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Buyer's Remorse? Certainly Not in Piscataway!

The Big XII's continued upheavals reminds Rutgers fans what life used to be like, but not any more

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In a recent article on Heartland College Sports, Bill Snyder, coach of the Kansas State Wildcats, remarked that some former Big XII members might be having second thoughts about moving to the Big Ten . As he put it, "I may be wrong and other people may see it differently, but I don’t think anyone could be in a better situation than the teams we have in our conference. I’ll tell you what. There are teams that left our conference right now that wish they could get back in our conference."

In 2011, Nebraska and Colorado both left the conference, for the Big Ten and the Pac-10, respectively. The following year Texas A&M and Missouri also left, both going to the SEC. Since that time, the Big XII has not been the same.

For a while now, the Big XII has been fighting for recognition, respect, and not unimportantly, revenue. The loss of those four teams added to their need for all three. Sure, they brought in West Virginia and TCU, but those names certainly do not carry the same cachet for those in the Midwest, particularly since both came from the Big East (remember, TCU agreed to join and had to pay in order to leave), which has always been looked down upon by those west of the Mississippi (and a lot east of it, too). I wonder how much the Mountaineers have been accepted by the Big XII faithful. While they have performed in their new conference at a higher level than the Scarlet Knights have in the B1G to date, they have not risen to the level at which they performed in the old Big East.

Bill Snyder is a coach looking for a legacy. He is a HOF coach at the very tail end of a long and illustrious career. If you take away conversations about his legacy, what else is there to discuss with him? It is normal to do the "what might have been" conversations with such a legendary coach. I am sure it is a bit frustrating to him to have his legacy being tarnished by the narrative that the conference is the "weak sister" of the Power 5 conferences. A good way to attempt to take that back is to suggest that those who left wish they hadn’t done it.

Is Nebraska feeling sorry they left the Big XII for the Big Ten? There have been online article after article after article after article that demonstrate that not only is the school comfortable with the move, for the most part the fans are as well. Merely read the reader comments in these articles and you don’t hear much other than it would "nice to play K-State" or "I miss playing Oklahoma" once in a while. That’s normal, and you hear the same thing from all of the schools who have switched affiliations since it all came down starting in 2010.

What about Rutgers in all of this? Well there are two points here to review. First, most importantly, there is certainly no buyer’s remorse on the banks of the ol’ Raritan River! With the exception of a couple of trolls who still long for the days of playing Lehigh and Colgate, or claim we will never measure up to the B1G, it is not a topic of conversation. Fans are focused these days on the recent string of positive steps being made by the athletic department at Rutgers, including the hiring of Pat Hobbs, Chris Ash, Steve Pickiell, the elevation and recognition of Sarah Baumgartner, the raising of over $50M in six months, and football and basketball recruiting that will bear fruit in the coming years.

Secondly, and this is the best part: I now know how the average Indiana or Purdue fan viewed the conference re-alignment that was so wrenching to Rutgers supporters. Watching the Big East slowly implode as schools were picked off by the ACC and Big XII caused much agita as fans watched the machinations to keep the conference relevant and competitive in what became known as the Power 5. We can watch what is going on in the Big XII with a sense of bemusement and or disinterest, as it doesn’t mean anything to the typical Big Ten fan.  After all, our new memories are being made with scenes like this:

The latest news of the Big XII doing a 180 degree turn and suddenly decide to expand after vociferously claiming for years they had no need to expand can be laid at the feet of the announcement of the ACC/ESPN agreement to create a sports network (a la SEC Network). This would make the Big XII the ONLY of the Power 5 to not offer a sports network for their fans, and makes them the conference that is on the outside looking in. Even regular fans get the connection:

What will determine the continued existence of the Big XII will center on one item, and it is NOT expansion. That item is what happens with the Longhorn Network (LN), the University of Texas’ individual network that brings Texas (and only Texas) in the vicinity of $13M this year, and the deal lasts until 2031! Remember, the rightly-lauded Big Ten Network paid its first profit in 2015, and it was $1M per school.

Worse, LN partners with ESPN, while the rest of the Big XII works with Fox. So until a deal for Texas to be able to keep LN revenue stream going, as well as get a network for the rest of the Big XII, the conference will never be able to move forward, no matter how many schools are added.