The Big 12 will have to expand in the next five years or a collapse will inevitably happen. For more reasons than this article can layout, many (outside of Austin) are pushing for the shutdown of the LHN, addition of a Big 12 Network, and adding at least two teams. Why this is all important is perfectly laid out in this article, so check out Dennis Dodd’s words before coming to your conclusion.
But since there has been so much speculation of which teams to add, we’ll run down some options and lay out the pros and cons of what each university would bring to the Big XII. Let’s first take a look in our own backyard with the Southern Methodist University Mustangs.
Since the Big 12 became a 10-school league, rumors and opinions have been thrown around about whom should be the two universities invited to this power-five conference should leadership decide to expand to 12 universities. While BYU, Houston, UCF, Cincinnati and Colorado State make sense in their own way, I want SMU, and while I understand it makes almost zero sense from a financial standpoint, let me explain why.
Location: SMU is in the heart of Big 12 country, which gives fans of other schools that live in the metroplex or surrounding areas an opportunity to see their team in Dallas every other year. I would mandate that teams that play at TCU in football host SMU that same year, and vice versa. That guarantees that every football team will play in the metroplex at least once a year. That wouldn’t be bad for those that live near the metroplex and can’t make it out to Lubbock regularly.
Football: Yes, the Mustangs have not had much success. Even putting the word success in the same sentence as SMU football should be automatically deleted. But head coach, Chad Morris, is hard to ignore. Morris has incredible ties and paths to recruit in Texas, was the highest-paid offensive coordinator at Clemson before he accepted the job in Dallas and is already getting noticed by high-profile recruits. Don’t forget, Elite 11 quarterback Ben Hicks chose SMU over Tech. I have no doubt Morris will bring stability, successful recruiting efforts and, sooner than later, success on the field.
Basketball: Larry Brown was an unreal hire for SMU. He is getting McDonald’s All-Americans to choose the Mustangs over the likes of Texas, Baylor, Kentucky and Kansas – no easy feat. The Mustangs have been a mainstay in the top 25 for the past two years, and Brown will continue to push Mustang basketball in the right direction. Imagine mixing in that basketball team with the already deep Big 12. And no, I don’t care that someone helped take a players test and they got caught. If that’s their worst infraction (which it probably isn’t), I could live with that if I’m an alum.
Resources: SMU has an incredible alumni base, and at the drop of a hat can raise money for new facilities. They’ve recently built a new basketball arena, and with the future success of the football team, I expect them to put money into their football facilities. But more importantly, SMU carries a lot of weight and has many high-profile alumni. Having some of those alumni hold a chair at the Big 12 table will be a benefit to the conference.
Academics: It is no secret that the Big XII is the worst-ranked academic power five conference. Adding SMU to the mix would help. They’re not Ivy League, but they are a very well-respected university nationwide. Academics are important, and SMU would help our conference in that regard.
Television Revenue: More than a bad football team, this one is the strongest argument against my selfish wants. The Big XII already owns the Dallas market, so adding SMU will not add any revenue from a new television market. As many times as I’ve tried to justify ways around this issue, I can’t. This is a big one. And something BYU and Cincinnati absolutely offer.
Going to cost Texas Tech recruits: If SMU was added to the Big XII, they would steal recruits from Texas Tech. If you don’t think they would you’re kidding yourself. Chad Morris can recruit, and he could convince many three-stars to stay in the area over traveling to Lubbock. Those same kids that leave Dallas to play in Lubbock want to play against UT, OU and Okie State. Giving SMU the ammo to offer the same opportunity would hurt Tech, and probably Okie State, TCU and Baylor as well. Plus, it can’t be hard to sell a school in the best neighborhood in the best city in the conference (Yes, Dallas is better than Austin).
I admit, there are many reasons (these are just a few) why inviting SMU to join the Big 12 makes no sense. This is just one man’s opinion; what’s yours? Who would you like to see?