I think John Shinn was right when he tweeted the following yesterday afternoon:
We have a much more detailed version of his impressions via the Tulsa World article that was published a few hours ago. I recommend watching the 3 minute video as well ... it does address some issues not specifically mentioned in the text:
Some salient points:
First, don't expect an announcement next week ... but expect a timetable to be set (internally set of course ... but maybe TuxedoYoda will leak it to us all or something)
Next, all the Big12 Presidents are at least open to the idea of expansion:
"I truly think that nearly all the presidents, maybe all the presidents to a certain degree, have an open mind about this, and I think we will, I hope, put it on some kind of a timetable.”
Here's a key quote:
“Not every school in America is available. They’re already in other Power 5 conferences and so on. There are some other schools around the country that are not in Power 5 conferences that have not given grants of rights that are fairly attractive. We’re doing in-depth looks at each one of them to get all the data. What’s their fan base? What economic impact would they be? If we added them, would it dilute the soup or would it make the soup thicker, so to speak, for all the remaining members of the conference?”
So, from that we can first conclude that they weren't looking at "who" yet or vetting specific candidates because they haven't decided the "if" of expansion. In that link I argue that Boren has Bowlsby on-board to go towards expansion with a main goal of somehow folding in the LHN into the new BigXII Network.
Next, he mentions: "What's their fan base?" with a follow up on the related "economic impact." Is there anyone who could argue that there is any non-P5 school that beats out BYU's fan base and related economic impact? Score one point for BYU in the expansion game.
One thing that has me so frustrated and angry at TCU is that they defnitely "diluted the BigXII soup" by coming in, but are now saying "Ten is a beautiful number" and don't want to expand. Hopefully, as a new kid on the block, they can be shamed into shutting up and falling in line by some of their bigger brothers on this one. The sheer hypocrisy of their current position is laughable.
Next ... CB needs to stop arguing that Cecil, Tom, Kevin did not and/or are not "shopping BYU" to the BigXII:
“Candidates have been politicking for three, four, five or six years. I get binders from other presidents I know, saying I want you to see what we’re doing athletically. I want you to see what we’re doing in academics and research. We’d be such a great fit with the Big 12. We definitely have schools that are constantly lobbying us. At one time, Louisville was a prime opportunity. I was all for it. But there weren’t the votes there to do it at the time. So they went elsewhere. “
The last phrase is downright scary IMO. Who wouldn't have voted to add Louisville? Especially with WVU just added. This has me worried that just a couple of stupid holdout member schools could "blackball" BYU and leave us pining for inclusion for years to come.
However, Boren would not list any names. When asked if there were schools no one was talking about that could emerge, he said reporters probably were already speculating on the right six or seven schools.
Boren: “There are a lot of schools. The Big 12, for everything I’ve said about wanting to strengthen it and prove its long-range effectiveness and long-term effectiveness, the Big 12 is a very attractive conference. There are a lot of schools that want to be in the Big 12 that are in other conferences and other circumstances.”
So BYU is definitely on their list since he specifically mentions "other circumstances" as a sepreate point to "other conferences." We have NOT been ruled out as a possibility as many of the most extreme pessimists of CB have said.
And here comes the highpoint of the article if you're a BYU fan:
If the Big 12 expands, it would be looking for schools that are academically and athletically strong with good fan bases. Boren said candidates would need to be additive and not dilutive to media negotiations. He was asked if big markets would fit the Big 12 profile.
Boren: “Bigger markets are not necessarily bad, no, because they’re more likely to be additive if you have a good market presence. And there are different ways to have market presence. Notre Dame is in South Bend, Indiana, but it’s got a market presence all over the United States through the Catholic church and so on. There are schools that have a broad-market appeal, not just in geographic areas.”
So he doesn't seem to praise getting big markets just because they're big and even adds the qualifier that you have to "have a good market presence" within that big market (code for "Hey shut-up TCU, you're only the #3-4 team in your own hometown" and "Don't get your hopes up Houston".) Then he spends a fair amount of time pretty much saying "Hey, BYU is a national brand ... a smaller scale Notre Dame." He does say "schools" and not just "there is A school" ... but I'm not losing any sleep over that.
And then there's this rambling portion where we get a glimpse at just how dysfunctional the current BigXII family is.
Would there be roadblocks to expansion?
Boren: “To some people, just because they’re worried about who. It’s really interesting. There are different presidents, for different reasons, that don’t want to add. And if they think we’re gonna add ‘em … there are differences of opinions among the presidents. But again, it’s like this transition to a Big 12 network, I think we can talk all that out. We’re not gonna force anybody … into the conference.”
Quite honestly, this factor is the wild-card that has me terrified. One powerful grudge-holder (TCU), along with one well-positioned bigot (??? ... I'm definitely not naming names), and one selfish egomaniac (UT and their LHN) could destroy this whole bright future for BYU in the BigXII. My only hope is that these obvious hold-outs can be either shamed, coerced, or negotiated with to bring them on board. Their future success and stability may be on the line just as much as BYU's will be.