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From the Obstructed Seats

A Blog With Unique-and Probably Wrong-Perspectives

Since They Won't Expand, Will the Big 12 Collapse? More Than Likely

The Big 12 Conference announced earlier in the week that they WON'T expand, so my post over the summer of which teams were considered candidates and after Week 1 I honestly thought it was a slam dunk BYU and Houston would be teams #11 and #12 is all over.  So there is my Skip Bayless moment......

So what does that mean for the Big 12's Future?   Cloudy in every aspect.

The first report was that it was unanimous that all 10 schools voted "no" to expansion.  However, it doesn't sound that way as it is quite possible half were in favor of it, but couldn't get the needed votes so they all went with "no."  So right off the bat, you probably have a lot of dissent between the schools in the Big 12 now.

And that's where the problems begin.

The face of the Big 12........or that's what Texas wants everybody to believe.

The Big 12 was created via Southwest and Big 8 conferences pretty much merging together about 23 years ago, thus making this conference the youngest out of the 5 power a wide margin.  While there is history in the schools, the history of the conference isn't there.   Which means one thing: the big university teams have the sense of self-righteousness (Texas) while the rest are just pawns to their greatness.


For while it seemed like the Big 12 was the conference that even the SEC wished to have in 94-05.  You had teams like Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and even the likes of Texas A&M and Kansas State had quality years.  Everything seemed ship-shape.  And in 2010, the conference took a major hit: Nebraska and Colorado split for the Big Ten and the PAC-12 respectively.  And these two programs were rivals and really major faces of the Big 12.  So why did they split?  

Texas.  The Longhorns went into power-grab mode, trying to make money without helping out the conference.  First the Longhorn Network and it seemed whatever decision the Big 12 made, benefited Texas, not necessarily the conference.  It infuriated two more schools, including the Horns #1 rival, Texas A&M, and Missouri (who pretty much wanted to split at the same time as Nebraska to the Big 10) bolted for the SEC.  

The Big 12's response? "We don't need storied programs like Texas A&M and Nebraska.  We'll take TCU and West Virginia!"

7 years ago a TCU/West Virginia conference game would have been considered a hilarious joke.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Good idea.  

Don't get me wrong because I have always liked TCU and I am loving West Virginia possibly having a chance to win the Big 12, but these two aren't the same as the Aggies or Cornhuskers.  I bet fans of the other Big 12 schools not named Texas went "oh Nebraska is coming to town!" or "hey, the Aggies are coming to town!" I don't think you get the same reaction to either the Mountaineers or TCU now.  The Big 12 can cut it up however they want to but it isn't the same with those two programs.

And if Texas has been the culprit of driving them off, then that is one major reason why the Big 12 is in serious trouble.


Ohio State throttling Oklahoma in Norman is just one of the many out-of-conference losses the Big 12 has suffered.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I love this thing that the Big 12 fans believe the conference doesn't need to expand.  Honestly don't understand why.  It is simple especially when you look at football.  Without question they are worst of the Power 5 conferences.  And it is like with 10 programs (and really 8 if you discount Iowa State and Kansas, both of whom would probably struggle against Division 2 programs) and they love playing "their style" of football, meaning let's light up the scoreboards and get fans to "ooh and ahh" over how they play while the defenses are total junk.  Then they take credit for having some of the greatest offenses, where it is quick-strike, no-huddle, which many argue would keep baffling the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson, etc.  The problem is, not adding two programs, especially to offset the nightmare programs in Lawrence and Ames, makes the conference far weaker.  And in case you didn't see it this year, the Big 12 has already gotten some black eyes during the season (Oklahoma lost to Houston and Ohio State, Texas has lost to California, TCU to Arkansas, Texas Tech to Arizona State, etc.) Yes, BYU and Houston might not have been sexy picks for improving the football especially or financially strategic areas (though Houston's market would have been big given that they had now been dominated by the SEC in ratings), but it was needed and it would have given them equal footing.

