Blog Entry

What The Longhorn Network means to the BCS

Posted on: January 19, 2011 7:37 pm

It wasn't a surprise, this ESPN/Texas deal. Not the money, not the partner, not the length. The Longhorn Network -- or whatever you want to call it -- was announced Wednesday, a deal worth $300 million over the next 20 years.

Somewhere in there they managed to remind us that "campus musical performances" would also be televised and you had to chuckle. Sure, TLN will fund some other areas -- half the money in the first five years will go to the university -- but at its core this about Texas controlling the market, the Big 12, the universe.

It's about power -- just like the BCS, which got me to thinking. We all know that our beloved postseason system is leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table by ignoring a playoff. The commissioners would rather control the system than profiti more by it.

The Texas deal, though, should be a sign. A modest Plus-One playoff (four teams) can, and should, be in college football's future. I wrote about it on the day of the BCS championship game.

I asked BCS executive director Bill Hancock directly why the BCS couldn't enter into its own long-term agreement with a rights holder. Hancock said" "Don't kid yourself. The bowls would suffer." To loosely quote the conclusion in the book, "Death To The BCS", that's B.S. A Plus-One could be locked in for 15, 20, 25 years. The BCS fathers could expand it, shrink it, dump it. The point being that the BCS commissioners, like Texas, control the system so it's theirs to manipulate.

"Everybody we do business with, we do long-term stuff with them," Texas AD DeLoss Dodds told me Wednesday. "We find somebody we like and put some length on it."

As for the BCS doing a long-term Plus-One agreement, I asked Dodds about that too.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "You have to get the Rose Bowl past where they are."

The Big Ten-Pac-12-Rose Bowl blockade of an expanded postseason is not insignificant. But, remember, we once thought something like the BCS was impossible because the Big Ten and Pac-10 did not want to give up their exclusivity to the Rose Bowl. On Jan. 1, TCU of the Mountain West won in Pasadena. There goes some of that exclusivity.

TLN is such a game-changer that Texas is now essentially competing as an independent. It has a contract with ESPN. It has scheduling agreement with the nine other teams in the Big 12. The conference could go away but Texas/ESPN won't. Dodds swears his will stay loyal to the reconstituted 10-team Big 12, but for how long? It was within a heartbeat of jumping to the Pac-10 last summer.

"If something happened and the Big 12 would dissolve in some way -- which would not be caused by us because we're not going to do that -- who would take us with our network?" Dodds asked. "That's a question in my mind and I assume someone would."

Yeah, somehow poor, old Texas would scrape by.

Control. Security. It's something the BCS should think about. A four-team Plus-One solves a lot of problems. It would produce a more legitimate champion. It would take care of, in most years, all the undefeated teams at the top. For example, this year we're still wondering about how TCU would match up against Auburn.

It would move the access argument from between the No. 2- and No. 3-ranked teams to No. 4 and No. 5. That actually would mean less of an argument. That also would equal a better football postseason

We'd have Texas to thank for the template. The Horns rule. Literally.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Dec 6, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2011 9:14 am

What The Longhorn Network means to the BCS

100% correct on your analysis!

Read in the Tulsa World, quoting the Sports Business Journal on 12/20/10, that OU is Close to signing a Network deal with Cox Cable and Fox Sports.

Read an A&M Blog.  They are PISSED. Some Aggies wonder why the school did not jump to the SEC last summer.

Again, Good Take!

I will look for your comments in the future.

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2011 6:33 am

What The Longhorn Network means to the BCS

Is Texas becoming the New York Yankees of college football? $$$$$$$$

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2011 2:52 am

What The Longhorn Network means to the BCS

I guess the Longhorns weren't so sure about staying in conference last summer otherwise at least Nebraska would still be in the conference. What a silly move that was. They could have added TCU and the conference would have looked even stronger. Oh well, at least Texas wins.

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:55 pm

What The Longhorn Network means to the BCS

Why would Texas want to leave the Big 12(or whatever it will be renamed to)?  They get all of the advantages of being in a BCS conference with the money and freedom of an independent.  Why would they want join another conference and have to share their riches?  The only way the Big 12 dies in the near future is if for some reason OU and Texas A&M decide to go to the SEC, which is possible, but I don't see as likely to happen.

Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2011 8:24 pm

What The Longhorn Network means to the BCS

I'm skeptical that the Rose Bowl is the thing keeping a plus-one or--gasp--a real playoff from happening.  Every quote of Hancock's for the last year has been a giant cup of lies.  Hey, Hancock, what are you comments about TCU's perfect season?  We're all dying to know what snake oil line you'll give us for that one.  Any bets on which lucky team is going to get left out in the cold this year?

Congrats for Texas on the network, but if I were Iowa State, I'd be getting nervous right about now.  Baylor, on the other hand?  Don't worry!  You've got Texas's best politicians in your corner!  Also, why is Kansas tagged?  Trying to bump them up the list, huh?  Don't they get tagged enough in Parrish's blog?

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