Around The "Big" "12": Thoughts From The Fan Perspective

[Note:  At several points in this post, fans reference (and I base my comments upon that reference) the thought that the CU and NU buyout money to be paid to the Forgotten Five would be given to A+M, UT, and Oklahoma.  The BigXII is now claiming that that is not the case, even though they had mentioned otherwise previously.  Several comments in this post  might now be irrelevant, it is unclear.]

Well, then!  Wasn't that an exciting whole lot of nothing.  Unending rumors led to a fewer changes that anticipated.  Nonetheless, the "Big" "12" did just have a massive reorientation in mutual understanding.  For example, where before some teams might have felt they were even with Texas, now all teams know they are nothing nothings that are worth nothing compared to the all-mighty ones that is Texas. 

We thought it might be interesting to go around the "Big" "12" and see how the fans are doing.  What do they think of the changes to their conference?  Are they excited?  Frustrated?  Indifferent?  Each fanbase is going to approach the events of the last week from a really different angle and none are going to be the same.  Let's start with the most well-known fanbase here:  Texas.

Of all the fanbases, the Texas fans are most likely to be happy with this.  Their power increases exponentially and they get their channel.  They have a Roundtable up right now at BurntOrangeNation that is very nuanced.

However, they are aware of some of the problems still facing their conference:

Things are unstable now, despite the bandages.  If the numbers being tossed around are right, the gap between the "haves and the haves nots" in the conference is enormous.  Texas could make over 100% more than the poorest teams (I've seen 30+ million total, compared to 14-17 for the lower earning schools), and we saw how much angst 30% caused.  For a time, there will be peace, because so much of the conference didn't have a plan A or plan B, and they feel like UT saved them.  I'm setting the over-under at 18 months before KU and Mizzou start to quietly explore their options.

So, that is Texas.  They are generally positive, but still aware of some of the problems.  I have a lot of respect for the contributors to BON and think that they are not very extreme in any which way.  The general consensus in reading over there is that this new "Big" "12" will make it easy for them to make the NCG and that would be great, but man the regular season could be really boring along the way.

Oklahoma

Now, let's take a look at how Oklahoma fans are feeling.  Oklahoma was in a weird position here.  They were the 2nd most powerful team in this.  They had some weight to throw around.  However, it appears that their fans feel like Oklahoma did not use that weight.  The post here is concerning whether Oklahoma should "blindly" follow Texas in all this:

It sounds like Texas is going to act in their own self interest, and take the deal Beebe is offering. And does this really work out poorly for OU? Well in the financial sense, concerning only television deals, it actually works out quite well because we're in the chosen three (Texas, A&M, OU) who will be earning anywhere from $3-9 MIL more than the rest of the schools in the conference. But, in a competitive sense, we become what the Big Ten used to be. The rest of the country will be making jokes about an easy run through conference play, being able to skip the conference championship game, etc. In a time where the rest of the country seems to be pushing for large conferences with a conference championship game, we have to ask ourselves if that's what we really want?

I actually went there and asked the fans about this.  The response I received was indicative of what I am seeing generally from the readers:

Most fans realize we’re not going to get as much money as Texas and accept that. It’s been that way for a little over a decade in the Big 12. People are upset about the way the athletic department pretty much submitted to Austin.

 

It seems a little odd to me.  Oklahoma is basically in the exact same boat as Texas, minus the TV network.  They have a weak conference and an easier road to the NCG.  They just beat up on Texas in the Red River Shootout and there is a good chance they are in!  They make a LOT of money and are attractive to potential suitors should the "Big" "12" fall apart.  However, the fact that they followed Texas makes them upset.  Texas could carry them to water in the middle of a desert and they'd just spit in Texas' face.  They are rivals, it makes sense.  Honestly, though they are luckier than most in the "Big" "12" so I am not going to cry for them.

 

Texas A+M

Let's look at A+M.  The approach this from a VERY interesting angle.  They were flirting with the SEC throughout all this.  But not with sexy results.  They are very upset, because they were excited to go to the SEC.  New teams, new experiences, new opportunities.  And now back into the "Big" "12" where they get to hear about HOW AWESOME TEXAS IS FOR SAVING EVERYBODY FROM HAVING TO PLAY AT STANFRAUD STADIUM AT 4 AM EST!

 

 

By not joining the SEC, A&M has basically said they do not want to be part of the big time. The BOR has shown that they are not forward thinkers. A tv contract with such unequal revenue sharing will cause the same hard feelings that have plagued the conference to continue to fester in our 'new' 10 team league. Given a chance to join the best league in the country while in the process creating a new athletic identity for the school, the BOR chose the easy way out. The Board of Regents has delayed the inevitable for a couple more years, at the most. This conference is doomed to fail because tu's boorish behavior will eventually drive someone else away, and the resulting instability will cause the whole process to repeat itself again. The SEC is the greatest league in the land not because of their superior athletics, but because of their superior leadership. The SEC understands that by sharing revenue equally, it benefits every program in the league and therefore the league as a whole. It is the rising tide theory in real life. It is too bad that we do not have leadership like that at A&M.

