By Tony George
As the dominos continue to fall in the wake of Colorado leaving for the PAC 10, and Nebraska to the Big 10, both official moves now departing the Big 12, I have a dilemma. I have spent the better part of my career as a sports handicapper spending a great deal of time and effort learning and knowing the Big 12 conference, and its teams both in football and basketball. It is well documented as to my affiliation with the Nebraska program, not only as an alum, but doing radio for 8 years in Lincoln as an announcer, color analyst, nightly 2 hour talk show co-host of Average Joe Sports Show with ESPN, and of course my own show. I had numerous opportunities to interview and meet coaches in all sports from the Big 12 conference, their SID’s, and PR departments. It always provided insight into upcoming games and gave me as good as an edge as anyone in the USA in the handicapping arena pertaining to Big 12 action.
Sadly, being deemed as a Big 12 Expert will only last this next season. I understand as of today, Texas, OU, Texas Tech and Okie State are all considering the PAC 10 as well, Texas AM and Baylor will fall in line or miss the gravy train I understand, although Texas AM is leaning to SEC (good luck there Aggies!). At the annual Big 12 presidents meeting a while back, all 6 southern schools in the Big 12 DID CONFIRM they had informal talks about joining the PAC 10. Missouri had expressed interest, not only from the Athletic Department but from their Governor Jay Nixon, a strong desire to join the Big 10 which apparently has not panned out for them. Nebraska to protect their interests in long term stability, reached out to the Big 10 and a deal was struck.
Nebraska did not initiate or break up the conference, many schools were talking to not 1 conference but 3 at once, and were asking the Huskers to commit to the Big 12 at the same time, and NU was having no part of it. Lots of haters including Mizzou and Texas folks, but I think they are more upset about missing the boat and not being proactive, so they point fingers and call the Husker Nation disloyal. Nebraska is loyal to the taxpayers, fans, and student athletes of the fine state of Nebraska, where their track record and tradition of winning, and being perceived as a national power has never been question.
Now it is time to brush up on the Big 10, and specialize in it, head first so to speak. I have great sources at some Big 10 schools and some cappers who know this conference inside and out, and I have reached out to them already. The Big 12 schedule IS IN TACT for 2010 and I will commit my last year to continued profits in the Big 12, as I go for 8 straight winning years in the Big 12 conference BOTH in football and basketball. My learning cap is on, as I have entire year to get up to speed on Big 10 schools, their depth, coaching styles, key talent players at skill positions, their offensive and defensive styles, and follow their recruiting. That is what it takes to single out a conference and build success in winning games, more times than not as a specialty conference. You will see because of this, a push from me in terms of Big 10 releases both in football and Hoops this year.
So the tab “Big 12 Expert” expires in about 14 months, and Big 10 Specialist will apply after that. While you can ride the coattails of seasons past for only so long, my track record in Big 10 games the past few years has been good, but not my specialty. The moniker of Expert has to be earned. I will go out with a loud bang in 2010 in the Big 12, and roar into the Big 10 in 2011 with a full head of steam. If the PAC 10 decides to take all the southern schools, at least 4 of them, you will see me making more plays out of the PAC 10, and that is a conference I do a great deal of capping in as well. The landscape is changing, and so am I.