The Big 12 has revealed that, even though they’ve had teams coming and going, that they are sticking with the name “Big 12”. Is it a good move to have the name of your conference not accurately reflect its size or stature?
The Big Ten has 11 teams. I think that pretty much covers it. It doesn’t matter if the Big 12 doesn’t have exactly twelve teams, but it does have teams that have done great things while they were in the Big 12. Sure, long ago it was the Big 8, but we’ve moved so far past that. The ideal is the Big 12. It’s the most powerful conference in college sports besides the SEC.
So, keeping the name makes sense. I remember being perpetually confused for years after they became the Big 12 (and stopped being the Big 8.) Sports fans are smart nowadays, but sometimes we just want headlines. If we start calling the Big 12 the “Big 9”, for example, people will be confused.
Sure, they read the headline somewhere, but this society moves so fast that people don’t want to take the time to relearn the names of conferences. It’s the same reason I still call ’em Candlestick Park, Jack Murphy Stadium, and the RCA Dome.
I think the banner that the Big 12 flies is big enough to handle any number of teams. I wish that we could keep teams where they “should” be, but this is a college sports landscape that is dictated by money. Money decides stadium names, the conferences teams want to be in, and why coaches make millions, can change jobs at will, and athletes have to sit a year if they want to transfer.
I think the Big 12 is brave and smart to stand pat. They’ll continue to be very good, and I think we’ll see a resurgence soon enough.