Listen above to this week's episode of the Corner 3 Podcast, where Eric Lopez and Jeff Sharon discuss the future of the Big 12, and why the Power Five could devolve into the Power Four before long, plus more. The UCF/Big 12 part starts at about 3:30.
UCF's hopes for joining a so-called Power Five conference may have just been put on life support.
Two big things from this week:
Big 12 gets deregulation
The NCAA's Division I council approved of the Big 12 Conference's desire to deregulate ruled for conference championship games. Now, a conference can stage a championship game even if it has fewer than twelve teams, as long as the conference plays a round-robin schedule.
This now opens the door for the Big 12 to put on a championship game without having to add any schools to do so. The next league meetings are scheduled for February 4-5th.
It also may close the door on UCF's (and others') hopes to enter a Power Five conference, and the financial windfall that comes with it.
The Big 12 now has the ball in its court, and its schools can vote on whether they will actually stage the title game. But...
Oklahoma issues not-so-veiled threat
Oklahoma president David Boren came out in an article in the Tulsa World that he wants the Big 12 to do three things and do them now:
- Expand to 12 teams
- Establish conference championship game
- Fold the ESPN and Texas' Longhorn Network into a Big 12 Network
Whether all that happens on his timeline is pure speculation, and likely doubtful, given the financial windfall that Texas gets from its deal with ESPN.
When confronted about speculation that the Big Ten might invite OU, Boren said:
"[T]here are always, always informal conversations that we get approached (with) from time to time, and I think the strength of our program, we’re always considered a Top 10 program in the country...So I think there are always opportunities for Oklahoma."
Clearly, that's a not-so veiled threat that they might bolt the Big 12 if they don't get what they want. And that could the entire landscape of College Football even more unrecognizable from just a few short years ago.
Worse, it could dash UCF's hopes of becoming a power conference school.
Listen to the Corner 3 Podcast with Jeff Sharon and Eric Lopez as they discuss where UCF fits in the Power Five discussion after deregulation and what it might mean for the future of the Knights' program. The relevant clips begin at approximately the 3:30 mark in the audio file above.