The TCU/Baylor game probably kept the Big 12 out of the first playoff.

Which brings me up to this and I have said it over & over: the Big 12 is severely handicapped from the playoff.  You have the other power conferences playing an extra game.  And we saw in 2014 that Ohio State's added game and winning the Big Ten while the "Co-Champions" of TCU and Baylor played 12.  Fans of the Big 12 were up in arms and even the committee said "Ohio State played a championship game and they were the undisputed conference champ of their conference."  Ohio State jumps ahead of both and TCU and Baylor get a pat on the back for two New Year's Six bowl games.

Oklahoma fans argued they should have played Bama instead of getting bullied by Clemson a second straight year.

The next year?  Oklahoma gets in with an 11-1 record.  Stanford lost two so the PAC-12 champ is out.  But even then, Michigan State, by the fact they played an extra game in the Big Ten Championship, jumped ahead of the Sooners.  And the committee looked at that.  Was Oklahoma perhaps better than Michigan State?  Probably, but that extra game jolted Michigan State.  And the Sooners still got stomped by Clemson.

And the Big 12's reaction to both years?  "We'll look into it."

At this point I want to say "You can take a good look at a t-bone steak by sticking your head up a bull's.........."

Now an interesting scenario presides.  Let's say if West Virginia runs the table and so does Ohio State.  Who probably gets the nod in the final playoff spot?  The Buckeyes.  They played an extra game and facing the likes of Michigan, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Nebraska (and probably either Wisconsin or Nebraska again) would possibly outweigh the likes of Oklahoma, Baylor, and "enter team here."  What you will have is people in Morgantown scream bloody murder and then the Big 12 saying we got screwed.  No you won't Big 12.  You COULD have added teams and you refused.  You were happy about it too (or is it Texas that is happy?)  But hey, if the Big 12 backers want to support this decision of no-expansion, they will have to support the committee's decision.


The SEC with Oklahoma? It could be more & more likely.
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

DOMINO-KLAHOMA: Listening to the local radio where I am at and they discussed it a bit was the team to watch after this decision was made would be the Sooners.  My first reaction after the decision was made was that Texas & Oklahoma used a power trip to make sure the expansion didn't happen.  However, listening to it, I don't see how Oklahoma benefits from it either and it sounds perhaps, just perhaps, the Sooners are unhappy with the decision.  Which means it could be a distinct possibility the Sooners might be looking at either the SEC or the PAC-12 for new membership.  And as much as I ripped Bob Stoops and the Sooners style of play (especially after that 66-59 game against Texas Tech last Saturday), they are probably the most prestigious program the Big 12 has (yes, over Texas).  And I think right now they are thinking "why on earth are we fiddling around with the likes of Kansas, Iowa State, and Texas Tech and not trying to improve ourselves against the likes of Alabama (don't want to hear about the Sugar Bowl win), LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn?"  They HAVE to be at least considering the idea of talking to the SEC or the PAC-12.  And I don't blame them.

If Oklahoma splits, that might be it.  They would have been the last program to really stand up against to big bad Texas.  Kansas?  Iowa State? TCU? Baylor?  No way.  If Oklahoma leaves, you will see another re-alignment bit where probably ALL the teams save Texas joins a conference (there is already rumblings the Horns might join the Big 10 but I think Ohio State and Michigan would keep them in check, so that eliminates that idea).  

Hypothetically speaking: Oklahoma joins the SEC.  NC State joins the SEC (thus the SEC gets footing in NC).  West Virginia joins the ACC. Baylor, TCU, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State joins the PAC-12 (which would in turn be the PAC-16), Kansas joins the Big Ten, Iowa State joins the Big Ten, Texas Tech joins the Mountain West or American.  And Texas goes as an Independent.

Yes, I know, crazy and my idea.  But if Oklahoma goes, the conference folds.  

This scene could be history if the Big 12 doesn't make a decision soon.

WHAT THEY CAN DO TO SAVE THE CONFERENCE?  If they hold out for an 8-team playoff, they might have to wait another 6-8 years, something that Oklahoma might not wait around for.  

