What we know, don’t know, about expansion

After a weekend filled with travel, some fact, and whole bunch of speculation, here is where I think we are this Monday morning on the subject of conference expansion:

WHAT WE KNOW

1. Colorado (Pac-10) and Nebraska (Big Ten) have already left the Big 12. There is an offer on the table for Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State to move West and form the Pac-16. That would leave the Big 12 with five schools (Kansas, Kansas State, Missouori, Iowa State, Baylor) looking for new homes or trying to rebuild its league.

2. Texas A&M, showing a streak of independence, may not want to follow Big Brother Texas to the Pac-16. The Aggies want the Longhorns to know that they have options too: That’s why there is this flirtation with the SEC.  Texas A&M has played LSU and Arkansas over the years and culturally, some people in College Station feel it would be a better fit than playing on the Left Coast.

3. Various media reports had SEC commissioner Mike Slive in College Station, Texas, over the weekend. The SEC would not confirm this and commissioner Slive did not return a call seeking confirmation. But I do know this: Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne was not in College Station this weekend. He was at a family gathering in Idaho.

4. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has huddled with his television partners and come up with a plan to hold the 10 remaining members of his conference together. It would guarantee a lot more television revenue with a new deal and Texas would get to start its own network, something it may not be able to do in the Pac-16. It makes sense.  ESPN is just got out of one bidding war with FOX for the ACC television package. Would the Worldwide Leader want to get into another one for the newly-created Pac-16? It is in ESPN’s interest to do what’s necessary to hold the rest of the Big 12 together. And if that means putting a bunch of extra money on the table, so be it.  Beebe, I have it on pretty good authority, will not be at this week’s meetings of the conference commissioners out in California. He will be busy trying to save his conference. 

5. We should get a lot of clarity this week: The Texas and Texas Tech board of regents meet on Tuesday to discuss this. Oklahoma’s board of regents meets Wednesday. But, as SI.com’s Andy Staples reports, the Higher Education Committee of the Texas State House will hold hearings on Wednesday. Under the proposal on the table, the Pac-16 would invite all of the Texas schools in the Big 12 but Baylor.  Remember that Texas Governor Ann Richards pulled out her guns to get Baylor (her alma mater) into the Big 12 back in the early 90s. Their ain’t no mix like Texas politics and football. Could Baylor get shoe-horned into the Pac-16 if that is the only way to get the deal done?

FIVE THINGS WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

1. Would the SEC take Texas A&M without Oklahoma? Normally you want a traveling partner when you seek to change conference affiliation. Could Slive make the case to Oklahoma that it doesn’t need  to follow Texas? Not sure about that. OU athletics director Joe Castiglione has made it pretty clear that his school is linked with Texas.

2. If Texas A&M goes to the SEC, would that throw a lifeline to Kansas to the Pac-16?  The Jayhawks and their proud basketball tradition have been treated like the ugly cousin nobody talks to at the family reunion. But if Texas A&M goes to the SEC, the idea of a yearly basketball game (or two) between Kansas and UCLA might be appealing. But what if the Texas politicians strong-arm Baylor into the Pac-10 instead? That would be a bitter pill for Kansas to swallow.

3. If the Texas exodus to the Pac-10 does not happen, does that throw a lifeline to Utah to be the 12th member? Don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see where the Pac-10 has really upgraded (at least from a TV numbers standpoint) if Colorado and Utah are the only teams that come on board.

4. What will Texas do? Despite all the reports that Texas to the Pac-10 is a done deal, school officials insisted over the weekend that all options are still on the table. It can stay in a Big 12 that has only 10 teams but a whole lot of new money (which it will get a larger chunk of) or it can go West. But understand this. All of these schools that don’t want to be seen as following Texas are basically going to have to get over it. “Texas is driving this bus,” a former coach in that part of the world told me. “Folks are going to have to get used to that.”

