For a short season, there was a bit of panic about the state of the Big 12. As the major conferences shifted pieces like a board game, the Big 12 was seemingly left in the cold. The news of programs like Texas A&M and Missouri heading for the greener (read: money) passages of the SEC only seemed to create a distance between conferences once considered on equal ground. If the Big 12 couldn't compete with the power conferences of the future, were others destined to jump ship as well?
Enter Chuck Neinas, the interim commissioner who oversaw the successful steadying of the conference and the addition of West Virginia and TCU to bring the conference back to 10 schools. Now that Neinas' interim tenure has ended and a permanent commissioner recently named -- Stanford's Bob Bowlsby -- the Big 12 seems destined for great things.
"I never questioned the stability," Texas coach Rick Barnes said recently. "The anchors were always the ones that wanted to keep it together -- Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. I know our AD [DeLoss Dodds] never wavered on keeping the league together. We're very comfortable with where it is right now."
Bowlsby's record and the Big 12's ability to weather the storm should prove to be a very successful combination. The conference is poised geographically to grab from nearly anywhere it wants in the future to add to its programs. It's the power conference in men's college basketball at this point, and they are still power players in the college football landscape as well.
While it's not nearly as hot of a topic as it was before, the conference will likely make a move to 12 teams in the near future once its new leader is settled in and that stability becomes an appealing platform for other schools.
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