And CU is arguably the biggest university in the state, dealing only with Colorado State, college hockey powerhouse Denver University and local professional teams.

Baylor's rebuttal could be that Dallas/Fort Worth (the No. 5 TV market) is just a couple of hours away.

So here are the two x-factors: the money, fan base and following involved with Colorado against the politics of new Baylor president Kenneth Star and the Texas Legislature.

So which one do you take?


3. The Playoff Answer

Now before I break into this argument, it's obvious that there will not be more than 120 teams fighting for an FBS national title. Even I, who has stood by this need for a playoff in Division I college football can finally see that.

With that said, this may be the best bet.

Eventually, the realignment process will come down to at least four power conferences with an estimated 16 teams to each conference.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the closest thing we will ever see to a playoff. But there must be a twist added on to make it happen.

Each conference will be forced to create a conference championship with the four power conference champions playing each other to see who meets in a national title game. The two runners-up from the playoff will play in a BCS game along with the at-large bids while the rest continue to enjoy a bowl game and week as it has been for the longest time.

Schedules will be shifted around to accommodate the larger conference schedules, probably bringing an end to a four-game non-conference schedule. It may even mean playing only one or two non-conference games each season or perhaps none, unless the regular-season schedule expands to more than 12 games.

Again, it's not going to be the perfect answer and many will find holes to argue against it, but it might be the best option we get.


Travis Cram is the managing editor for Follow him on Twitter:

Raider Power Top Stories