They also note something interesting in a recent post:

The "Forgotten Five" (Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State) are going to take their portion of the penalty payouts from Nebraska and Colorado and give them to Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and texas. Yes, you read that right, those five schools are so happy to be able to remain in a BCS conference, they are bribing A&M, OU, and texas to stay here with them.

 

So, A+M, like Texas, and Oklahoma get a bigger piece of the pie from the TV revenue AND they get the to share 1/2 of the $10 mil a pop that Nebraska and Colorado have to pony up for leaving the conference.  Even though A+M gets the money, this seems to disgust A+Mers, because they feel like Texas was just bullying everybody.  A+M, similar to Oklahoma, gets a pretty good deal out of this.  They are one of the luckier teams in this new conference.  But they are upset because:

a)They are just following Texas

and

b)on top of that, they feel as if they turned down the SEC for this.  For this?!?!?!  I am not sure how realistic the A+M to the SEC rumors were, but the fans certainly seemed to think they were 100% legit.  And isn't that all that matters?

 

Texas Tech

Red_20raider_medium

via www.orgs.ttu.edu


 

Well, ladies and gents, now it gets interesting.  Before we get in to their views, I want to note something from that A+M post above:

 

  • According to some reports I've read after the teleconference was over, media from Lubbock and West Texas was blocked from calling in; they didn't want to deal with the angry Tech partisans, I guess.

Yup, Techs are a-n-g-r-y!  Why?  Let's take a look.  Seth C over at DoubleTNation first notes how hopeful he was to escape the crushing grasp of the BigXII inequity:

We All Knew This Was Going to Happen, Right?  I'll be honest, I had my hopes up about the prospect of moving to a league where the rich didn't get richer and life in a conference was a little more equitable, but that wasn't going to happen and shame on us (Texas Tech fans) for thinking that it could.  I'll ask you to do a little required reading before going much further.

 

 

The were excited to get out of the shadow of Texas.  But they are realistic about their role in this:

When I first heard that the Pac-16 was not going to happen I wanted to be angry at the Texas Tech administration, but after sleeping on it, what did they do?  I try to call it like I see it, but as I look at what apparently happened, Texas Tech didn't have an offer to the Pac-10 without Texas.  Texas Tech always had one option . . . follow Texas.  That's it.  Hopes were dashed when Texas decided it was best for them to receive a majority of the money from their conference and their own network.

 

Unlike A+M fans, who think their administration balked at a chance for a better opportunity, Tech fans realize that they had little control.  The fans are frustrated that they do not get a larger part of the pie.  They don't have to give up their share of the $20 mil from NU and CU, but they also don't get the larger sums of money like A+M or Oklahoma.  So, they are in sort of a middle ground here.  Angry, but understanding.  Frustrated with the state of affairs, but realizing that there isn't much that can be done.

Hance, Bailey and Myers have their faults, but I firmly believe that they love Texas Tech as much as any passionate fan.  I would almost guarantee that they absolutely feel betrayed.  Betrayed by the fact that they might have received a fairer share of the television revenue pie or betrayed by the fact that Texas came in at the 11th hour to make the decision for the rest of the conference or betrayed by the fact that three teams, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, will receive a bigger share of the revenue pie than the remaining seven.

 


Oklahoma State

There is no SBN Oklahoma State blog.  I guess each conference has to have its Stanford!  I do not know any other Oklahoma State sites.  I would venture a guess that Pokes fans are similar to the Red Raider fans.  They known that their fate is intertwined with Oklahoma's (and, also, by extension Texas).  They are frustrated by this, but also aware of the reality.  They were looking forward to a more equal conference and are frustrated that that will not happen.  They are unhappy about not getting as much money as Oklahoma, Texas, and A+M.  But what can be done? 

They are Oklahoma State.

 

Missouri

Chase-daniel_medium

via 2.bp.blogspot.com

Mizzou is in an interesting place here.  They are on the defensive.  People blame them for starting this whole mess by flirting with the Big10.  But Mizzou fans think this is unfair!

I thought about directly challenging somebody, anybody, to find a quote from an actual Mizzou decision maker in which they did anything other than say "We're proud members of the Big 12," not from the last week, but from the last six months.  Did they complain about conference inequality?  Sure.  Did they complain about the Big 12's horrendous TV contract?  Absolutely.  But guess what: the Big 12 has terrible inequality and had a horrendous TV contract.  If you're stating a fact with which nobody disagrees, while still claiming total allegiance to the Big 12, then I'm not sure how that's batting your eyes at the Big Ten.

