We're starting to get a clearer picture of the momentous decision Missouri has to make.
The school could make as much as $12 million more per year in the SEC according to this Monday Associated Press story.
The AP obtained the document that was shown to the school's board of curators last week. It contains details about academics but the juicy stuff is the money. As reported previously, Missouri would face a significant exit fee if it leaves for the 2012 season. The document pointed out Missouri would make approximately $2 million less in revenue staying in the Big 12 compared to the average SEC school in fiscal 2012 ($19.25 million-$17.16 million).
The real money is in the future where the SEC is two years into its 15-year, $3 billion deal with ESPN and CBS. At issue seems to be how that additional $12 million could be made.
I talked to multiple TV sources who could come up with, at most, an $8 million-$10 million increase for Missouri. That includes the extra money gained from the SEC title game. Also, there is normal yearly escalation in the contract that is currently paying that $19 million per year to SEC members.
The document could be referring to the back end of that 15-year deal. Typically, long-term contracts are "back-ended" where an escalating amount of money is paid at the end of the deal. That's one of the reasons why CBS partnered with TBS and Turner on a new NCAA tournament basketball deal. It was easier to redo the deal than to pay the bigger rights fees at the end of the old contract.
The other possibility is a much-discussed "SEC Network". Technically, that's the description of the current ESPN deal that distributes the conference across multiple platforms. What's being speculated, though, is a new revenue generator -- a bundling of the conference's third-tier rights to form a new cable entity. That theoretically would include one non-conference game from each school.
Each SEC school gets the rights to that one a year to telecast on a pay-per-view basis. The conference would have to negotiate to reclassify those rights so that they could be bundled.
As far as a windfall for the SEC by merely expanding to 14 teams, slow down. I'm told that the increase in revenue would be negligible. Remember, that additional revenue from expansion would be a negotiation. If the parties (ESPN, CBS) can't come to an agreement with the SEC on a new number then the issue goes to arbitration.
ESPN and CBS will rightly argue that they're already in Texas, where the SEC already does well in the ratings. The SEC will counter that it has added value. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said Monday he doubted the $12 million figure, adding that Missouri will be a Big 12 member for 2012-13.
Neinas said for Missouri to gain an extra $12 million per year, the SEC would have to increase their TV revenue by $168 million.
Missouri never seems to be able to do anything privately when it comes to these matters. Remember, it was Gov. Jay Nixon who is blamed by many for touching off this latest round of realignment. There have been dueling "leaks" starting with an anonymous Missouri official last week saying that the Big Ten was the school's first choice.
Monday's AP story seems to counter that by stating how rich Missouri could become by moving. In the end, it points up how divided Missouri is on the subject. There is no clear consensus. Does the SEC want that?
Missouri is obviously concerned about the instability of the Big 12. The league is basically guaranteed to stay together for only the next six years. The SEC could be a lifetime decision.
The Big 12's newest head coach already has some advice for Missouri.
"Stay in the Big 12," TCU's Gary Patterson said. "It's a better fit. Same with me as far as [speculation about] taking jobs. I know what my plusses and minuses are here. Everybody thinks it's going to be a better place if they change conferences."
Is Texas soft?
The question has been asked so often -- accusingly -- over the years that it is part of the Longhorn hater's talking points. But the issue has come up again this week as the depth and breadth of Texas' loss to Oklahoma starts to settle in.
Saturday's 38-point win was the largest for Oklahoma in the Red River series since 2003 and the fifth-largest margin in the history of the rivalry. OU had eight sacks for 84 negative yards, 113 yards in tackles for loss. Texas' 259 total yards was three more than OU had in sacks, tackles for loss and fumble/interception returns. Defensive end Frank Alexander had a career day with three sacks, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, a quarterback hurry and six total tackles.
"This was my last one," Alexander said. "I wanted to go out with a bang."
"It's not like we were playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, right?" Bob Stoops said.
That's to be debated. Any encouragement Texas got from starting 4-0 had to be diminished as the Horns go into the Oklahoma State game. One Dallas columnist went back to a season preview magazine to one of those quotes from an anonymous coach sizing up Texas before 2011.
"The guys they are taking are good-character kids, and good for them. But they don’t' get a lot of kids who have overcome a lot of adversity. How tough are they?"
We're about to find out. Mack Brown is 13-0 in games immediately following Oklahoma.
Did the state of Florida just detach from the United States?
Seems that way. It's clear that something is wrong in the Sunshine State. There was no team from the state in the top 25 for the first time since 1982. But there are rational reasons. Miami and Florida have new coaches. Florida State has been on a downturn for a decade.
What's new? Nothing much in the SEC. LSU and Alabama continue to be two of the most dominant teams in the country. Florida just got done playing them back-to-back.
"You can't get any tougher than LSU and Alabama," former Auburn coach Pat Dye said.
Miami was hurt by suspensions. It will be hurt by coming NCAA penalties in the Nevin Shapiro case. Florida State is the biggest surprise, rather disappointment. After the hype leading up to the Oklahoma game, the Seminoles have been one of the biggest underachievers of the season.
It will get fixed. All three schools won't be down for long. Florida has tremendous injury problems at quarterback. Miami has lost to Maryland, Kansas State and Virginia Tech by a combined 15 points.
Mike Stoops can now be himself. Expect Arizona's just-fired coach to surface quickly as an assistant somewhere. His name has already been attached to Kansas which is dead last in total defense.
KU would owe sitting coach Turner Gill the $6 million left on his contract if it fired him after this season. In one of the biggest potential boat races of the season, Kansas hosts No. 3 Oklahoma Saturday night.
Bob Stoops said he would be willing to hire his younger brother: "Sure, if I got enough money to. He's going to have a lot of opportunities. I know that."
One more on Arizona: AD Greg Byrne got out ahead of the competition by making the move on Mike Stoops in midseason. If nothing else, he can pursue a successor with a clear conscience without sneaking around behind his coach's back.
That puts Arizona ahead of UCLA, among others, which has a decision to make on Rick Neuheisel.
TCU AD Chris Del Conte admits that his program's inclusion into the Big 12 gives it a boost in recruiting against in-state big brother Texas. But as Patterson pointed out, the coach was already recruiting against Texas in some instances.
Del Conte, in a strange way, reiterated Patterson's ability to develop players.
"We overanalyze five-star recruits. The greatest player when I was growing up in Taos, N.M. was a giant," Del Conte said. "but he was 5-7 in eighth grade. I was the only guy [back then] who took my shower with my underwear on. It was like, 'Whoa guys, I'm not ready for that.' "
My Heisman top five this week:
1, Tyrann Mathieu, LSU -- Best in this category since Charles Woodson?
2, Andrew Luck, Stanford -- Plays like Peyton Manning. Now, in the NFL.
3, Trent Richardson, Alabama -- Never thought he'd be a workhorse like this.
4, Russell Wilson, Wisconsin -- Look for Russellmania to explode this week against Indiana.
5, Robert Griffin, Baylor -- Legitimacy of candidacy should be decided this week against Texas A&M.