So all that posturing and lobbying and presenting and bribing and shilling on live TV that everyone's done to try and be one of the lucky schools chosen to join the Big XII? As of right now it looks like it's all for naught based on the reactions coming out of the Big XII meetings in Dallas today.
Bowlsby on expansion discussion: "We haven't talked about schools at all."— David Ubben (@davidubben) June 1, 2016
Texas AD Mike Perrin on expansion: "I think this is a dialogue that could continue several years."— David Ubben (@davidubben) June 1, 2016
Texas AD Mike Perrin on potential expansion: "I think the prudent thing for us to do as a conference is stay where we are."— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) June 1, 2016
Perrin suggests expanding now might limit the Big 12's options down the line: "We're probably going to see another round of alignment."— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) June 1, 2016
Whatever the reason (probably Texas throwing a hissy fit), I'm thinking USF is OK with this turn of events. Going into this week, there were three possible outcomes:
- Big XII expands and USF joins the league.
- Big XII expands and USF is left out.
- No expansion.
Let's run down these scenarios one by one.
Big XII Expands and USF Joins the League
Big XII Expands and USF Gets Left Out
Several things could happen from here, and none of them are really bad for USF. Please note this is all idle speculation. I am not plugged into anything and I am not The Dude of USF.
Everything could stay exactly the same. The Big XII could continue to have 10 teams and everyone that's in the American now stays in the American. USF would get to continue rebuilding their athletic department. Football can keep growing, men's basketball can stop being a disaster, the Olympic sports keep winning, Athletics can make strides on improving fundraising and sponsorships, and hopefully move towards building an on-campus football stadium. The league can build on last season's success, position itself as clearly the best non-power conference, and try to earn itself some more money in the next round of TV negotiations. (The current contract runs through 2019-20.)
The Big XII could expand later when they feel like their options are better. USF gets to keep moving the ball forward like in the "everything stays the same" scenario, and then they have a stronger pitch to make when the Big XII really does take expansion seriously.
The Big XII finally blows apart like it maybe should have done five years ago. This might take awhile, maybe all the way to the end of their TV contract and the grant of rights that goes along with it. But then you have a situation like we thought we might have with the Big East football schools when Texas and Oklahoma and whoever else was supposed to be going to the Pac-12. If there are six Big XII schools left and six marketable schools in the American (Houston, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, USF, and UCF) they could come together and make their own league. Whatever that is would be a step up from the American, even if it's not a massive step up. The longer the Big XII (read: Texas) drags their feet and sows discontent, the more likely something like this might become.