So they need to re-consider expansion, at least next season.  If Texas has been pulling all of the strings, the other 9 teams need to stand united and tell them to screw off with their little TV contract.  Losing Texas is nothing compared to losing Oklahoma I think.  Now, the Big 12 would need to jump after a top program from another power 5 school, whether that is bringing back Nebraska and Texas A&M (though I think the Aggies are firmly entrenched in the SEC now) in order to survive.  But right now, the Big 12's decision last week might have the beginning of the end for the conference.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed NCAA Top 5: Week 8

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the first domino fell, somewhat.  One of the unbeatens many thought would remain that way until at the very least the last week of the regular season fell and another unbeaten lost as well. But overall, everything seems to remain the way it has happened.  We will get into all of that this week.


1.  ALABAMA:  33-14 over a strong Texas A&M squad with a good defense.  They were down for a short time and had some questionable play-calling but overall they got it together and became Alabama.  2 of the final 4 games however, are against vastly improved and possessed Tiger squads of LSU and Auburn.  The LSU game once again might decide the SEC West.

2.  LSU:  From the dead, the Tigers have risen.  And at the perfect time.  And Leonard Fournette is back, rested and ready to go.  Of course next game they have will be against Alabama.  Will be a massive war.  But overall the Tigers have realized their full potential they didn't get out of Les Miles.

3. AUBURN: Speaking of rising from the dead, the Tigers put a 56 score and only allowed 3 to Arkansas.  So they too will have a say in the SEC West after all.

4. WEST VIRGINIA: I'm beginning to think the Mountaineers don't belong in the Big 12.  They can play defense.  BEST thing could possibly happen as their schedule is "favorable" and could win out they might have a better chance at the playoff since Ohio State lost.

5. MICHIGAN:  I am betting Michigan fans want the season to end today so they could have their wish of an Alabama/Michigan National Championship and not have to worry about Ohio State.


1. TEXAS A&M: They fought for about 2 and a half quarters.  But it wasn't that the Aggies played bad against Alabama, but Alabama is on another world.  Their schedule is still favorable with Ole Miss and LSU at home and Mississippi State (now the SEC's punching bag outside South Carolina).  But they will need major help though.

2. HOUSTON: Somebody tweeted that the Big 12's dumb decision (yes, it is dumb) of not expanding got the Cougars upset and it showed last night.  Can't argue with that logic actually since SMU destroyed the Cougars.  And it pretty much sets Boise State and Western Michigan in the driver's seats for the "other 5" to get a New Year's Six game.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

3. THE REST OF THE BIG 12 NOT NAMED WEST VIRGINIA:  This week while the Big 12 will act "proud" of their no expansion decision it is probably now more of when the Big 12 folds than "if" first off.  Secondly, you have some of the worst displays of football in the nation being played.  I'm sorry, but games of 49-31, 66-59, 45-40, etc. is NOT football.  At least have some defense.  And the game last night between Texas Tech (the ringleader of the all offense, no defense mentality) and Oklahoma (getting there themselves) was a joke.  The sad part is, those teams are PROUD of that!  I don't think I would be jumping for glee if I lost though I scored 59 points.  I'd be furious.  But hey, it is the Big 12, and they think their way is the wave of the future.  They better hope there is a future.

4. ARKANSAS: 56-3 to Auburn?  Maybe they shouldn't have won but 56-3?  I think the Bret Bielema Era isn't going to pay off for the Razorbacks.

5. OHIO STATE: I had a difficult time even putting the Buckeyes on this list, but that said, they lost to an unranked team.  But if they win out (which is likely), they are still going to be in the playoff.  But the margin of error is gone for Ohio State.


