Jerry Jones has denied reports that he has been discussing a possible move to the Big 12 with Arkansas and Notre Dame. It should be noted that Jones himself did not publicly deny the rumors. In each instance Jones’ denial came from Dallas Cowboys team officials.
The owner of the Dallas Cowboys should have a vested interest in what happens with the Big 12 so it is not a surprise to hear that Jones could possibly be talking with prospective Big 12 members that have a big name. Cowboys Stadium is in-line to host the Big 12 championship game through at least 2013, but with the Big 12 currently sitting with ten teams after the recent departures of Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac 10 it remains unknown what the future of the Big 12 championship game has in store. The NCAA requires that a conference have 12 football teams in order to hold a conference championship game, although a conference could petition for an exception that would likely be approved. For Jones to lose the Big 12 championship game in his lavish stadium would be a minor blow for the multi-billionaire, but Jones would like to keep the game alive for sure.
Even though Jones has apparently denied the reports, they make perfect sense. Jones is an Arkansas alum and played on the 1964 national championship team, earning all-Southwest Conference honors as an offensive lineman. His oldest son, Stephen, graduated from Arkansas. He has always liked the chance to bring Arkansas players to the Cowboys when possible. Arkansas would be the most ideal candidate in terms of geography when it comes to expanding the Big 12, and Jones knows it.
That is why it is also believable that somebody with some clout representing the Big 12 would approach Notre Dame. The Irish, from South Bend, Indiana, may not be the school you would think would join the Big 12, but for any conference looking to make a big splash, Notre Dame is the school to pursue. The question is, if Notre Dame has turned down the Big Ten on multiple occasions, what would twist their arm to go to any other conference? If and when Notre Dame decides the time has come to join a conference and leave their football Independence behind, the Big Ten or Big East would be the most likely destinations.
Arkansas has confirmed their committment to the SEC, for what it is worth.
Big 12 to become Texas 6 and Friends?
If Jones is not talking with Arkansas and Notre Dame about joining the Big 12, then Texas lawmakers will continue with their efforts to have Houston join the conference instead. On the heels of the University of Houston unveiling plans for a new $120 million football stadium Texas House representatives Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) and Bill Callegari (R-Katy) led a delegation of 26 who signed a letter of endorsement for the school to be added to the Big 12.
“For years, UH has served as the academic cornerstone of a burgeoning metropolis known for its nexus to state, national, and global commerce and culture,” the letter said. “UH is the third largest university in Texas, and is on track to rank among the top research universities in this state. Despite UH’s local and statewide prominence, the university does not belong to a strong BCS conference such as the Big 12. The Cougars, the City of Houston, and the State of Texas deserve better.”
Houston, like Arkansas, was a former conference rival of Texas and Texas A&M in the old Southwest Conference. The same delegation also is pushing for the Big 12 to consider an invite to TCU, from the Mountain West, although there have been no strong reports indicating that the Big 12 has looked at TCU.
If the Big 12 did add Houston and TCU it would give the conference six teams six teams in the state of Texas (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor).
For the latest college football discussion be sure to subscribe for updates via e-mail up above. Just click on the Subscribe button at the top of this post! Also be sure to follow Kevin on Twitter and Google Buzz become a fan on Facebook!
Follow me on Twitter
College Football Examiner on Facebook