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Blog Entry

Factors facing Texas

Posted on: May 11, 2010 7:39 am

Early reports are that four schools have received "Golden Tickets" from the Big Ten in Norte Dame, Missouri, Nebraska, and Rutgers. Three of those schools are certain to accept membership after lobbying publicly for inclusion; leaving Norte Dame weighing whether to stay independent in football or join the Big Ten. While there will be countless people going back and forth talking about Norte Dame as the 15th Big Ten team, even if Norte Dame say no initially there is a way they still might feel forced to the table once the other shoe drop.

As currently constructed the Big 12 have 6/7 schools that does the heavy lifting for the others. Losing two of the bread winners will be devastating to the Big 12. Nebraska rely on its national profile, Missouri as the second largest state in the conference bring different but tangible benefits to the conference as well. Texas does a majority of the heavy lifting in Big 12, but there is no way to replace asset like those. True it is two less hands in the pot, but the secondary games by the conference is going to be worth less. A Big 12/Pac 10 partnership does not fix the issue, because even if a mega deal was to happen Texas still have to split a portion of it with teams that it feels does not feel deserve it.

By taking two Big 12 teams, the Big 10 has forced the Longhorns to consider searching for a new home. Intent on keeping their stranglehold over college football, there are some factors that Texas has to consider before acting.

- Do we have the wiggle room politically to do whatever we want or is our hand going to be forced?

- Playing the low profile teams of the the Big 12 is beneficial to the record book and increase chances of BCS Bowl games, but being a big fish in a little pond will not work in the long term if the program is to grow revenue.

- Could we even attempt to move without Texas A&M

- Moving with Texas A&M would increase the dollars from new tv contract, and it helps locally if there is some type of cable network.

- Moving without Texas A&M would invite a new power conference to the recruiting grounds.

- The Red River Game is too lucrative for all parties involved and it will continue regardless of conference setup. Does the Sooners being in a different conference hurt the Longhorns interest?

- Would it be possible to bring the Sooners in a move without including OK state. Would a weak Oklahoma help Texas?

- Can we be successful as an independent? < Of all the options facing Texas this is the one that nobody talks about, it could be viable depending on how they schedule. >

After looking at the landscape it is easy to see that it is the Longhorns best interest to leave the Big 12 if they are able to convince Texas A&M to join them. The advantages over conference mates that the Longhorns currently have will disappear if the school move to the ultra-competitive SEC, the heavy hitters in the SEC would have no problem matching Texas check for check in spending or athlete for athlete on the field. Without a doubt that will bring in the most new money, but balancing that against the major drawbacks of potentially more loses and recruiting battles in Texas and forgoing it for a safer future might be best.

If determine to leave the Big 12 that leaves them with two options look west in the Pac-10 or shock the world and head east to the ACC. I realize it is kind of shocking to mention the ACC but the ACC should be considered as promising for the Longhorms as the PAC 10. No there is LA market in the ACC, but the ACC has 4 private schools which mean small fan bases little threat (Miami is able to overcome this by the sheer volume of players within 20 miles).

Austin is smack dab in the middle of the country and it is just as far away from Seattle as it is from Boston.
ACC schools (closer) (1 school over 2000 miles away, everyone else 1500 miles or less) <1 time zone away>
PAC 10 schools (4 schools over 2000 miles away, 2 schools over 1700 miles away) < 2 time zones away>

The ACC generates more revenue per team. Per team the numbers is over $4 million more to ACC teams than Pac 10.

Currently at 12 teams, the ACC is not looking to expand but depending on the response from overtures from the SEC there might be a deflection or two (Maryland going to the Big Ten is possible, it makes a lot of sense for Maryland, but I think it is doubtful). Texas and A&M might seem like a pipe dream for the ACC, but if you look at Texas options other than joining the SEC there is not one that is not comparative to joining the ACC.

The next 18 months will be interesting.

Category: NCAAF
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