 

If you don't attack them as BigX opportunists, they will tell you how happy they are.  Denial?  Who knows?

But guess what: Mizzou has been treated unfairly for years.  And they're still succeeding at a higher level than they ever have.  And now they have a lot more money with which to work.

If that's losing, I can't wait to see what winning's like.

 

Since Mizzou was one of the Forgotten Five (the 5 teams that were going to be conference-less if the Pac16 happened), they are, of course happy about that.  To them, little changes, except they get a lot more money.  Bill C over at RockMNation notes how the fans are not so happy, though, with the way Texas is looking with this:

Yesterday, 60% of Rock M readers responded to a poll by saying that they were in favor of keeping the band Big 12 together, because the fear of the alternative was pretty jarring.  Now that it appears to have happened, the reaction from Mizzou fans is ... less than enthusiastic.  Why is that?  Pretty easy, really.

 

 

 

So, basically, they wanted the BigXII to stay together and then when it happened, they realized that life wasn't so fun when Texas fans continued to condescend to them.  They will have to put up with that, though, for the foreseeable future.  It is what it is, being one of the Forgotten Five.

 

Kansas

 

Kansas fans look at this from more than just football.  Basketball is life over there, so they have a few factors to consider.  Firstly, football.  It appears that they feel like life just got harder for them:

The bad news is Kansas now has to play Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech every year.  The old two on, two off system gave Kansas a small reprieve from the gauntlet in the south by switching it up every other year, but that will no longer be the case.

This means three non-conference games to pad the numbers and then Kansas will need to find three to four wins a year to make a bowl game a reality.  Missouri, Iowa State and Kansas State will all face the same uphill climb and the North has it's work cut out for them. Missouri is undoubtedly the best positioned program to compete right away and it's up to Kansas to close that gap.  Games against these three opponents will go a long way toward determining which teams sink or swim in the newly aligned conference.

If a couple of these teams can begin to build some momentum, keeping ties to the Texas schools will continue to help the recruiting efforts in the Lonestar State and give them a chance to compete with the big boys down South.  In some respects this might sound like an inferiority complex, but the reality is that no Big 12 North team has consistently risen up to the level of play from the South at this point.

In the end the impact on Kansas football is fairly significant.  We just took the treadmill, turned it up by 5mph and increased to a 45 degree incline.  Time to pick up the pace and push hard to catch up.

 

They are not going to come out and say it, but they are damned lucky that the "Big" "12" still exists.  And they aren't going to come out and say it, but it had to be humiliating to know that their stories basketball history meant shit in all this.  Absolute shit.  The Pac16 was ready to cast them aside like nothing.  But they are optimistic about the new challenges that lie ahead.  Actually, cancel that, they will come out and say it:

Yes, Texas owns the conference, but they kind of saved our asses here. Could we have ended up in the Pac-10? Maybe, but was that anything more than a rumor and a series of optimistic "what-ifs?". We very well could have gone with KSU, ISU, and Mizzou to a lower-profile, less profitable MWC. Things could be a lot worse than bowing to Texas to keep our conference together.

 

Regarding basketball, they are happy to drop a few teams and have a balanced schedule:

 

Top to bottom this isn't the biggest league, but it might be the most competitive and it has the opportunity to be one of the best. 

In addition to the quality of the remaining programs, the teams have the opportunity to move to a full home and home series with every conference opponent.  No more unbalanced schedule.  Everyone has to come into Allen Fieldhouse and Kansas has to go to every opposing arena. The Texas vs. Kansas rivalry specifically has the opportunity to reach new heights.

Kansas remains well positioned to recruit at an elite level.  Bill Self has one of the most competitive leagues to sell and the Jayhawks should be battle tested and well prepared come March.  Winning the conference crown might prove more difficult, but don't you want to measure yourself against and compete with the best?

 

 

For Kansas, they, like Missouri, should be happy that the "Big" "12" exists.  They don't have to worry about pre-packaged storylines blaming their team.  However, they realize the challenge they now face.

 

Kansas State

LET'S TAKE OUT OUR POWER TOWEL AND SEE WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE LITTLE APPLE!


 

KState fans seem to be on drugs:

The Big 12 Lives; We Gettin' Paid

 

According to pretty much every news outlet that can report it, the Big 12 lives. Not only that, but we gettin' paid.

The Kansas City Star reported Sunday that a new television contract being touted by Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe could produce "significantly more" than $17 million for each of the 10 remaining Big 12 schools and possibly upwards of $20 million per school. The league would also divide departure penalties of around $20 million withheld from Colorado and Nebraska to the remaining Big 12 members.

As an added bonus, Kansas City gets to have the Big 12 Basketball Tournament until 2014. Hells yeah.

Forget everything I said about going to the Big East and getting away from Texas. Screw that. Give me Texas. I want that money.

