Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville hopes the Big 12 Conference expansion doesn’t stop at one team.
Following Texas A&M’s notice to the league Wednesday that it would end its affiliation with the Big 12 on June 30, 2012, conference officials issued immediate statements mentioning plans to pursue expansion.
League commissioner Dan Beebe’s statement said “the conference will move forward aggressively exploring its membership options.”
Tuberville didn’t hide his feelings about what those options should include.
“I would love for us to get back to 12 (teams),” Tuberville said. “I like the eight (conference) games that you play and then a conference championship game. I would hope that’s what we’re looking for.
“Obviously, we’re going to have to add one. I don’t know who that would be. Nobody’s going to ask us (coaches). They’re going to go out and pick whoever, but if we’re going to add one, we might as well go ahead and add three and get back to eight (conference) games and a conference championship game.”
Tech’s second-year head coach said any move aligning the Red Raiders with a super conference — such as the hypothetical Pac-16 — isn’t necessarily his preference.
“I’m a traditionalist,” he said. “I’m not a young guy in this business. I kind of like conference affiliation, the tradition, fans being able to have an opportunity to have a few close games. (If) you start going to bigger leagues with 14 or 16, there’s going to be a lot of travel games that fans won’t be able to go to — and students. So I’d like to keep it as personal as we can with teams.”
Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie, who coached at Texas A&M from 2004-07, isn’t concerning himself too much with situations beyond his control.
In fact, Gillispie said he didn’t even know the Aggies had given the conference notice until a media session in the late afternoon Wednesday.
“As far as I know, we still have A&M in our schedule and that’s in the Big 12,” Gillispie said. “I don’t know. We’re concentrating on trying to get better today. Those kind of things, whatever happens around us, we’ll react to that when we need to.”
All signs indicate the Aggies will move to the Southeastern Conference, a league Tuberville and Gillispie know well.
Tuberville coached at Mississippi from 1995-98 and at Auburn from 1999-2008. Gillispie was at Kentucky from 2007-09.
Teams from the SEC have won the BCS national championship in each of the last five years. Tuberville said he thinks the Aggies will “do fine,” in the SEC, but will face an adjustment period.
“I’ve been there, done that for 15 years. That’s a different league,” Tuberville said. “Not that it’s any tougher than this league, it’s just different — different mentality. I had my withdrawal pains coming over here last year going from one conference to another, trying to learn people and the speed of the game and what people do, so that’ll be their biggest problem. But we wish them well.”
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