Carpenter: Kansas secure among new realignment talk
- Nov. 28, 2012
- 1 Comment
I wrote about four leads for this column so I would not sound like some Jason Whitlock ripoff, saying things just to get a rise out of people while laughing all the way to the (metaphorical, in my case) bank.
But with the storm of conference realignment swirling again and rumors spreading like a junior high lunchroom, it seemed like as good a time as any to say what I’ve been thinking as the Big 12’s position in this chaos becomes more clear each day.
The Big 12 is in a pretty good spot. Once proud conferences like the Pac-10 and the Big Ten added teams like Utah and Rutgers. The SEC grabbed Missouri and Texas A&M — two schools that don’t fit into its culture whatsoever — just to get to 14 teams. The Big East and ACC are just trying to survive.
The Big 12 has 10 schools to split revenue with and its 13-year grant of rights ensures no team is leaving until 2024 to 2025 at the earliest.
But if that stability equates to complacency, Kansas football is in trouble. Big trouble.
Because as good as Charlie Weis or any other coach could get the football program, playing a round robin schedule every year is a death sentence for momentum.
This is usually where the die hard fans say something like, “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” or something like that.
And that sounds great and all, but history tells us the Jayhawks rarely beat the best. They rarely beat the average, either.
Since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996, Kansas has seven victories against conference teams in the old Big 12 south: Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. But with the way the old Big 12 was set up with north and south divisions, that was OK. Teams like Kansas, Kansas State and and Missouri could survive with a good game plan: play easy non-conference games, beat the teams you’re supposed to beat, get lucky with conference scheduling and go to a bowl.
That’s no longer possible.
Remember 2007? That never would have happened in the new Big 12. Kansas had one of its greatest teams in decades, and it wouldn’t have sniffed an Orange Bowl with Oklahoma standing in its way.
With the grant of rights signed, Kansas is in a great spot compared to a year ago. Rumors about being relegated to the Big East or Mountain West seem foolish now when they seemed likely then. The conference is secure.
But it might be too secure.
These words may all be for naught. Conference and school officials could be actively pursuing 11th and 12th members to get the conference back to two divisions, giving Kansas a reasonable path to bowl games most years.
If not, the already-slim margin for error for Kansas football just shrunk.