Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kansas Could Be Big Loser In Realignment War

Nebraska is apparently ready to accept an invite to join the Big Ten. That's the first domino to fall in the destruction of the Big XII.

Missouri will most likely follow ... given the fact that the Big Ten will probably ask them to join. And late in the night, it was reported that the Pac-10 has extended an invitation to Colorado. The report also says that the Pac-10 is ready to offer invites to Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Another rumor is that Texas and Texas A&M officials are going to meet to discuss their options.

The Big XII may be a conference for only another week or so. Tough news. The sad thing is a great powerhouse like the Kansas Jayhawks may not have anywhere to go.

Kansas is in no man's land. With Nebraska and Missouri moving to the Big Ten and the six schools the Pac-10 is looking at probably going, that leaves Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor as the odd men out. Unless the Big XII decides to raid the Mountain West, Conference USA and/or WAC that conference will be no more.

So where could Kansas ... who has won three NCAA basketball championships and one of three schools with over 2,000 wins ... land in the new world of college athletics?

Of the major conferences, there's nothing out there. The Pac-16 will be full. The Big Ten probably won't come calling for them (other than the basketball tradition, there's no reason for the Big Ten to be interested). The ACC and SEC don't make sense ... though imagine Kansas, North Carolina and Duke in the same hoops conference. The Big East doesn't make much sense either.

That means Kansas won't be in a major conference (*) anymore. That means they'll have to look to one of those second tier conferences for a home. Maybe the Mountain West would be interested? It makes some sense for the MWC to add Kansas. It will surely up their hoops profile and puts the conference a little more east. Maybe Conference USA would be interested and that could make some sense. The geography would be decent and they'd have a natural power rival in Memphis. The WAC is a stretch, but it is an option.

Now, that (*) I added in the last paragraph could be key. The Mountain West could become a major conference pretty quick. They are already right on the cusp of an automatic BCS berth. Last week, there were rumors that the MWC would invite Boise State to all but assure the BCS will lock them in (the MWC didn't send the invite but said they'll see how things shake out and re-assess). So with all this new movement, the MWC could add Boise State as their 10th member ... then go after Kansas and Kansas State.

Kansas, Kansas State, Boise State, TCU, BYU, Utah, New Mexico, Air Force, Colorado State, San Diego State, Wyoming and UNLV would form a nice conference. You have decent football strength (Kansas, Boise State, TCU and Utah have all recently played in BCS bowls ... while BYU owns a national championship many moons ago) as well as pretty good basketball strength.

EAST: Kansas, Kansas State, TCU, Air Force, Colorado State, Wyoming
WEST: Boise State, BYU, Utah, San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico

That may be the best option for Kansas.

The only other option would be to try to form a new conference of midwestern schools (or rebuild the current Big XII and attempt to keep their BCS affiliation). Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State would really only need to add four schools to form a conference. Maybe Memphis would be interested? Maybe Utah, BYU and Boise State would be willing to move. If those three come, then TCU could be persuaded to be the 9th school. From there, they could add three more schools and get back to the 12-team lineup they have now. Even if they didn't, that 9-team lineup would be more than adequate.

However it works out, I just feel bad for Kansas. This is a great traditional school that may get pushed to the side. Their basketball prowess will get dismissed because of their football weakness.


billso said...

Add Hawaii to the BIg XXI. It makes about as much sense as Boise State, plus there's the bonus game for teams that visit Hawaii.

Whitney said...

Funny thing is, when the Big 12 was formed there was a competitive imbalance.... now there is no competition.

Gaucho said...

Kansas will either be in the Pac-10 or Big East when this all shakes loose I think. It depends on A&M which way they go.