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Mike Gundy's comments on the Big 12 underscore the conference's biggest problem

Mike Gundy

I don't know what it will take to save the Big 12. I have my ideas though, but that's all they are. I question whether Cincinnati and BYU can solve any of the league's problems, and I think a conference title game would create as many problems as it solves. I think a television network was a much better idea in 2006 than 2016, though I applaud the Big 12 for at least pursuing one.

Again, I don't know how to save the Big 12.

Mike Gundy doesn't, either.

Gundy spoke with Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports on Monday and espoused ideas parroted by every barber shop and message board between Des Moines and Brownsville.

“If we don't eliminate the Longhorn Network and create our own network, they're going to continue to have issues with this league,” Gundy told CBS. "You don't have a Big 12 Network; you have a network within the league that people consider a failure.”

He continued: “You are getting the SEC Network, and you are getting the Big Ten Network and you are getting the Pac[-12 Network],” Gundy said. “Until we come together as a group [and] find a financial solution to eliminating the Longhorn Network, [there will be issues].”

Gundy made waves because he was the first coach to speak out on the league's issues, but he has illustrated a larger issue within the league: every time someone from the Big 12 steps in front of a microphone, they're reminding the entire nation of the conference's problems.

The SEC inflated itself to the gorilla that it is today in large part because it spent years and years pounding its chest incessantly, telling everyone who'd listen just how scary it really was. The Big Ten is an old money conference that fashions itself as the Ivy League of the Power Five.

And the Big 12 is a walking inferiority complex that can't even agree on what problems it has.

Perception isn't reality, but it informs reality. And the two conference whole stole the Big 12's lunch money the last time around perceptions -- SEC as chest-pounding gorilla, Big Ten as the Monopoly man in a smoking jacket with a cigar in one hand and a scotch in the other -- helped created the reality that the Big 12 still hasn't reconciled with, nearly half a decade later.

I don't know if changing the way the Big 12 talks about itself will fix the Big 12. But it can't hurt.