Wednesday, July 1, 2015

College football media desperately trying to push "Oklahoma to the SEC" meme.

The college football blogosphere is desperately trying to will the "Oklahoma to the SEC" meme into reality. This is what happens when there isn't a serious news story to generate content like Jameis Winston's off-the-field issues or Johnny Manziel's shenanigans.

So, when all else fails, create a story where the really isn't one.

It started off innocently enough. Oklahoma president Dave Boren casually suggested that the Big 12 should make efforts to get back to being a 12-member conference "while we have the time, stability, all of that to look and be choosy." 

Out of that scant origin, the internet somehow twisted the story, claiming that what Boren really wanted was for Oklahoma to bolt from the Big 12 to the SEC. 

SportsDay Now's Chadd Scott was on of the first to develop this conspiracy theory de jour

"Boren wants to lose his “Big 12 should expand to 12” fight because it gives him a public grievance to hold over the Big 12. It gives him a reason to quietly seek a different conference affiliation for his school should the time come.
I simply can’t believe that David Boren actually believes Cincinnati or UCF or Houston or USF or BYU adds enough value to his conference to stick his neck out to this degree. Oklahoma hasn’t spent billions building itself in to an athletic powerhouse only to then expend major political capital by championing the admission of obvious “lesser-thans” into its league."

It didn't take long before the talking heads at ESPN, notably Paul Finebaum and Colin Cowherd, started to run with the story.

All of this is fine, of course. Still, for all intents and purposes, this is all complete speculation. Oklahoma may be disgruntled with the post-conference realignment Big 12 (and who wouldn't be if you were still stuck with Texas?), but for better or worse, the Sooners are most probably going to stay put.

One of the big reasons why this will probably happen is because the SEC still is dealing with the growing pains of being a 14-school conference. It's decisions to continue with an eight-conference game schedule, and to continue protecting cherished cross-division rivalries such as Georgia vs. Auburn, leaves many scheduling issues unresolved. Adding Oklahoma, most probably in a package deal with Oklahoma State, would make things even more complicated.

Add to that a lack of serious options among other conferences (power and otherwise), and you have Oklahoma pretty much where it began, back in a Big 12 with a group of fellow member schools that pretty much all have issues with each other (or at least Texas) trapped in what is pretty much a ten-way marriage of convenience.

In reality, Oklahoma's best option truly is for what Boren called for: expansion of the Big 12. There isn't a big push from any conference to become expand to sixteen members. It probably won't happen until someone manages to come up with a way to schedule such a monster that solves more problems than it creates. Even then, it may only happen when college football is ready to evolve beyond the current twelve-game regular season, which won't be anytime soon.

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