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Beyond the Fort: CFB expansion sadness, a fight for Dallas, and more

While everybody else is wrapped around the NFL draft, let’s talk about some Big 12 housekeeping matters.

Big 12-Media-Days-Mailbag-2018-TCU Football Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It’s here. It’s the final Thursday of April, which can only mean one thing: Draft day.

No doubt, the start of the 2019 NFL Draft is at the forefront of all sports headlines today. But let’s not all get lost in that hoopla, because there are some noteworthy updates — as it pertains to the Big 12 — that you’ll probably want to be in on too.

If you’re trying to jumble through all the commotion, fear not: You’ve come to the right place. Let’s get you caught up on all the latest happenings as it pertains to the world of college sports.

Sweet dreams, CFP expansion

If you were hoping to see the College Football Playoff expand to six teams in the near future, I have some bad news for you: That won’t be happening. In fact, don’t even count on that happening in the long-haul either.

FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick are wrapping up spring CFB meetings in nearby Las Collinas Thursday, and the early reports are that expansion is not in the cards — with the four-team format likely set to stay put through the end of the current contract in 2026.

Translation: Congratulations SEC and ACC. Keep enjoying the eight-game conference schedule while the others — the Big 12 among them — continue to potentially risk cannibalizing their playoff chances with an admittedly tougher 9-game conference slate, 10 for the conference champion. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby reiterated Thursday, and rightfully so, that it’s a factor that needs to be accounted for when selecting the teams.

“We think it’s a harder path (for us) so it ought to have value,” Bowlsby said.

Recently, things have worked out well for the Big 12, earning a bid in the form of Oklahoma each of the past two seasons. The same can’t be said for the Big Ten and Pac-12, both on the outside looking in for back-to-back years. Of course, there are no guarantees that things will continue to stay that way as teams hit their peaks and valleys.

Regardless, take a moment of silence for Mike Leach and his 64-team playoff proposal — and those with far more reasonable ones as well.

SEC vs. Big 12 Media Days battle on deck<?

Love us some media days drama, right? We could be heading for that in 2020, with Dallas now identified by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey as one of the candidate cities to host the league’s football media days next summer. The Big D isn’t the only Texas town in the running either, with San Antonio and Houston also confirmed as candidates.

So, is the Big 12 — having already claimed its media days stake in DFW long ago — thrilled about the SEC potentially encroaching on its territory? Probably not. On a related note, Big 12 Media Days, for the first time ever, are being hosted at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, so don’t consider it a complete coincidence that the league would move its annual mid-July gathering to one of the most grand venues that football has to offer. Also, it’s not too hard to see what the SEC is trying to accomplish either when it’s considering a city that — checks notes — has zero member schools with 150 miles.

At the end of the day, odds are the SEC will venture closer to a gulf city — perhaps Houston or New Orleans — once the announcement is presumably made at this year’s media days in Hoover, Ala. Regardless, this should be fun saga to monitor.

An ill-timed hiccup for Kyler Murray

It may seem obvious that an Oklahoma quarterback is bound to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft for a second consecutive spring. Or is it?

Well, things are getting a tad interesting for Kyler Murray, to say the least. And the latest development has nothing to do with his playing abilities, but perhaps his commitments, as the 2018 Heisman winner was reportedly a no-show for a charity event Wednesday ahead of the draft.

So what exactly happened? Who really knows, but Murray acknowledged his absence, citing “he had other places to be” — not a brilliant look by any means. That’s not to mention that Murray’s odds of being first off the board have dropped from -1200 to -400 in the past week at FanDuel New Jersey.

So, you know the drill. Tune in at 7 p.m. CT to see what happens with Mr. Murray as a cloud of uncertainty suddenly starts to build.