I couldn't help thinking of those two words as Louisville capped a stellar year in the two main revenue sports.. I would just like to put into words why I view the Big 12 Conference as a failure in the realignment picture
The Big 12 (Texas, OU and A&M) decided in 2010 the basic purpose of the league's existences was money and convenience. Each member school pocketed a nice chunk of change per year while splitting the Big 12 pie with two fewer mouths. The threat of implosion of the league was truthfully gone albeit for a few months. We fast forward a few months to 2011 and the league announces a new TV deal which promised even more money and the allure of possibly more through Tier 3 rights. Eventually, as we all know, a series of events occurred (the Longhorn Network, rebellion against Dan Beebe, SEC deciding to branch into Texas) Those details truly aren't that important to the story, we all know them. The Big 12 found itself once again in early 2012 looking to find new stability after the departure of A&M and Missouri and the eight remaining schools signed a grant of rights.
The league turned to TCU and West Virginia both fine choices, though West Virginia's geographical fit was a bit outside the box. This is the moment the Big 12 leadership failed it's fans and donors, not in the addition of these two programs, but the decision based out of greed not to expand further. As fans of Oklahoma, we know that truthfully money isn't a major issue for the university and the same can be said for Texas two times over. When you look at it like that the basis to remain at 10 teams was clear: lets have an easier path to the national championship game.
Someone wasn't thinking about this "easier path" stuff, it's inherently more difficult to reach the championship game if you have to play nine other league teams. Oklahoma State discovered this with Iowa State. Kansas State discovered this with Baylor. It's difficult to play nine other Big 12 teams on consecutive weeks. It takes luck to make the MNC game, luck also includes strategy it's easier to make the game if you happen to miss opponents on occasion.
The true failure of the Big 12 conference was letting the SEC get it's foot in the door in Texas recruiting in a major way, with no plans to expand our own recruiting grounds into their neck of the woods. We listened to DeLoss Dodds and his ideas of waiting for Notre Dame and while doing so we watched as the Big Ten and ACC expanded, taking with them valuable markets and strong athletic programs.
Louisville tried desperately to enter the Big 12 and the league passed them by, listening to the words of DeLoss Dodds. With the idea that Notre Dame could be convinced to become a partial member of the Big 12 and that the money would flow like water down a scenic aspen fall. That did not happen, Notre Dame clownshoe'd Dodds and the Big 12, all the while feigning interest in the Big 12, it was negotiating with the ACC. Maryland bounced to the Big Ten because, as we all know, Jim Delaney is not one to sit on his hands while other conferences better themselves (novel concept for our league) and then John Swofford swooped in and landed Louisville.
The Big 12 as it stands now is nine close teams in a small population market (relative to the other leagues) with one wayward member on the east coast. The voices of the leagues maintain they are happy with status quo, although WVU recently made some noise about the travel and now the Big 12 will be more sensitive to them in scheduling.
Bob Bowlsby came in talking a big game, how he wouldn't be used as puppet. How it's not in his nature. I think it's safe to say, with how things have worked out, that's not the case. DeLoss pulls the strings and occasionally lets Joe C. do the same.
The universities of the league have never been richer but the fans and low money donors, which support the league, have been deprived of new experiences, new rivalries and new locations to enjoy. The league has deprived itself of a national championship in basketball and a football program under Charlie Strong that could have greatly enhanced the league. The league has failed to protect it's recruiting territory and hasn't even attempted to acquire more.
That's the failure of the Big 12.