5. Will the Big Ten stop at 12? If you’re an SEC fan, this is the conference you should be watching. Even if there is a Pac-16 with Texas and Oklahoma in it, I don’t think the SEC will feel compelled to expand. And if the SEC gets Texas A&M and adds another school (insert your favorite team here) then it could stop at 14. That puts the SEC into the Texas market and makes their television package more valuable. That would be seen as a win for the SEC.

But if the Big Ten exercises the nuclear option and goes to 16, the SEC will have some intresting decisions to make. Under that scenario I once thought the SEC would look to the ACC. I no longer feel strongly that will be the case.

It’s going to be an interesting week folks. Stay tuned.

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554 comments Add your comment

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:11 pm

Paul in RDU—-

I had already noted Clemson’s 2010 US News national university ranking of 61st. In my eyes at least, it makes Clemson a more desirable acquisition target in the coming SEC anschluss.

(Psst. Wanna join? I have a bid here in my pocket.)

= )

travy

June 14th, 2010
7:14 pm

ha! i love college football

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
7:15 pm

Yeppie,

I had a couple friends that went to Texas one of them on a scholarship. They said the same thing about UT that it was hard to get into but that tuition was very cheap because UT had several huge oil lease grants that were making money hand over fist for the school. Don’t know if that’s the case today but it certainly was back in the 80s.

In reference to Tam not competing in the big 12 in most years that would worry me also if they came into the SEC. I remember several years ago when OU flattened A&M 77-0 and it could have been worse. For Pete’s sake OU was at the A&M 5 yard line with 8 minutes left in the game and about to make it 84-0 but Stoops literally had the running backs fall down in the back field on center/guard dive plays to avoid further humiliating the aggies. That could never happen in the sec. Too much pride and too much parity for teams to be getting beat by 77 and nearly 84 points.

We’ve had 30 and 40 pt blowouts in the sec and on rare occasion a really bad blowout like uf pounding UK something like 63-5 2 years ago. But we’ve never had 60 and 70 pt blowouts with regularity in the sec. Nebraska used to also beat teams regularly in the 90s by 60-70 pts so its not just A&M. So it does make me wonder about the competitiveness of a middle tier big 12 team like A&M in the sec. .

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:17 pm

BuLLdawg—-

I have two things to say to you:

1. The correct conference nomenclature for the former Big Ten and Big XII is now the “Big Ten (12)” and the “Big XII (X).” Alternatively, you may refer to the former Big XII as the “Little X.”

2. In your comprehensive “sucks” list above, you did not mention the University of Florida. Does that mean you agree that Florida does not?

Just asking.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:21 pm

Tide Rising—-

In fairness to the Gators, you must acknowledge that’s usually Florida’s second or third team running up the score on Kentucky. It’s not like Meyer doesn’t yank the starters when we’re ahead by seven or more touchdowns.

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
7:23 pm

AG,
That’s true. But SOS sure did run it up on a few teams in his heyday.
I almost felt bad a couple of times…..ALMOST.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:25 pm

Atlanta Gator

I have no idea why you refer to The SEC as

Anschluss

Nazi propaganda is not what The SEC is doing. And, by the way, Austria still exists. Our Greatest Generation liberated Austria. And, then we come in here and you improperly use Anschluss to desribe The SEC sitting on the outside watching the Big XII become a conference without Nebraska and Colorado – neither of whom could compete.

You are just wrong Atlanta Gator.

Please say you are sorry for the reference to Anschluss.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
7:25 pm

Yeppie,

You give Georgia credit because they will line up and play anyone?

Georgia has had a fairly tough schedule the last 2 years with a couple of decent teams like Tech and Ok state which is a decent enough team but turned out to be way overrated. Tech they have to play cause its an instate rival but up until 2 years ago Tech was just not very good under Chan Gailey.

