College Football Nation: Big 12 crumbling and Les Miles likes them young

Jeff Hostetler FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

The news of Michael Sam being gay has come and gone, signing day has passed, and now we can just live off the gossip and “trash” talk amongst players and coaches until August.  With no games going on there is little action to report on, unless you have Steve Spurrier as your coach.  He keeps things interesting by speaking what’s on his mind.  Ask him about the new “Saban Rule.”  Those are the kind of stories we can expect this summer along with news about conference realignment, and the playoffs.

1)  Let’s just get right into the “conference realignment” talk.  I am sure this topic will come up multiple times this summer as conferences have time to do some back door dealing and weigh in on their options.  With the playoffs looming, every school will be looking to put itself into a prime position to claim one of those playoff spots, and right now, according to this article, might find itself left out.

The Big 12 only has 10 teams and might find it hard to get itself to the 16-team amount that most power conferences look to be shifting to in the near future.  I find the article interesting because I think the Big 12 has some good teams and can put itself in a good position for the playoffs.

You have Oklahoma, which beat the pants off of Alabama; Baylor, which got the school’s first ever BCS bowl bid; Oklahoma State, which has become a consistent 9-10 win school; and Texas, which will always be a national brand despite going 8-4 or 7-5 these past few seasons.

So if you’re the commissioner of the Big 12, who do you go after?  That would be my question this summer.  Do you sit idly by at 10 teams while conferences such as the SEC, PAC-12, and B1G have their conference championship games and look to expand, or do you get after some schools?

Who can the Big 12 realistically go after that would make geographical sense and also bring good recognition for the conference?  Does the Big-12 want another national brand?  Go get BYU.  They are the Notre Dame of the West and draw a crowd wherever they go.  So there’s one school down and five to go — except I can’t think of any other schools worth grabbing.

As PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott reads this, he is thinking of the possibilities and knows that he can remake the PAC-12 into the PAC-16 by making another offer to Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and another BIG-12 school.  That would be the super conference!

2)  Let’s keep things in the Big 12 for right now.  Did you hear Oklahoma is in big trouble with the NCAA?  Just kidding, but they did get in “a little” trouble.  A few Oklahoma athletes ate more than they should  have at a banquet and had to pay $3.83 to the charity of their choice to make up for the wrong doing.

My real question is . . . when are we going to say enough is enough with the NCAA and their outdated and horrible rule book.  If you think that incident is bad, did you hear about the student athletes who got in trouble for washing their car with the university’s hose and water?  Forget making MORE RULES, let’s first work on getting rid of some of these dumb rules that just make the NCAA seem like a tyrant!  Warn all athletes to not eat too much wherever they go and to just let the rain falling from the sky to wash their cars instead of using water from “unknown” sources . . . geeze!

3)  The younger they are the better.  That is what Les Miles must have be thinking as he offered a scholarship to a middle school kid this past week.  I guess Miles knows the only way he will beat Nick Saban on the recruiting trail is if he starts on the prospect before Saban even knows they exist — so middle schoolers look out.  Got to love that Les Miles.

We laugh about this now but if you look at college basketball, you see coaches looking at 5th and 6th graders and are serious about making offers and sticking with those kids as time goes on.  I wonder how long it will be until news like this for college football becomes routine.

With Lane Kiffin at Alabama I expect offers to 12-year-olds happening very soon.  Recruiting is still a “crap shoot” and you never know if the kids will keep growing and get better.  That is the world of recruiting we live in and it makes for a fun story here and there.

So a slow week for news but a few fun things going on.  I think the Big 12 has to make some moves now before Larry Scott comes in and makes an offer the power schools of the Big 12 can’t refuse.  Keep an eye on Spurrier because I think he is about to do some serious stirring of the pot with the “SABAN RULE” they are trying to get into effect.

A big story to follow will be going on at Northwestern as they try to unionize.  I know the athletes think it is a way to make things better for themselves, but really, they are just trying to find another way to get paid.

Enjoy another week of the off season as we have about one month left until spring ball!


1. Minnesota making investment

2. Miami in hot water . . . again

3. Northwestern going to the union

4. Black colleges expiring

5. Alabama going to court



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