Big 12 Sports: Now is the perfect time to add Colorado to the conference

Big 12 Sports: Now is the perfect time to add Colorado to the conference

There was a time when baseball was the national pastime during the summer months. However, in today’s sporting landscape, the NCAA conference realignment is reported and followed by fans with as much passion as anything else in the sporting landscape during the months of June, July and August. Of course, the Big 12 has been at the center of the realignment chaos since it resurfaced in the 2010s and now, the conference is being reported to be in serious discussions with a school that closed the league over a decade ago, Colorado.

Prior to this year, the idea of ​​bringing the Buffalos back into the Big 12 didn’t change the situation much in any sport. In fact, as a resident of The Centennial State, I can attest that interest in UC athletics was at an all-time low, as despite living only an hour from the CU campus, I spent most fall weekends wondering if the Buffs earned or not.

That has now changed thanks to the hiring of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders as the new head coach in Boulder. There is now substantial buzz about Colorado, not just in the Denver area, but across the country, as college fans everywhere are fascinated by this innovative signing, who has already rocked the college football world due to the huge Sanders turnover. brought it to their roster in an attempt to essentially replace about 75% of their players through the portal in an offseason.

So if there was ever a time to bring Colorado back into the Big 12 family, it would be now. That brand is as hot as it has been since winning the 1990 national title. For example, just a few weeks ago, Colorado sold out its spring game, a scrimmage broadcast live on ESPN that brought reporters from across the country to the news. base of the Rocky Mountains.

Plus, we already know that Sanders’ Colorado opener, which will take place against TCU in Fort Worth, will be broadcast nationally on FOX. This is unheard of for a program that went 1-11 the previous season.

It’s a sign that Colorado is now pulling power in the world of television ratings, and while Sanders is orchestrating a three-ring circus in Boulder, where there are many potential sideshows roaming the Pearl Street Mall, people will tune in by the millions to see how this experiment unfolds.

So CU never brought more to the table in terms of potential media rights value. That kind of value is something the Big 12 are struggling to replace with losses from Texas and Oklahoma next summer.

Of course, adding BYU, a religious school with a large and passionate national fan base, is a nice step, but the likes of Houston, Central Florida and Cincinnati won’t bring the number of eyes to the league that Texas and OU have for the entirety of existence of the Big 12. However, Deion Sanders can.

Let’s say Sanders is able to turn Colorado back into a national brand. That would mean television executives would be fighting tooth and nail for an opportunity to air their games and that could be worth tens of millions to a conference like the Big 12.

Also, with Colorado residing in the Mountain Time Zone, the Buffs (along with BYU) would give the big 12 desirable schools to fill the Saturday night slots that TV networks value so much. Imagine being able to go to media partners and sell a Colorado or BYU game for those slots instead of a tickle fight with Cal or Oregon State which would be what PAC 12 would have to offer as a counter strike, especially if Washington and Oregon leave that conference high and dry.

There seems to be a ton of smoke surrounding a potential Big 12 reunion with the Buffs. Just yesterday, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports published an article detailing the conversations between the two entities. Interestingly, Dodd suggests that Sanders may have more influence on that decision.

“Colorado and the Big 12 met face-to-face while engaged in consistent talks over a period of several months, according to multiple sources,” Dodd writes. “It was clear that a move to the Big 12 would not be made without the support of head football coach Deion Sanders.”

Don’t forget that Sanders has deep ties to Big 12 home base Texas, especially the Dallas area, where he was once a star with the Dallas Cowboys and where he later operated. a controversial private school, an institution where he also coached soccer. Sure, his name recognition opens doors across the country, but for Sanders to be able to sell recruits in the Lone Star State with the idea of ​​living in the Rocky Mountains but playing multiple games a year in Texas and Oklahoma would be a huge plus. for him.

The payout for the Big 12 can also be huge. Having Colorado and Deion Sanders as part of the package to sell to media rights bidders, especially considering that the population of Colorado’s front lane (along I-25 from Colorado Springs to the Wyoming border) is approaching five million people and that number is growing almost as fast as any market in the country.

There’s no telling whether Sanders’ time at CU will be the runaway success that many people assume it will be. But it does not matter. Regardless of whether he wins big or blows up spectacularly (which is my prediction), he’ll be must-see television, and for whatever conference his school resides in, he’ll be a potentially great bargaining chip. So it would make sense for the Big 12, a league that is in desperate search of its own aces to play with, to do everything possible to bring Colorado back into the fold.