Georgia also has a policy of not playing the true 2-3 heavyweight teams in a conference. They will play the middling or mediocre programs like Arizona state which has generally sucked the last 10 years, Ok state which has never won its division and did not finish in the top 25 last year and which also got belted by Ole miss in the cotton bowl, and Colorado which was 3-9 last year and has had 4 or 5 straight losing seasons. They will not play an Ohio State, USC, OU, VT, or other out of conference team that is currently one of the top 2-3 teams in their conference.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
7:31 pm

Atlanta Gator,

In fairness to the gators that was one of those games where things just got out of hand for a combination of reasons. No. 1 Florida was peaking and rolling and a couple of huge special teams plays like 2 blocked punts quickly turned into tds and uk was reeling before the first commercial break. No. 2 was the UK had 6 starters out for the game due to injury. It wouldn’t have made a difference but they were banged up and had they been healthy at least they could have put up a fight and lost by only 30 or so as opposed to a 58 pt loss. Not blaming the gators for running it up. Just sayin it was one of those unusual days were the stars were perfectly aligned against UK and that blowouts like that don’t normally happen in the sec. That’s all.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
7:31 pm

Tide Rising
You are absolutely correct. Admission into UT (student/not athlete) is very difficult. It is easier to get into atm then UT. The only school in Texas that is more difficult is Rice University. However, Rice is a private school.

Tuition wise. Good value for in state students-hence the oil/natural gas revenues. However, out of state and international students pay big bucks. When I was at UT, I learned that the there is a world outside of Texas and the USA. Lot of students from China and other countries.

By the way, UT has during the school year of 50k students. With the majority being first or second year students. As thw wash out rate of students is drastic. Only one of three students will actually graduate.

atm is a good product. They new claim to fame is to be the upset football program in big 12. They have been whipped in the big 12 and the thought of being in a tougher SEC would be worse if they want a winning program.

UT – (as a public state funded school) rates of the best business, law, medical and engineering schools in the country.

Keep the SEC in the southeast

June 14th, 2010
7:31 pm

Now that the nine remaining members of the Big 12 and arrogant Texas have decided to stay,
they can add TCU and SMU.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:32 pm

No, Florida does not.

Not at 17 of the last 20.

Not at # 1 vs SEC East the last 4 years at 19-1 and UGA at 10-10.

Not with 3 National Championships since 1996.

Not with a seasoned ready QB again this year, as you prepared Tim Tebow 2006.

Not at # 1 vs SEC the last 4 years at 29-6 while UGA has gone 20-12.

But, to ask such a D.S. question, you get the award Atlanta Gator, or are you that insecure that you had to ask sir ?

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:33 pm

By Chris Low June 11, 2010

One of the best ways to evaluate a coach is to look at his record against nationally ranked teams.

Coaches in the SEC against what was on game day Top 25 foes at their current schools

No. 1 : Urban Meyer, Florida — 19-6 (.760)
No. 2 : Nick Saban, Alabama — 11-5 (.688)
No. 3 : Houston Nutt, Ole Miss — 5-3 (.625)
No. 4 : Les Miles, LSU — 18-11 (.621)
No. 5 : Mark Richt, Georgia — 29-19 (.604)

Not at that Atlanta Gator, or do you NOT READ a DAMN THING I post ?

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
7:35 pm

Atlanta Gator – Anschluss??? Hopefully that is not your historic precedent

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
7:37 pm

Tide Rising
UT is competing for research funds from the federal government. So they have to be careful were affiliation they become to the eyes of the world. Currently, competing with the big 10 conference (big 10-the original big 10) for a 250 million dollar grant for research. It will be a huge grant and Texas, Michigan, Cal are in a battle for the funding.

bad brad

June 14th, 2010
7:39 pm

UCLA,
Remember that well; was planning to go to that game but it was UCLA who backed out not UGA. Something about not being able to pay the guarantee. Check it out and you will see that I am correct. Nice try.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:40 pm

Beast—-

We both know against which team the Evil Genius enjoyed running the score most, don’t we? Question is, do you know why the Evil Genius was so angry with the Dawgs? And, no, it was not because the Dawgs defense stomped him during his Heisman Trophy season . . . .

