Gundy dives into reports surrounding conference realignment for Big 12 | OSU Sports


Mike Gundy did his best to avoid getting caught up in speculation about the future of the Big 12. Conference.

But this week, he’s immersed himself in it completely.

The Oklahoma State football coach was ready to delve into information that surfaced late last week that the Big 12 Conference was in talks to expand the league with four programs – BYU, Houston, Central Florida and Cincinnati – which are expected to submit membership applications this week. , with information released on Monday that the vote could take place on Friday.

Gundy might have a better idea of ​​the topic by then, however.

“I don’t have enough information to say other than that I think there’s something going on, but I have a meeting Wednesday to level up and I’ll know more,” Gundy said on Monday. “The only thing I can assume is based on what the other conferences did when they got together and said, ‘We won’t poach any of your other schools,’ to keep our league together until 2024. “

Gundy has a sense of the most important aspect that was central to the conference realignment initiated by Oklahoma and Texas moving to the SEC.

“If this conference stays intact until 24, then that TV money stays the same. If people leave there are penalties to pay, so why should anyone go out and do anything? Gundy said. “So, I’m just guessing, they’re here saying, ‘OK, we’ve got to find out if that happens and we’re bringing a number of teams here, what is the financial television stability of this conference if these teams Come in?’ They’re trying to find out what the market value is for it, I guess. “

As for the four teams discussed in detail in the league expansion reports, Gundy clearly understood why each would be of value to the league.

Of BYU, Gundy said, “From coast to coast to coast, people see BYU as a Power Five team. This logo, if you see this logo, they don’t really know they’re independent – they think they’re related to a Power Five conference.

Although UCF has no tradition, the program has seen success in recent times – including an undefeated season in 2017 – with Gundy highlighting their appeal: “Central Florida has 71,000 students, and they are in a hell of a TV market. They have a hell of a recruiting base and they played some great football.

Tapping into Florida could prove important to the conference when it comes to this recruiting base.

According to 247Sports, eight of the top 50 rookies in this senior class are based in Florida, behind Texas, which is home to 11 of the top 50. The Sun State’s 46 best products are considered four-star or higher prospects.

Cincinnati became a popular place for coaches, before using it as a stepping stone to a more lucrative destination. Since 2004, the Bearcats have enjoyed seven 10-game seasons with coaches like Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly and Butch Jones moving to Michigan State, Notre Dame and Tennessee respectively.

Even Tommy Tuberville had two nine-game winning seasons with Jones’ roster before floundering the last two years at Cincinnati.

Under current coach Luke Fickell, Cincinnati has gone 31-6 over the past three years – with a top 10 in the Associated Press poll last year and starting this season again in the top 10.

“A lot of people live in this part of the country, and this logo has grown in popularity in recent years,” Gundy said of Cincinnati. “They are winning. Winning is important, and a somewhat extended winning period is important, I think, to these people on TV. “

And there’s a familiar face with the latest program we’re talking about.

Houston is home to Dana Holgorsen, who ironically had also left the Big 12 (as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State) only to end up in the league as head coach of Virginia- Western. Now he could find himself in the Big 12 as a head coach in Houston – although it has been a rocky start in South Texas, going 7-14 so far.

“It has a huge market and has been successful,” Gundy said of Houston, which has the eighth-largest television market. “They’re tied into a place in the country that’s huge with high school football – Texas state high school football, everybody’s talking about it.”

Gundy’s underlying theme was the discussion of TV markets for the four potential newcomers to the league, which is understandable given that TV money drives the show.

And the quartet of programs certainly fits the TV markets, each of them making the top 40 in the latest Nielsen chart – No.8 Houston (2.5 million), No.17 Orlando ( 1.7 million), No. 30 Salt Lake City (1.1 million) and No. 36 Cincinnati (925,000).

Compared to the remaining eight Big 12 programs, only TCU in the DFW area – 2.9 million – and Kansas City (which hits Kansas and the state of Kansas) with 986,000 compare to the four new individual markets.

Regardless of how the league shakes – whether it tries to stay together with the inclusion of the four newcomers, whether it happens as early as 2023, or whether it goes its separate ways without having a blue blood football schedule – Gundy focuses on one area when it comes to the future of the state of Oklahoma.


“I don’t mind telling you that we recruited a lot there, and I think if we have schools in this state that are tied to us in everything we do, I think it’s beneficial for this school, ”said Gundy, who added that he thinks the Nebraska program has taken such a big hit in moving to the Big Ten due to the loss of his ties to Texas. “… I don’t want to lose this base. We get the majority of our players within a four hour radius.…

“To people who have asked me if I have an opinion on what I want, I want the people of Texas to be with us because I think it connects us to this TV market, and I think it does. connects us to this recruiting base, that everyone here knows is pretty important. There are a lot of people playing football there, and that gives us numbers to recruit. “

This is probably the same message he delivered to the new President of the State of Oklahoma, Dr. Kayse Shrum, whom Gundy praised during his first months on the job.

“I like our president to be proactive and aggressive. And I love that the conference tries to come up with different ways and means if something happens, ”Gundy said.

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