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Top 12 coaches say rapid expansion has solidified the league’s future


Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said he never worried the Big 12 would split up or become useless, even with lingering questions about the future of the conference when Oklahoma and Texas will head to the Southeastern Conference.

“I knew none of this was true,” Klieman said.

The Big 12’s quick response to expand with the additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston certainly helped answer many of these questions and created some stability for the league that some say would not survive departures. of his only national football. champions.

“We have four very good programs. … I think it strengthens the Big 12 as a power conference that’s here to stay for the long haul, ”Klieman said on Monday on the first Big 12 coaches teleconference of the season.

“Well, we hit a home run, the Presidents, the ADs, the Big 12 office, whoever was involved in that. There couldn’t be a better scenario, ”said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. “We kept the Big 12 status. I always thought we needed more than 10 teams. Now we’re back at 12, we’re the Big 12. And I couldn’t be happier with the direction we took last week. “

The Big 12 has as many of its future Top 25 ranked schools as there are current members, with two each. Oklahoma is third and Cincinnati eighth. Iowa State came out of the top 10 at 14th after losing to Iowa and BYU is No.23.

Just six weeks after Oklahoma and Texas accepted invitations to join the SEC by 2025, the Big 12 added four schools that will join their league before that date. BYU, which now plays as an independent in soccer, will start the Big 12 for the 2023 soccer season, with all three American Athletic Conference schools no later than 2024.

After receiving their Big 12 invites on Friday, the four future enemies all won on Saturday. BYU beat Utah for its first win over state rival in nine tries since 2009, and the other three had unbalanced wins.

Oklahoma and Texas, which fell from the Top 25 after a 40-21 loss to future SEC nemesis Arkansas, have said they will honor their current Big 12 contracts and have no plans to join the SEC by 2025, when the conference is underway. television rights contracts expire with ESPN and Fox.

Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said he doesn’t really have any ideas on the Big 12 additions because that doesn’t change anything now. When rookies and parents ask when the Sooners will change leagues, he tells them the plan is still 2025 and he will let them know if anything changes.

“We tried to be fairly honest,” Riley said. “They are going to have the opportunity to play at a high level here at OU, whatever league you are in.”

The Sooners are the only team in the league to advance to the four-team college football playoffs. And although they lost in the semifinals in each of their four appearances, they have dominated the Big 12, winning the last six conference titles and 14 of 25 overall.

The departure from Oklahoma will apparently pave the way for other teams to be at the top.

“The four coming teams, and certainly the ones here in the Big 12, a lot can change in a few years. So I’m not sure, you know, we’re doing anything other than guessing. But, yes, absolutely, ”said Texas Tech coach Matt Wells.

“I think the opportunity is there for a lot of teams in the league. And I think that could be a real, a real league highlight, ”said Baylor coach Dave Aranda. “You look at teams that are built in a similar way. There is a tenacity for them, there is a simple approach that can be sophisticated for them. It won’t be gimmicks and gimmicks. It’s going to be the execution of the fundamentals and all that.

Baylor will have a preview of BYU, which will visit on October 16.

Depending on when Oklahoma and Texas leave, the Big 12 could have as many as 14 schools for a season or two.

This is the 11th season that the Big 12 is a 10-team league playing round robin schedules, since the last major realignment a decade ago which, over a two-year span, saw the members leave. founders from Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas. A&M, as well as the additions of TCU and West Virginia.

“While we won’t be changing the conference per se, it will be a change,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. “What’s actually going to be easier is if we break up into divisions, because you’re not going to have to play a round robin. If you have to go up against everyone in the league, it gets tough. … This is a difficult business.