During the hectic last several weeks of the newest conference realignment rumors and discussion of the potential playoff format, the Big 12 meetings have loomed as, at the least, a chance for interim (and lame duck) commissioner Chuck Neinas to further articulate the league's current position about expansion. Or, as it is better known, posture.
The posturing began with the issue of expansion:
Neinas "The #Big12 Athletic Directors reaffirmed their commitment to 10 members."— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) May 30, 2012
As many pointed out on Twitter immediately after that statement from Neinas -- the SEC said the same thing weeks before expanding. Basically, take it with the biggest grain of salt the world has ever seen. Okay, maybe that's hyperbole, but know that the Big 12 will not hesitate to make that statement a giant fib.
Also, this is the position taken by Texas, which could be exerting some serious pressure behind the scenes, as usual. I mean, the Big 12 couldn't actually reach a clear consensus, right?
What about contact with other schools?
The Big 12 has not reached out to Florida State, Notre Dame or anyone; expansion talk is tabled "for near future."— kbohls (@kbohls) May 30, 2012
Again, all of this could change quickly, especially after the playoff proposals come out. Speaking of which, Neinas also weighed in on the current stance in regards to how those top four teams will be selected:
Neinas: "The #Big12 is in favor of taking the 4 highest ranked teams in FB.Strength of schedule MUST be included as part of the formula."— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) May 30, 2012
Interesting that the league doesn't want conference champions to get automatic invites -- but that would probably only happen with four 16-team conferences, which would not happen for, oh, several weeks or so, if it does.
Neinas: #Big12 sentiment favors playoff semifinals within bowl system followed by a stand alone national championship game.— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) May 30, 2012
This is essentially the same position as adopted by the SEC -- no coincidence following the announcement of the so-called Champions Bowl. However, that position does leave open the question of how that bowl game would fit into that structure. To have it as a semifinal would provide the most value for both leagues, which have apparently decided to band together for leverage.
So, in a nutshell, what does all this mean?
"A bunch of stuff we all know isn't true at all." - Chuck Neinas, essentially.— Mark Ennis (@Mengus22) May 30, 2012
Guess this is all still incredibly fluid, and will continue to be so until new commissioner Bob Bowlsby takes over in several weeks. More importantly, however, until the playoff format is announced, which will happen shortly after Bowlsby takes over.
As always, this is all fluid, though there should be a calm before the serious storm over the next several weeks before the playoff format becomes public.