Changing league landscapes … Big 12 benefits most

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, which allow us to stretch and grow and reach new heights ~ Pauline Kezer

The world hates change and yet change is the only thing that brings progress ~ Charles Kettering

Beginning this fall, the college athletics landscape at the Bowl Championship Series level will have a different look.

After last year’s re-alignment movements, the final ledger shows that the:
— Big 12 scrapped its division format for football and reduced its membership by two;
— Big Ten added divisions (yes, Leaders & Legends) after accepting Nebraska;
— Pac-10 (now 12) is splitting its divisions geographically after adding Colorado and Utah;
— Big East will welcome TCU beginning in 2012.

I think the changes in the Big 12 are the most positive for a strong future because of its round robin scheduling in nearly every sport and its decent regional proximity. 

The SEC annually misses match-ups between some college football heavyweights because a 12-team league can’t support a "play everyone model". Additionally, all conferences with a title game are susceptible to a rematch from the regular season. The second game is always better, right?

It’s similar in the Big Ten and Pac-12.

Is it good that Wisconsin and Iowa – whose football series is evenly split (42-42-2) and has been played for 72 of the last 74 years – suddenly lose an annual border rivalry on the gridiron?

Is it a positive that the Pac-10 loses its simplistic symmetry (two schools from Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Los Angeles and California) at the expense of adding the Buffs and Utes? It, too, is adopting an unbalanced schedule.

Then, there is the regional angle.

For several years now, the ACC has stretched 1,505 miles from Boston to Miami. Before you point out ISU’s northern geography, consider that its four Texas league partners are roughly 900 miles away from Ames. The ACC has become a region, not a tight knit group centered around the research triangle.

TCU grouped with UConn, Rutgers, Syracuse, Villanova, Providence, DePaul, Notre Dame … you can decide.

As the quotes at the top of this column say, change is a catalyst for growth and progress. The future of the Big 12 is promising and its positive changes are the reason why.

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