In 1968, two years after Spurrier graduated, Vince Dooley ran up the score against Ray Graves’ Gators In Jacksonville. Dooley was campaigning for a slice of the national championship in 1968, an decided to let loose the hounds on one of Graves’ weaker Gators teams, thumping the Gators 51-0. Spurrier, who was always close to his former coach, was royally angry and took it as a personal insult from Dooley to Graves.

Twenty-six and twenty-seven years later, when the Gators were playing the first home-and-away with the Dawgs since 1932, the Evil Genius hung “half a hundred” on the Dawgs twice, including 52 points in Sanford Stadium. Please note that 52 points in 1995 would be 1 point more than 51 points in 1969. Spurrier was never one to be outdone by anyone.

In 1995, Dooley was UGA’s athletic director. When a reporter asked Spurrier why had run up the score against the Dawgs, he responded “Ask Vince Dooley.”

So, for all you Dawgs and Gators who are old enough to remember either 1968 or 1995, that’s the rest of the story.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
7:40 pm

Thanks for asking Tide RISING.

Back to football.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:44 pm

BuLLdawg—-

No,sir, I’ve actually read quite a few of your AJC blog posts over the years. I just enjoy the thrill of poking the bear with a sharp stick.

= )

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
7:44 pm

I like the blog site because I respect the SEC football programs. Also the passion of the fan base. Texas is similiar but SEC is much more diverse as all teams fan base are passionate. That is a compliment.

In the original big 12.. It is just Texas, OU and some aggies. SEC brings Florida, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and etc into the discussion. However, at times it can be annoying but over all one of the most knowledgable fan base resides in the SEC.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:45 pm

Paul in RDU—-

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Tech Fan Since 1950

June 14th, 2010
7:46 pm

The expansion situation, from this point, is in the court (er, end zone) of the Big Ten. If Notre Dame doesn’t (says it will not) take a potential invite from the Big Ten then the Big Ten will likely look south to bookend with Nebraska. The biggest strategic target from a marketing, demographic and academic compatibility standpoint is in Atlanta. If that happens, the SEC will have a minefield in its back yard when Michigan, Ohio State, etc. come to town, and it will not just be the ACC.

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
7:49 pm

Atlanta Gator – that was an interesting story on the UGA-UF series and the reason for SOS running up the score.
BTW – Some UGA fans claim the 1968 MNC (Litkenhous named them #1). How anyone can seriously think an 8-1-2 UGA team was better than OSU in 1968 (10-0, blew out UM and USC) is beyond me

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:49 pm

Okay, Mr. BuLLdawg, I’m sorry.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
7:49 pm

Yeppie,

We all know about Texas in research but where does A&M stand? I always thought A&M did a lot of research since I remember a couple of times reading about some astounding physics achievements that had been made at A&M labs but that seems to be absent in this discussion about research dollars. I think Atl gator mentioned once about A&M doing well in research dollars but that’s all I’ve heard.

bad brad

June 14th, 2010
7:50 pm

UCLA, also it was Labor Day 1983 not 1985 when UCLA came to Athens then cancelled the game for the next season after the 1983 season was complete. Guess they didnt want 2 arse whippings in a row.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:50 pm

Atlanta Gator

You are ALSO wrong on 1995 and the biggest lop-sided win you can name.

75-0 UGA beat Florida, we won the National Championship.

Also, as for your reference to 52 points, when Spurrier went for 2, they asked him after the game why he went for 2 and he said “because I could not go for 3.”

We scored 17.

You also talk about 1968 and how Vince Dooley was “trying to get a slice of the national championship.”

Excuse me, we are ranked National Champions in 1968. I have the Official NCAA Records Book and we have a SLICE 1968.

We have 6 such.

Now where is your apology as asked now by SEVERAL OF US tonight Atlanta Gator you arrogant soul for saying gutless sort for your reference to The SEC as

Anschluss

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
7:51 pm

Atlanta gator,

Didn’t you once tell me that apologizing was a statement of weakness? Say it aint so.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:52 pm

Paul in RDU—-

My advice to you, as a Clemson Tiger fan, is don’t piss off the Evil Genius. He’s a very good coach, he hates to lose, he harbors grudges, and he has a VERY long memory.