A well-rested Fournette gets another crack at Alabama in Death Valley
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

1.  CAN EITHER AUBURN OR LSU BEAT ALABAMA?  Yes to LSU but no to Auburn.   The Tigers have a lot of things going for them heading into the Alabama game.  They are playing the way everybody expected them to play at the start of the season.  The game is at home and Fournette is well rested since he sat out for nearly a month (but come on Musburger, Fournette for Heisman? Give me a break!).  That really tips it in their favor where Alabama might be maybe a less than a TD favorite leading up to that game.  But Auburn? I do give them props for decimating Arkansas, but in 7 games, the Tigers have played on the road ONE time and it was to a bad Mississippi State squad.  They will be road-hopping starting in Ole Miss and then Georgia and then of course Alabama.  I am not expecting Auburn to run the score up in those places, even at Georgia.  And honestly, the holes Auburn created last night for their runners won't be working against the Tide like it did Arkansas.

The one thing I am curious about though is how good both teams really are given they have been away from home only 3 times this year total (and LSU lost both times) so I am not sure if it is more of a front-loaded schedule that benefited them or they are actually that good.

Everybody really wants Lamar Jackson in the playoff and has thrown all logic out the window when it comes to the selection process.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

2.  DO YOU BELIEVE A LOUISVILLE, TEXAS A&M, OR OHIO STATE WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFF IF THEY DON'T WIN THEIR CONFERENCE?  Absolutely not!  I'm tired of hearing all these analysts say that the Cardinals can sneak in over a 1-loss Washington team or a 1-loss Ohio State squad (BTW Ohio State really doesn't fit here because they still control their destiny).  In fact, I nearly threw up hearing how Louisville should be considered "ahead" of Clemson given how they beat NC State while Clemson needed a miracle to beat the Wolfpack.  But it is tiring to hear that argument because it didn't work last year with Ohio State.  In fact, had the Big 12 champ had 2 losses, they would have been jumped by Stanford and Ohio State would have been jumped by Stanford in the playoff.  Bottom line is, unless say a Washington goes to the PAC-12 Championship game and plays a possible 3-loss Colorado team and loses, then maybe you have an argument there.  The playoff is really set up for the conference champions, meaning you won't see a 2nd team in the same conference in the playoff.  I guess maybe it is just feed time for ESPN, CBS, FOX, and whoever else I am missing that talks their tails off.

Freeze might have jumped ahead of the hot seat line as the top guy in trouble in the SEC.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

3.  IS HUGH FREEZE ON THE HOT SEAT AT OLE MISS?  I think he is.  It looks like he has lost control of the players and that is a big problem.  Do I think he gets fired?  Probably not, especially since he sent the Rebels to two New Year's Six bowl games.  But with the issues surrounding the program, it is possible/feasible that he will be the top guy next year that could get grilled and fast.

James Franklin got another year because of the Ohio State win.

4.  DID JAMES FRANKLIN SAVE HIS JOB AT PENN STATE FOR ONE MORE YEAR BEATING OHIO STATE LAST NIGHT?  Yes.  You have to think that he did given he is the first guy in the Big Ten not named Mark Dantonio to beat Ohio State in 5 years.  That does have to account for something, right?

Kentucky is playing better but the SEC East is BAD.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

5.  DOES KENTUCKY HAVE A GREAT SHOT AT WINNING THE SEC EAST?  No.  Unless they beat Tennessee and Florida fumbles with LSU and Arkansas (both road games now).  It goes to show how bad the SEC East is this year if a team like Kentucky who got destroyed 41-14 to Alabama, 45-7 to Florida and got the score ran up on them by Southern Mississippi is still a "threat" to the division.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed NCAA Preview for Week 8

Things are heating up in the college football world.  After this weekend, we will definitely see an unbeaten in Tuscaloosa fall, whether that is the visiting team or the home team.  And right now it is the game of the season in college football until Michigan and Ohio State play in the last weekend with both undefeated from all likelihoods.  

Last week I went 10-2 with my picks so I am now 56-27 so far (had I put in the Virginia Tech/Syracuse game I would have been 10-3, but thought it was an easy W for the Hokies.  Oops).  So onto this week.

