This is not the news that BYU wanted to hear on Wednesday.
The much anticipated vote on conference deregulation was held in San Antonio, Texas, and the vote ended in favor of conference with less than 12 teams can host a conference title game. This is what the Big 12 wanted in being able to play a title game with 10 teams and also without divisions, but they will need to play a round-robin schedule.
This puts conference expansion for the Big 12 on the back burner with no need to immediately add a team like BYU, Cincinnati, Memphis, UConn and a few others who have been batted around as a possibly candidate. Long-term is another story as the college football landscape seems to evolve about every decade.
For BYU, this just prolongs their independent path in football as the Cougars almost for certainty do not want to go to a Group of Five conference whether it be back to the Mountain West, or to the American.
A conference title game is not necessarily in the cards for the Big 12 next year, and there is at least one school president who does not feel the conference should stay at 10 teams. That president is Oklahoma’s David Boren who has stated in the past about wanting the Big 12 to carry the same amount of teams as the conference’s namesake.
“The Big 12 is disadvantaged when compared to the other conferences in three ways,” Boren said in a statement. “We do not have at least twelve members, we do not have a conference network, and we do not have a championship game. I think that all three of these disadvantages need to be addressed at the same time. Addressing only one without addressing all three will not be adequate to improve the strength of the conference.”
Those three things are all what nearly every other conference has, the ACC is in progress of creating their own network with ESPN a few years down the road.
In the meantime the Big 12 is standing pat and part of that is possibly due to that they do not want to be forced to expand to 12 teams, and that would add another tier to Boren’s statement about the Big 12 being at a disadvantage.