While addressing reporters Monday morning at the start of Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby emphasized that expansion isn’t high on the Big 12′s list of priorities at the moment.
“If we voted today we wouldn’t take any new members,” Bowlsby said.
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Bowlsby also said that he will always keep an eye on expansion. He thinks it would be foolish for any conference not to at least monitor the national conference realignment landscape. But he said the league’s members are happy with the additions of TCU and West Virginia, prefer deciding a true champion via a round-robin schedule and like the conference’s current trajectory. For those reasons, he doesn’t think expansion would get more than two votes in a conference-wide poll.
Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame and others were rumored as potential expansion targets earlier in the summer, but Bowlsby threw water on them Monday. The Big 12 is happy at 10, it seems.
Bowlsby discussed two other interesting topics before taking questions.
1. As good as the regular season is in college football, Bowlsby doesn’t think nonconference games in September are nearly as entertaining as they could be.
“The first month of the season is not always terrific,” Bowlsby said.
He will encourage Big 12 teams to schedule “high-level matchups” before conference play begins with the hope that a better strength of schedule rating will help teams in the new playoff arrangement. He doesn’t think an early loss should cripple any team’s championship hopes.
“It is not fair to lose a game in September and be taken out of national championship dialogue,” Bowlsby said. “We need to encourage those games. We need to relish those games. We need to make the month of September as good as October and November.”
2. The Big 12 is positioned for a terrific year of football.
“We are salty from top to bottom,” said Bowlsby, before adding that the Big 12 has three teams that won conference championships a year ago. Never thought about that before, but it’s true. TCU won the Mountain West, West Virginia won the Big East and Oklahoma (of course) won the Big 12.
One other note from Bowlsby’s address: The Big 12 has decided to honor Chuck Neinas, who led the conference in a transitional period last year, by attaching his name to the league’s Coach of the Year award.