Mailbag: Expansion, title game locale, Pinstripe Bowl

Michael Gluth in Perth, Australia writes: I'm sure you are probably growing tired of conference expansion talk, but here is a take that you may not have considered. If I am the Big XII, why not invite BYU and Utah to join right now BEFORE and other any other conference changes take place? This may sound pointless, but consider this.....At worst, the Big XII would have a 14 team conference with the addition of 2 strong members and greater expansion into the west. If Mizzou and/or Nebraska depart, then back to 12 members again. However adding the 2 Utah schools right now has several advantages. First, expansion into the Mountain time zone could help keep Colorado--remember, CU has financial issues related to switching to the PAC 10, and this might give them one more reason to stay with some nearby rivals. Second, if Utah is not snatched up now, they too may be lost to the PAC 10. Utah would certainly be under major pressure to accept a Big XII invite alongside BYU over a PAC 10 invite without BYU. Third, if both BYU and Utah are off the table, the PAC 10 may not expand at all! I know they want Texas, but this is unlikely, so who else could they couple with Colorado if Utah/BYU are not an option? Last, politically this move makes the Big XII look more like an aggressor than a victim.Just a thought....

David Ubben: Michael, that’s certainly an idea that has to be considered, and you make some good points. The positives for the Big 12 in the move would be that ever-expanding footprint we keep hearing about, snatching Utah away from the Pac-10 and possibly, as you pointed out, keeping Colorado in the Big 12.

Adding those two teams would weaken the conference as a whole -- more so if Nebraska and Missouri leave. But not adding them, or teams like them, could eventually lead to the Big 12’s demise. Without Nebraska and Missouri, Texas would have to at least listen to offers from another conference that would be located say, south and east of the Big 12.

I agree that it could help the conference’s image as an aggressor. It could lessen the criticism on commissioner Dan Beebe who, at the moment, looks like he’s waiting for the Big Ten to blow up his conference, along with the Big East. Just a great e-mail with some good ideas to toss around from Perth, Australia, of all places.

Chris in Sierra Vista, Ariz. writes: Dear David,Get your head out of your glut max. If the Big 12 Title game is always played at JerryWorld, the South will always have the advantage. I seem to recall about a year or so ago when all the talk started about permanent locals for titles, you and your southern brothers pitched a glorious fit because you said the North would have the unfair advantage. Remember that or do you have selective memory disorder. Chris P.S. I am sure you despise my emails, you haven't even given me the complementary ESPN auto reply. Does the truth hurt that much?

DU: Playing the game at JerryWorld does give the South an unfair advantage. But I don’t believe it would be unfair enough to warrant not moving it. (The move, by the way, wouldn’t be permanent. It would likely only be through 2013 or 2014, at least initially.) The location isn’t favorable for North fans, but like I said, it’s a long way from a road game for teams like Nebraska and Missouri. Partisan crowds? Sure. Completely unmanageable road crowds like you’d find in Austin or Norman? Absolutely not. And as for me and my glorious fit with my southern brothers? If there was a glorious fit, I wasn't a part of it, and I'm not sure I've ever attended a meeting of the Southern Brotherhood you speak of.

Brandon in Waterloo, Iowa writes: why is there a bowl game outdoors in new york in the winter time? How many people are going to go to that game?

DU: Brandon, by the way, is referencing the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at the new Yankee Stadium. Obviously, the game will be cold. But the attraction is a New Year’s Eve/Christmas in New York City. Between the big tree at Rockefeller Center and the ball dropping in Times Square, that’s a recipe for a pretty good bowl vacation, even compared with Disney World or Sea World. I actually expect that game to sell pretty well, at least the first time each team goes from the Big 12.