Now that Big 12 Conference alignment is over for the foreseeable future, there is no time like the present for the remaining North Division members to get more competitive. Yes, they will have Nebraska and Colorado to play against at least one more year, but after that, no more divisions.
Basketball should not be a problem as Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri have fielded decent to outstanding teams in the recent past. But football is a different story. The north teams better do more than just show up in the coming years.
Talk up north in the old Big 12 seemed to center on whether your school played Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M etc. in a particular season. The reasoning was if you didn't play those schools, you had a chance for a successful season and possibly a high-tier bowl game. If you did oppose those teams, expectations were lowered to take that into consideration.
Nebraska was about the other north team making noise against its southern brethren. Oh sure, Kansas and Missouri had a 1-2 year run but that was it. But with the Big 12 scaled down to ten teams, it appears each school will place nine league games each year. Thus, no ducking teams.
I appreciate Iowa State coach Phil Rhoads sentiments. He said he welcomed playing the consistent tougher competition and that recruits liked it too. I would think players and coach would enjoy measuring themselves against the best. Again, there is nothing wrong with beating a weak opponent 35-0, but wouldn't a team enjoy it more to play Oklahoma a 21-17 game?
So memo to the north teams: start playing like champions and don't become afraid of the Goliaths in the new Big 12 Conference.