Blog Entry

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Posted on: August 11, 2011 11:57 pm
Don't look at this Texas A&M thing as conference realignment. Look at it through the stakeholders' eyes.

The stakeholders being ESPN, Oklahoma, A&M and Texas. It's likely that ESPN CEO John Skipper is evaluating at this moment how to maximize his profits through Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas if there is another round of conference shuffling.

Where those schools end up is less important than how the three current Big 12 schools can be profitable for ESPN (and Fox).

Whether or not A&M ends up in the SEC, watch for the Pac-12 to sooner or later take another run at Texas. The Big 12's instability dictates it. Commissioner Larry Scott told the Austin American-Statesman last month after the formation of the Pac-12 network one could "imply" that the Longhorn Network would be a "huge impediment" to Texas joining his league.

How quickly things change -- or possibly change. In a strange way, the Pac-12 could now make it more likely that Texas make the jump if it deems the Big 12 not worth the effort.

"At this point I don't think Larry does anything," one source close to the situation said, "He's got to let it come to him. He's the one who is sitting there with all the firepower. There is no one in a better position to monetize expansion than Larry Scott is. Not the SEC, not the Big East, not the ACC, not the Big 12. He's sitting in the catbird seat."

Why? Because he can. Remember, Scott was the guy who had invited six Big 12 teams, including Texas, last year. Consider it a still-open invitation. One that Texas would have to seriously consider.

One source painted it this way: The new Pac-12 Network is made up of six regional networks. Why couldn't the Longhorn Network be folded into the Pac-12 as a seventh regional network?

The source emphasized that ESPN is desperate to make TLN profitable. It has sunk hundreds of millions into the venture and there is no certainty whether it will work. To date, only the Big Ten Network has been profitable among collegiate networks.

It didn't help Thursday that the NCAA ruled against the televising of high school games on school/conference networks.

There are a few hurdles. Texas supposedly would have to surrender its third-party rights (re: archival, historic properties). But if Texas shows interest, that's nothing more that details. The new Pac-12 shares revenue more or less equally. Again, that can be worked out because it's, well, Texas.

Pac-12 schools would have consider working around those barriers to get the No. 1 revenue-producing athletic department into its conference.

That takes care of Texas. Oklahoma? If A&M bolts, it is seemingly a swing team between the Pac-12 and SEC.

Here's why ESPN would like A&M in the SEC: The Aggies would make ESPN's (and CBS') 15-year, $3 billion deal with the league more profitable. Some at A&M obviously see it as a more stable home.

If the Big 12 crumbles, the Longhorns most likely aren't going to the SEC or Big Ten. Texas has always looked down its nose at the SEC. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds is on record as saying he is against independence.

The Pac-12 makes the most sense for Texas almost because of TLN. It would increase the value of Pac-12 Network as well as increase the value of TLN.

"Something is wrong with your conference," a source said. "when Washington State is getting more from its conference than the University of Texas."

The source was referring to the fact that some Pac-12 projections have the league making $30 million per school once its network gets up and running. Even when the Big 12 renegotiates its primary rights in a couple of years, it is expected to top out at $20 million per year. That was with A&M.

So where does that leave us? Scott and SEC commissioner Mike Slive declined to comment through spokesmen. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe did not return phone and text messages.

But I learned last year during the conference merry-go-round to start with the stakeholders. Last year, it was Texas and Notre Dame. Both stayed in place, minimizing conference realignment.

This year the main players are Oklahoma, Texas and A&M. The question seems to be whether the Big 12 will hold together (with nine schools, or more with new expansion) if A&M leaves. That decision is up to Texas and ESPN (and Fox).

That combination kept the Big 12 together last year. Is the negativity such that the league couldn't go on after the loss of A&M? Is an enhanced SEC and Pac-12 worth more to ESPN than a damaged or non-existent Big 12?