Kick back, relax, and enjoy. The Big 12 lives, we're all getting rich, and Colorado and Nebraska, you can cut those buyout checks to "The Big 12 Conference". We have a practice facility to build for Frank.

I want whatever they are on.  I say this not as a negative.  They are on some sort of upper and are excited about not being sent to the Beijing12 or whatever they were facing.  They have no shame and will follow Texas wherever.  And they are getting tons of money!  It is unclear if they know that they have to give up their share of the $20 mil from CU and NU. 

Their fans are HAPPY:

For $17 million a year, I'll wear burnt orange to the games...

 

I think most if not all of ‘us’ would prefer a Longhorn Overlord that by protecting their own interests and striving to improve their own money situation pulled us along for the ride than be remembered as a traitor amongst a group with a history together. Count me in the camp preferring this new lucrative (gotta compare it to what we had before) TV deal and splitting that pie with fewer hungry mouths to joining another conference and forging down a road with possibly greater reward but certainly greater risk.

 

 

3 days ago it looked bleak. But it’s great to know that we have a conference home, extra cash, and a TV deal.

And while yeah, we have a boss in Austin. At least we know who that boss is. Our friends in Nebraska are kidding themselves if they think they’ll be able to get their way in a conference with Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State…

 

I like them the most, because they are very forthright about this.  First, Texas gives us money. Then, Texas gives us power.  Then, Texas gives us women.  They don't care that they have to basically ride Texas' coat-tails.  They get money and don't have to play in ConferenceDRNK!!

 

Iowa State

Image001_medium

via www.public.iastate.edu

Iowa State fans appear to be the sober version of KState fans.  They knew what purgatory they faced.  It was very extreme for them.  Notice the title of their most recent post:

To the Brink and Back

 

And the caption for their photo in that post:

Iowa State has to re-assess its commitment to Division I athletics, and must be prepared to take the steps necessary to ensure a more secure future.

 

Teams here were discussing generally which conference to stay with.  Iowa State was looking at which collegiate sport division to stay in.  This is the point where MissingBarry does a nWo-style run in to talk mad shit about how University Of Richmond should join the "Big" "12" over these Iowa State chumps!

CrossCyed takes a moment to clearly lay out the realities as (s)he (?) sees it:

WE'RE BENDING OVER FOR TEXAS, AREN'T WE? No away around it, Texas, and to a lesser extent, Oklahoma and Texas A&M stand to make out quite well.  The conference has always revolved around Texas, and that's why this morning's news held so much importance. But any pride that schools like Iowa State and Kansas State had needed to be swallowed to avoid the unknown. The situation moving to the Big East may have been better initially, but that situation was in NO way more solid than what the Big 12 has become. The Big 12 is under Texas' thumb. Probably always will be. But Iowa State doesn't have the sort of financial resources or athletics history to make it on its own.

 

SO WHAT'S GOOD IN ALL OF THIS? Well, obviously avoiding the overall destruction of the Iowa State Athletics Department is a good start. But Iowa State could actually come out stronger. It's long been known that the State of Iowa wants to cut off all Regents schools from state funding for athletics. While Jamie Pollard has done a good job in terms of making progress, we're not there yet. Roughly doubling conference revenues would sure as heck help. It's also a lot easier securing donations and ticket sales when you can advertise home dates against Texas and Oklahoma every other year

 

They are very, very, very relieved.  I feel for them, because their situation was truly dire.  They openly admit that they are under Texas' thumb and unlike Oklahoma and others, are happy about it.  They will go as far as Texas will take them.  Plus, they get a home date with either Texas or Oklahoma each year.  Exciting! 


Baylor

As Oklahoma State was probably akin to Texas Tech, Baylor is probably akin to Iowa State and Kansas State.  They faced a bleak future.  Now, they have HELLA dough and home dates each year with other Texas teams and/or Oklahoma.  They might be delusional, but if they are being honest with themselves, they know they will go as long as Texas will drag them.

Final Thoughts

There are still a lot of blanks out there.  The numbers are very vague.  Negotiations are ongoing.  Anything could happen, I guess.  But if things go forward as we see them, then we see essentially 3 tiers here.

Texas, Texas A+M, Oklahoma - The are on top.  Texas is REALLY on top.  A+M and Oklahoma make out like bandits, but are upset they have to give any credit to Texas.

Oklahoma State, Texas Tech - They don't make out as well as the big 3, but don't get punished as badly as the Forgotten Five.  They are aware of their situations regarding minimal power.

Baylor, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State, Missouri - They have nothing and nobody.  Now, they have a lot and tons of great games on their home schedules.  This was great for them, even if it reflected how weak they are overall. 

 

There you go.  That are the thoughts of various fanbases.  What are your thoughts on all this?  Are A+Mers delusional?  Should Texas Tech be happier?  Does Missouri deserve all the blame?  Tell us in the comments!

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