Dana Holgorsen is a Big 12 guy. From his humble beginnings in the coaching ranks, Holgorsen cut his teeth in Division II and the FCS level before landing at Texas Tech as an assistant coach.
After coaching the wide receivers and becoming the offensive coordinator with the Red Raiders, Holgorsen also coaching quarterbacks at Oklahoma State with a stop at Houston in between. It was only natural that Holgorsen’s first head coaching job would be at a Big 12 school.
When Holgorsen arrived in Morgantown in 2011, the Mountaineers were still in the Big East Conference. Holgorsen’s successful track record as an offensive guru was supposed to make the transition into the Big 12 smoother and easier to compete for a championship right away.
Here we are five years later, and the Mountaineers are just trying to float around in the middle of the pack. Nonetheless, the WVU football program is where it belongs in a Power Five conference. Seven decades ago, even seven years ago, it would be hard to fathom the Mountaineers in the Big 12, or an conference that’s based in the central time zone.
Times have changed and the Big 12, as a whole, may be changing soon too.
At Big 12 media days in Dallas, commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced the intentions of expanding. When this may occur and how many teams could potentially be involved is still up in there. Questions still abound about what could happen and what the landscape might be. Even though nothing is set in stone, WVU head coach is all for supporting the conference where he’s been solidified for quite some time.
"“I’m in favor of expansion,” Holgorsen said. “I’m on the side of my boss, President (Gordon) Gee, who is in favor of expansion as well. Who? That’s not fair for me to say. There’s a lot of things that go into it that I don’t have knowledge to be able to discuss”"
What Holgorsen does know if that he will be loyal to the conference, for as long as he has been employed by a member school. He does know what’s best for the Big 12 to survive in the ever-evolving world of college sports. With the ACC announcing a multi-million dollar television deal, the Big 12 needs to fight for survival.
Adding more teams would help in that venture.
"“I would like to see two teams added – a good, round number of 12,” Holgorsen said. “I was in the Big 12 for a long time and we had 12. It makes those divisional breakups easier and it makes trying to get a championship game together a little easier as well.”"
That’s another facet which will evolve into feasibility as the Big 12 could add a championship game, with 10, 12 or ,maybe even 14 teams. The “one true champion” moniker of the past two years has drawn scorn and ire. By having a championship game, there true will be one true champion, even though the conference is now built on the notion that each team plays each other once in the regular season, unlike the other top conferences in college football.
"“I think that hurts the teams that are playing from a recruiting perspective and it helps the teams that are playing if it’s a situation where you’re being considered for a College Football Playoff, or a top-tier bowl game,” Holgorsen said. “I think you need to find the best two teams (to play in the championship game) and I have all the confidence in the world with the Big 12 administration and commissioner Bowlsby to figure that out. But I don’t have an answer, and it really doesn’t matter what I think anyway.”"
In the end, Holgorsen does only have his thoughts and desires. He might be a Big 12 loyalist, but he doesn’t have the full power of those in charge.
When Bowlsby and other directors come to a decision on the future of the conference, Holgorsen will certainly support their motives.