John Klein: Big 12 future overshadowing strong start
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
9/27/11 at 6:03 AM
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Games are being played, but conference realignment and the future of the Big 12 remain the primary headline in the league.
Coaches continue to get asked about, and talk about, what is happening to the conference.
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville has coached in the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference, where Texas A&M is headed.
"We hate to lose them in the Big 12," he said. "They are obviously getting into a new environment. Coming over here from the SEC we had to make changes. They'll (Aggies) have to do the same thing. It will be a transition for them. "
Texas A&M has made it official. The Aggies, just a few days after a humiliating collapse at home to Oklahoma State, are headed to the SEC.
Missouri seems to be somewhat uncertain about its future, too.
"The Big 12 has potential to be a great league," said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. "Eventually, things will get fixed."
OSU coach Mike Gundy has been vocal about his commitment to the Big 12.
"I've been a big supporter of the Big 12," he said. "I was disappointed that they left. I thought our league is very competitive and strong."
It leaves the league with just nine teams.
"I wish it hadn't happened, but I believe we have a very powerful and strong league," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. "It is still a strong league with a lot of great players and excellent coaching."
OSU and Oklahoma took control of the conference football race as the Cowboys and Sooners won league openers against two of the top contenders.
Now, as the league's future remains up in the air, conference teams are getting down to business.
But, the issue of what the future holds for Big 12 members is still fresh.
"I hope that in our future we'll still look at what is best for the student-athletes and the coaches and the fans and the parents," said Texas coach Mack Brown.
"A lot of them stay at home because they can drive to the games. I'm really excited the Big 12 is moving forward."
Even with all of the debate over the future of the league, the Big 12 is having a big year so far this season.
Five teams are ranked among the top 17 in the nation (No. 2 OU, No. 5 OSU, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 15 Baylor, No. 17 Texas) and eight of the 10 schools in the league are receiving votes in the Associated Press poll.
"I haven't put a lot of thought into it," Brown said. "I've got my hands full with the games.
"The Big 12 is moving forward. Right now it is a powerful league."
Original Print Headline: Strong start eclipsed by Big 12 future
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