December 09, 2021

Column: Big 12 talks make my head hurt

If you can keep up with the Big 12 Conference’s expansion talk, you have an advantage over me.

The whole situation makes my head hurt, quite frankly.

As soon as I think I have it figured out, news going the opposite direction comes out.

It looked for a while the league would add four teams. Then talks died completely, and it looked as if they would hold off expansion all together.

That was before the ACC signed a huge television deal with ESPN. Then suddenly, the Big 12 wanted part of the money, and talks were back on again.

However, Tuesday, Oklahoma President David Boren essentially said the Sooners were no longer interested in expansion. Talk about confused.

After all, it was Boren who originally began talks of expansion, saying the league was “psychologically disadvantaged” by having only 10 members.

His latest comments went in the other direction. He even stated that Oklahoma has not yet made a decision at all on whether it wants to expand.

Boren is the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors. He will be very influential on the decisions made by the league.

While Oklahoma and Texas will be perfectly fine without expansion or with it, schools like Iowa State need expansion.

The Cyclones football team would be much more competitive in a Big 12 Conference that features divisions. They wouldn’t have to play the Sooners, Longhorns, Baylor or TCU every year.

Iowa State should be nervous. If Oklahoma decides to back out of expansion, it shows the rest of the league that it and Texas are calling the shots. And that’s not good for the rest of the league.

In local college football news, Iowa’s chance to repeat as Big Ten Conference West Division champions took a big hit when leading receiver Matt VandeBerg went down Monday with an injury.

It’s an injury Iowa can overcome, but no other receiver, besides tight end George Kittle, has proven to be able to make a significant impact this season. It’s time for Jay Scheel, Riley McCarron and Jerminic Smith to step up.

If they don’t, Iowa Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis may have to get creative. That may mean lining up Akrum Wadley in the slot or letting C.J. Beathard go back to his gunslinger mindset.

I don’t mind Iowa State’s two-quarterback system, but I heard several media members this week talking about how the system is “working.”

I’m not sure what “working” means. The Cyclones have just one win and the system worked in a win over San Jose State. Let’s not get carried away. San Jose State is not a very good team.

I think the system can work. Will it? It’s too early to tell. We may get a better idea Saturday when the Cyclones host the Big 12’s highest ranked team in Baylor.

We are nearly to October, and that means postseason baseball is almost here.

The Kansas City Royals were eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday. So there will be a new champion. Will it be the Cubs? How about the Red Sox or Nationals?

There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered. All I know is it felt good to know that my last-place Reds played a role in deciding the matchups in the last few days when they defeated the Cardinals twice in the first three games of the series.

Winning every game from now until the end of the season may not be good enough for St. Louis.

I can get used to postseason baseball without the Cardinals.

Contact Troy Hyde