MIAMI @ VIRGINIA TECH, 7:30, THURSDAY, ESPN:  Always a fun game to watch since their Big East days.  Before last week's game it looked like the Hokies would have been rolling to the ACC Championship game with the Heels and Canes struggling.  And they crashed in Syracuse.  Maybe it is those growing pains that Justin Fuente will have in his first year.  The Hokies still fought and clawed their way back in game last week but too little too late.  Miami on the other hand blew another home game to North Carolina and was unimpressive in the process.  The one thing that Mark Richt has struggled throughout his coaching career is when his teams have adversity they do have issues rebounding on.  And now they are at Virginia Tech on a Thursday.  To me this doesn't bode well for Miami's defense nor Brad Kaaya to get out of it.  I like the Hokies in this one.  MY PREDICTION: VIRGINIA TECH 30, MIAMI 20

BYU @ (14) BOISE STATE, 10:30, THURSDAY ESPN:  An old Mountain West "rivlary" game.  The Cougars and Broncos are probably the two best "non-power 5 conference" teams (alongside Houston).  The Broncos have quietly gone undefeated as many (myself included) thought those days of ruling the roost are over.  Nope.  They are back.  BYU has come off two straight wins against power 5 schools (albeit Michigan State and Mississippi State right now as both have fizzled out) and a 3rd power 5 to start the year (Arizona, but also fizzled out).  Ironically this might be the Cougars biggest game to date.  If they can move the ball on the Broncos, they could stun.  But they really need to make some key stops.  If Boise State can jump on BYU early, it could be another win for the Broncos on the blue.  If not, BYU might leave Boise with a W.  MY PREDICTION:  BOISE STATE 31, BYU 28

NORTH CAROLINA STATE @ (7) LOUISVILLE, 12:00, ABC:  We saw what happened to Louisville after they lost the heartbreaker in Clemson 2 weeks ago.  They pretty much scuffled the whole time through against Duke.  North Carolina State NEARLY pulled off the big upset in Clemson last week and was heartbroken as well.  So do the Wolfpack recover from that game and put up a fight with Louisville or do they scuffle like Louisville did while the Cards rebound?  I think the Cardinals probably are in an angry mood as many are going "yeah, there went your chance of sneaking in the playoff, even if Clemson is there."  So this game could get a bit ugly.  Unfortunately.  MY PREDICTION: LOUISVILLE 49, NC STATE 24

(10) WISCONSIN @ IOWA, 12:00, ESPN: The 4-2 team is #10 and the 5-2 team is unranked.  But it also goes with the territory.  The 4-2 team lost both games to two top 5 teams by a touchdown or less.  And the 5-2 team lost to a MAC school and an average Northwestern squad.  That will do it.  The Badgers might have lost to both Michigan and Ohio State, but many have been very impressed on how they played.  Iowa plays Iowa football so it is the "take it for what it's worth" style.  It works though and it is a game that Wisconsin probably doesn't want to deal with given they played two very physical teams previously.  I will call an upset here as Iowa stuns the Badgers.  MY PREDICTION: IOWA 13, WISCONSIN 6

COLORADO @ STANFORD, 3:00, PAC12:  Probably the biggest surprise is going up agianst the biggest disappointment in the PAC-12.  The Buffaloes have been a strong team this year while Stanford has slipped a bit despite beating an uninspired Notre Dame squad last week.  If McCaffrey doesn't play, even if the game is in Stanford, this could be a problem for the Cardinal.  Colorado has shown to play some defense and can move the ball pretty well.  That might pose a bit of a problem for Stanford.  If McCaffrey plays however, I like Stanford on this one.  I think he tries to give it a go before the PAC-12 North is completely a lost cause.  MY PREDICTION: STANFORD 20, COLORADO 13