The answers, seemingly, are coming soon. Despite reports that A&M-to-the-SEC was a done deal, it's likely that nothing will be officially decided until the Aug. 22 A&M regents meeting.

While Nebraska was a slam dunk to go to the Big Ten last spring, it wasn't official until AD Tom Osborne and chancellor Harvey Perlman made their official presentation to the regents.

Through an A&M spokesman I was able to determine this much about the process:

--A conference call among the regents is scheduled for Aug. 22. The fiscal year budgets for the entire A&M system will be discussed.

--An agenda has not been published beyond the budget discussions. An official agenda for the meeting will be available 72 hours prior.

--The spokesman would say whether conference membership would be discussed.
Category: NCAAF

Since: Jul 9, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:45 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

The BigXII blew it last year by not going after TCU.  I would've loved to see them make a push for Iowa as well.  I know that is a longshot but it would be a good fit.  Iowa recruits Texas kids so it works for them.  They already play Iowa State every year so that rivalry would remain intact.  Those two schools would easily offset the "loss" of NU and CU.

Since: May 10, 2010
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:35 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Throughout all this, I have been looking for outs for Texas, Tech, OU, OSU, KU and KSU.    I have a feeling that Iowa State might get pulled in the BIG 10 if the ACC beats them to the punch for BIG East Leftovers.   Baylor has always been outclassed and Really Houston should have been the 4th Texas school to make the BIG 12.   Missouri and TAMU are very logical pieces for the SEC to pickup.  

  This makes good sense in the long run...  Texas and Texas Tech along with OU and OSU or KU and KSU becoming the PAC-16 and Missouri, TAMU,  and OU/OSU or KU/KSU (or Houston/TCU) combo to the SEC would be great scenario.    Texas and Texas A&M have been divulging in outlook and culturally for years.   Its folly to say TAMU can not have success in SEC.  They have the money, the facilities, the fanbase and commitment to excel.  (Especially if they hired a top of the line coach).   In the SEC, they would be a great competitor, a great anchor and culturally very similiar to Miss State.  Along with Florida, they would be the research leaders of the Conference.    

Texas has always longed for the left coast.   With some work, TLN could be the Texas Pod of the Pac 10 network.    Ser
iously, its a move that Texas wants, but it would suicide for TAMU to follow into PAC-10.   UT would never go to the SEC as it would be outside culturally and politically, but TAMU fits.  For those individuals that believe Texas and TAMU have to married in a conference are not realistically looking at the institutions as a whole. 

They can still have Thanksgiving traditions like so many do - Florida/FSU, UGA/GA Tech, Clemson/USC.  In a way, it would make the Rivalry mean much more.     

Its really not about wins and losses.   TAMU and Texas can win championships anywhere...  

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:10 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

@Texanbob, if the Big 12 does somehow hold together if A&M leaves, I would see BYU as the team to add. It has a big following and is in a new market for the conference.

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:08 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

@ Ozark, why not add Oxford and Cambridge. I hear they have great rowing teams, and you could tap into the European market. The NFL has talked about expanding into Europe, why not the Pac 12!

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:05 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

As long as Texas and Oklahoma hold together, the Big XII (even with fewer schools, will hold together. I don't see Texas making such a big play to start TLN only to drop it just to join the Pac-12. That whole idea is silly. If A&M leaves, look for the University of Houston to take its place. Same TV market. Same state-supported system. A little less prestige but not that great a sacrifice to hold the conference together.

Since: Apr 8, 2007
Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:56 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Why would we want garbage like Notre Dame and the Navy in the Pac-12? Thats the dumbest way to start a comment thread, I can see why Texas, Oklahoma and A&M would be courted by the Pac-12...if this goes through than Pac-12 would be the top division in the NCAA!

Since: Nov 5, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:53 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

In the SEC, A&M will be as successful as Vanderbilt, minus quality education.

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:34 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Well hell, why don't we just throw Notre Dame and Navy into the Pac-12 as well?

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