Dean’s Take: OU, Texas Drive Big 12 Football Decision

Tuesday, August 11th 2020, 5:47 pm

With the Pac-12 following the Big 10’s decision to postpone playing college football until next spring, all eyes are on the Big 12.

The league is likely the swing vote with the SEC and ACC sounding committed to playing in the fall.

The Power 5 conferences are expected to fall by a 3-to-2 vote either way. A 5 p.m. call with Big 12 presidents is expected. No answer on whether a final and potentially game-defining decision will be announced after they meet.

The Big 12 presidents have been reportedly “split” on whether to play. Looks to me like the Big 12 will ultimately be in the “play” category if for no other reason than its unequivocal power brokers in Oklahoma and Texas have indicated they want to play.

One source told me, “there’s no split Big 12 vote because if OU and Texas don’t get what they want they should immediately bail for the SEC.”

Yahoo is reporting there is “increasing sentiment” that the Big 12 wants to play. Not surprisingly, I’m told the SEC is all but “begging the Big 12 to stay committed.”

An OU source made the point that he doesn’t see how the “risk to these people is reduced by not playing football. The biggest point we should be making is to the general student population to mask and distance.”

He also made the point some major players including Nick Saban have made saying, “…we’ve proven that being here in our care is the best place for them.”

Head Coach Lincoln Riley and his Sooners have been successful – maybe the most successful – of any program in America in avoiding positive COVID-19 tests. Both players and coaches. This is quite remarkable, but not to those who’ve come to expect Riley to be on the proactive side of challenges.

In sum, the Big 12 has taken more if its share of cheap shots throughout the years from fans and media. And I guess until the league wins the College Football Playoff that sentiment could continue.

However, as we sit here Tuesday afternoon on what could turn out to be ‘D-Day’ for 2020 football in the fall, it’s the Big 12 sitting center stage. And more specifically, it could literally come down to the decisions of the Red River Rivals.