TCU @ (12) WEST VIRGINIA, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2:  The Mountaineers are turning heads in the college nation especially with the fact they are undefeated and really the Big 12's last major hope (sorry but Baylor will get pounced in Oklahoma and possibly later in West Virginia) for a playoff spot (to which I will get to in a future post about the Big 12 again).  TCU has not looked like the same TCU we are accustomed to, being average on offense, turnover prone, and average on defense.  How they escaped KANSAS is a head-scratcher.  But I don't see the Frogs beating West Virginia, especially not after the way they've played and if they can hold Texas Tech to under 20 points, West Virginia can hold anybody down.  No trap game, though it does look appealing.  MY PREDICTION: WEST VIRGINIA 44, TCU 20

(6) TEXAS A&M @ (1) ALABAMA, 3:30, CBS: Obviously this is the game of the week.  The Aggies and Crimson Tide have started to build a rivalry (at least what Texas A&M fans believe since the 2012-13 seasons).  And this game is the biggest it has been since the 2013 showdown.  The Aggies have found a formula to win games not by offense, but by defense.  That said, they still have issues of mental lapses on both sides of the ball and at times play 3 quarters of games.  You have to play all 4 quarters and Alabama is a team that makes the best second half adjustments (see Tennessee last week).  If the Aggies are down at halftime, I don't see them coming back out to win this game.  If they jump on Alabama early, it will be close.  My guess the game is going to be close, but Alabama pulls away late.  MY PREDICTION: ALABAMA 34, TEXAS A&M 24

MEMPHIS @ (24) NAVY, 3:30, CBS SPORTS:  Hey, Navy is here!  And Memphis isn't too bad since Fuente left!  Yeah.  I think Navy wins this one because it is too complex for Memphis to handle.  Sorry Tigers fans.  MY PREDICTION: NAVY 41, MEMPHIS 31

EASTERN MICHIGAN @ (20) WESTERN MICHIGAN, 3:30 AMER:  I think the one surprise isn't Western Michigan is here than it is Eastern Michigan that is 5-2.  5-2?  Dang, Michigan State might be the WORST program in the state right now!  Anyway, EMU had a nice win over Ohio last week, but even Ohio isn't Western Michigan.  MY PREDICTION:  WESTERN MICHIGAN 35, EASTERN MICHIGAN 20

(17) ARKANSAS @ (21) AUBURN, 6:00, ESPN:  Well, not since the LSU game has Auburn really been challenged.  They have curb-stomped everybody, but with it being a weak schedule to this point, you really don't know what the Tigers are still.  Mississippi State was a weak squad so we'll see.  As for Arkansas, they had a nice win against Ole Miss so that motivation really could carry them through this game.  I am not sold on Auburn despite how well their defense is and I think Arkansas has been in bigger games than Auburn at this point.  MY PREDICTION: ARKANSAS 38, AUBURN 28

(2) OHIO STATE @ PENN STATE, 8:00, ABC:  This game is always a tough game especially in Happy Valley.  However, Penn State has really been weak this year  despite being over .500.  They just do not have the horses to compete with Ohio State for four quarters.  That said, the crowd will be nasty and you do wonder a game like Ohio State played last week could be a bit of a drainer.  This might be closer than some imagine, but I like the Bucks in this one.  MY PREDICTION:  OHIO STATE 41, PENN STATE 31

(23) OLE MISS @ (25) LSU, 9:00, ESPN:  LSU looks to have figured out their offense, but now they play a quality team with it in Ole Miss.  Ole Miss could be 3-4 after this week so they need this W too.  But LSU still has a great shot at playing in the SEC Championship with Alabama rolling into town in 2 weeks so they will be up.  I just think the Rebels offensive firepower might be too much for Orgeron at this point and think LSU's offense will put some points up, but it won't be as easy as it has.  MY PREDICTION:  OLE MISS 38, LSU 31

WASHINGTON STATE @ ARIZONA STATE, 10:00 PAC12:  Well, you might throw out the defenses in this one.  It will be who can get a few more big stops.  My guess is Washington State given Arizona State does struggle on that side a bit more than the Cougars do.  MY PREDICTION: WASHINGTON 45, ARIZONA STATE 28

Have a good time watching the games

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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