It’s impossible to keep up with all of the Big 12/PAC 10/Big 10 stuff, and the many possible permutations of what could happen, but I was amused by the emails from a Baylor regent trying to whip up support for their inclusion in any mass migration to the PAC 16 over Colorado.
Wrote [Baylor regent and prominent lobbyist Buddy] Jones: “We cannot let the other schools in Texas (A&M, U.T., Tech) leave the Big XII WITHOUT BAYLOR BEING INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE. Long and short – if U.T., A&M and Tech demand that any move to any other conference include ALL TEXAS BASED TEAMS from the Big XII, we are golden. We need to be in a PACKAGE DEAL!”
Jones argues that Baylor is better than Colorado as a potential Pac-10 team because, “Baylor is superior to Colorado academically. Baylor has athletic facilities superior to Colorado. Colorado doesn’t participate in the number of sports that Baylor does. Baylor’s overall record in all collegiate sports dwarfs that of Colorado.”
Jones also points to Nebraska as being a key to the conference realignment. He opines that: “It’s hard enough get the home teams to stick tight. But harder still to influence a bunch of corn shuckers.”
I’m sure he meant that in the nicest possible way. The Denver Post managed to get a couple of people on the record about the Baylor-versus-Colorado thing.
Powerful Baylor alumni said today that the Texas State Legislature is looking into ways to help their alma mater.
As Kip Averitt, who retired in March after 17 years as a state senator and is a 1977 Baylor grad, told The Denver Post: “If it’s one or the other, I’d rather it be us than you.”
“I think there’s a desire to have regional participation in all of the athletics,” said State Rep. Jim Dunnam (D-Waco), Baylor class of ’86. “If you don’t have Texas and Texas A&M and Tech and Baylor playing one another, you lose the regional nature of your conference.
“It’s fun to play Ohio State every now and then but people come in day in, day out for that regional competition.”
“We’re on the same academic tier as Colorado,” Averitt said. “Both of our schools are at the top of the spectrum. That can’t be an issue. But for us down here, we’re kind of a family. We like to compete against our family.
“It’s nothing against Colorado at all. We like to travel up to Colorado from time to time. It’s a beautiful state. But when it comes to conference realignment, it’s a huge deal to Baylor University and central Texas economics.”
Colorado’s appeal to the Pac-10, besides a closer proximity, is it’s a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities. While Baylor is not, it’s considered one of the best academic institutions in Texas.
Athletically, Baylor boasts the most Big 12 championships outside of Texas and Nebraska. Baylor officials quickly point out that Colorado does not carry non-revenue sports that are popular in the Pac-10 such as softball, baseball and men’s tennis.
“We think that also should be a consideration,” Averitt said. “We’re across the board.”
Is it just me, or does anyone else hear Frank Sinatra crooning in the background?
I dunno. I guess it could happen. Baylor’s arguments are quite logical. But I think Buck Harvey is correct in that logic will be trumped by numbers.
Colorado doesn’t dominate its region the way Nebraska does. But it is still the state’s largest school with the potential to be more. Baylor, bordered by UT on one edge and A&M on another, isn’t a growth business.
Then there are the numbers. Boulder, Colo., is 25 miles from Denver and is included in that city’s television market. It’s the 16th largest in the nation, the reason four major pro sports are there.
Waco is combined with Bryan and Temple on the same list, yet is 89th overall — just above Jackson, Miss.
This sure is fun to watch, isn’t it? In closing, I leave you with Dan Wetzel, who makes a strong case for how supporting a football playoff would have saved the Big 12 from the current attempts to pick its carcass, and Sean Pendergast, who compares the spot the Big 12 is in to that of the Big East of 2003. Check ’em out.