Reflection on the Plains: The “Brain Dead” Big 12; Early Signing Period

Brain Dead Big 12. NewsOK’s Berry Tramel some out spitting some hot-fire as he writes that the Big 12’s decision-makers are generally terrible:

The 13th game isn’t going away. The SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC each have a title game that gives contenders not just a 13th game, but an extra game against a marquee opponent. And Bowlsby has been given the green light from the NCAA to seek a title game even without divisions. Almost as if the rest of college football was encouraging the Big 12 to join the club.

Maybe the Big 12 is paranoid. Maybe the decision-makers wonder why everyone is so agreeable to change the requirements.

Maybe the Big 12 doesn’t want to be seen as reactionary.

Let me promise you. That won’t happen. This is a league that sits on the porch and watches the world go by.

If the Big 12 doesn’t want to play a championship game, it has to upgrade its non-conference schedules. And that message isn’t getting across. The three conference favorites in 2015 — Baylor, TCU and OSU — combined will play just one fellow major-conference foe. TCU plays Minnesota. Minnesota won’t help get the Big 12 into the Football Four.

The Big 12 doesn’t have a football problem. It has an administration problem. It has a problem with decision-makers who for years have been failing the schools in Middle America.

/slow clap/

But Tramel isn’t done just yet. Tramel goes on a few weeks later:

We are past the point of debate. A solid non-conference schedule is mandatory. Check out the four teams selected for the playoff last season. Florida State played Oklahoma State (sic), Notre Dame and Florida in non-conference. Oregon played Michigan State. Ohio State played Virginia Tech, Navy and Cincinnati. Alabama at least played West Virginia.

Baylor played SMU, Buffalo and I-AA school.

The sport has spoken. For playoff inclusion and for conference status, the Big 12 has got to schedule better.

I linked to this earlier this morning, as FOX Sports’ David Ubben reported that there is not a mandate that the Big 12 teams not schedule FCS opponents, but it’s encouraged:

Administrators also discussed scheduling as it relates to television contracts. There has been no movement toward requiring programs to play a Power 5 opponent or eliminating FCS games, but both could be a possibility in the future. Bowlsby also said a mandated Power 5 game is talked about “all the time” within the league.

“We certainly have encouraged our coaches and ADs to play FBS opponents,” he said.

On one hand, I like the idea of Texas Tech’s schedule, playing an FCS team, a mid-major FBS team, and then a Power 5 team. I think we sorta need to keep in mind that although most of the time the FCS teams that travel to play a big game against a Power 5 team end up making a chunk of change and that money helps fund these FCS programs. I know that Power 5 football is not in the business of being charitable, but taking that away would, I think, create some budget issues for these FCS teams.

One other item, obviously, has been a huge issue with Baylor as their current non-conference schedule includes SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo, while Incarnate Word is also on the schedule and has been a punchline over the past few months. Not only that, you’ve had head coach Art Briles be pretty defiant, stating that the schedule was not the issue as Baylor did not make it into the college football final four. Now, Baylor’s athletic director is saying that they are having conversations with some Power Five teams for a non-conference game.  It was only a matter of time and despite Briles contention that their schedule didn’t matter, it did.

But to Tramel’s bigger point, which is that the Big 12 has an administration problem, meaning that all of the athletic directors are culpable for some of the messes that the Big 12 is in, looking no further than the recent legislation that the AD’s are saying that showing controversial plays repeatedly is now a finable offense.  This isn’t Bowlsby, but the AD’s giving him this power.  As Baylor’s AD said, “we don’t want an environment that’s too hostile.”  For real.


Early Signing Period. Well, this is interesting. CBS Sports’ Jon Solomon writes that the Pac-12 supports the early signing date, but the Big 12 isn’t sure what it wants to do. Let’s get to the proposal first:

An NCAA committee recommended last January the creation of a three-day early signing period beginning Dec. 16 in addition to the normal February period. Under the proposal, the early signing period would be in place this year for the 2016 recruiting class and get reevaluated after two years.

The article notes that commissioner Bob Bowlsby was not present with the proposal was discussed and Texas Tech athletic director had concerns about the dates, saying that he was concerned if players were still playing during this three-day signing period:

“While most recognize the early signing period has a number of advantages, there was a concern with how it would affect those high school teams in the state of Texas who would still be competing in the playoffs that overlapped with the 72-hour signing period,” Hocutt said.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry scott said that he was not supportive moving it to August and so this leaves December as the only time period to make this happen and I think the December time period makes a lot of sense and the August time period does seem way too early.

Also, as noted in one of the Ubben articles linked above, there is some concern by high school coaches of implementing an early signing period during the playoffs, although I’d be all for an early signing period in December, but not August.

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