Dick Harmon: Texas A&M's move would come with many questions
PROVO — If Texas A&M leaves the Big 12, and that appears to be on the verge of happening, will BYU be invited to join that BCS conference? Inquiring minds want to know.
Speculation is rampant. Cougar nation is hip-deep in rumors, prognostications, setting stages and creating scenarios.
Speculating on such has becoming an art form.
No wonder BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe made sure to give some time to reporters over the weekend. After standing by BYU president Cecil O. Samuelson on the sidelines of Saturday's football scrimmage, Holmoe waited as reporters talked to coaches and players before putting out the word he would be available to address the topics of the day.
There was really only one topic: What if?
Holmoe played it right out of the book. He said exactly what one would expect from a BYU official when confronted about the possible demise of the Big 12 as we know it.
"We have not been contacted and I will not speculate," Holmoe said.
Answers? Go fish.
Holmoe said BYU is perfectly positioned for this season of independence in football with its new TV partners and association with the West Coast Athletic Conference, and his main priority is preparing for the season-opener at Mississippi.
"We've got a football game to play and that's my main concern."
It was the right approach — regardless of what he knows or does not know about the future of the Big 12 and BYU's interest or lack of interest to wander away from its current business model.
According to the Houston Chronicle and other media in Texas and Oklahoma, Texas A&M is expected to leave the Big 12 for the SEC and an announcement could come very soon.
That alone is big news, but not enough news at present to get BYU worked up about a possible invite.
Why? Because if the Aggies bolt the Big 12, there are plenty of falling pieces that haven't started in motion yet. And speculating where they'll fall is a fool's game.
For instance, if A&M leaves, would the Big 12 look to protect itself and expand or stay at nine schools?
If A&M leaves, would Oklahoma pull out stakes and look to the Big Ten or Big East because the Sooners are also sick and tired of Texas power plays and defections?
If A&M leaves, would Larry Scott swoop down and invite Texas and Oklahoma to a 14-team Pac-12?
Despite quotes to the contrary, that Texas doesn't want to go independent, would the Longhorns do just that?
What would happen to the remaining Big 12 teams if Oklahoma and Texas left for an expanded Pac-12? Would the remaining crew still have BCS status if the BCS decides an expanded SEC or Pac-12 should get an extra BCS berth?
Will any moves in the Big 12 leave other schools ready to test the waters of independence, including Texas and Oklahoma, and would the ACC move to annex Kansas as a basketball power if there is a mass exodus from the Big 12?
If A&M leaves, how much political pressure will there be inside the state of Texas for the Big 12 to engage and invite Big East-bound TCU, Houston or SMU to form another league?
And would the Big 12 turn to Louisville to defect from the Big East for a reorganized Big 12?
If the Big 12 were to expand and had BYU as a prime candidate last year when Colorado and Nebraska defected, why didn't the league move then? Was it because the remaining teams wanted to keep the revenue or was there another reason?
The "if" list could go on an on.
That is why it is wise for BYU to be very cautious right now. It is a time to steady the course and look for stability, not only on its own independent football front, but stability from possible defections and expansions by these other leagues.
You'd look like a fool any other way.
If you beat the drums for independence and bragged how great the WCC partnership is for the past year, is it now honorable to speak out of both sides of the mouth in August 2011? Shouldn't you ride the horse for a while before auctioning it off for another?
But, many diehard BYU fans ask, why not "put out the word" and campaign for admittance to a BCS league? Can't BYU just do that right now? If you are an independent and you have any worth at all, you don't need to troll for attention or acceptance. It's bad form.
If there is movement and an invitation to the Big 12 on the horizon, BYU does have legally binding contracts in place for TV and WWC membership. Is there a buyout clause?
Holmoe's response: "No comment."
So, as the dog days of summer once again catch college football in flux for the second straight August with reporters, fans, athletic directors, coaches and conference commissioners with noses pressed against the window — is this the time for answers? No.
There is too much unknown to go down that path this week.
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