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
7:52 pm

AG,
I always thought his hatred was because Jerri looks awful in red and black. LOL

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
7:54 pm

Tide Rsiing—-

If you were a little older, you would recognize that as a John Wayne quote from one of the old John Ford cavalry movies. Nevertheless, I had to apologize. Mr. BuLLdawg made me.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
7:54 pm

Got to go… My better half wants to go out for eat. MY COMPLIMENTS to the SEC. I am pro big 12 (original) and Texas.
HOWEVER,
THE SEC has the best football competition and the best passionate and knowledgeable college football followings in the country. Allows an avenue for great blog sites such as this one.

Take care….As we will reside again in the bcs champ bowl. Texas will whip the big 12 football teams and meet the SEC champ. If the SEC champ does not play the in bcs champ game the SEC was robbed by the AP loving the west coast or the old traditional Big 10 (original big 10) as nostogic.
PEACE..

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
7:54 pm

BuLLdawg,

Sheesh. Calm down man on the atl gator.

I always thought UGA had 5 national titles if you go by any sort of poll instead of 6. If going by any poll we have 17 but usually I like to claim 4 million and sometimes when we’re modest we only claim 13.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:54 pm

The SEC can always say we are better than Ohio State suckeyes, as Ohio State is 0-9 vs SEC teams in bowl games, including to UGA.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
7:55 pm

Atlanta gator,

I thought I recognized the quote. I just couldn’t remember where.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:56 pm

Ok, Atlanta Gator.

(I thought you wanted to poke me. Turns out you are just a wuss.)

travy

June 14th, 2010
7:57 pm

reading all the excellent comments here the last few days i can’t help but laugh at the fact that texas basically turned the whole thing upside down just so they could have their own tv network.

berkeley of the south!! BWAHAHAHA!

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
8:00 pm

Atlanta Gator – A Clemson Tiger fan?? You have me confused with someone else. I have a graduate degree from the NATS.

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
8:00 pm

Tide Rising,
We can only claim 3. But they are all SWEEEEEETTTTTT!!!!! I hope Urb and the boys are looking for some payback this year. It’s gonna be a brawl. Also, hope to see ya’ll in Atlanta again. 3 years in a row would remind me of when we started this whole championship game thing. It was Bama versus Florida almost every year.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
8:00 pm

travy,

maybe tejas also had the ancillary reason of giving us plenty to blog about when they decided to try and turn the college football world on its head.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
8:00 pm

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
8:02 pm

Ah, but you have been poked. Twice, Mr. Bear. But my father would not have approved of the Anschluss comment. He spent four years kicking fascist/imperialist butt in the South Pacific as the commander of a Seabees battalion, and another year tidying up the mess left behind afterward before coming home in 1946.

No, sir, my father the lieutenant commander did not have much of a sense of humor about such things.

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
8:03 pm

Tide Rising,
Maybe they’re just trying to make everyone forget about the last ballgame they played.

travy

June 14th, 2010
8:03 pm

tide rising- and i know so much more about research endowments now. exciting stuff!

G8R GRAD

June 14th, 2010
8:03 pm

Dang AG, it looks like you need a friend.
UT, A&M, OU & Co. have announced they’re staying.
I only hope A&M negotiated a stronger position while it had one!
BuLLdawg:
“Turns out you are just a wuss.”
Do you REALLY want to wake that sleeping giant (Gator)?!!!

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
8:04 pm

Be careful, AG. You’re showing your age!

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
8:05 pm

“Never apologize, son. It’s a sign of weakness.”

—-Capt. Nathan Brittles (as played by John Wayne) in John Ford’s “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949)

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
8:05 pm

Beast,

Its reminiscent of the 90s where it was UF-Bama for what seemed like forever and frankly I have no problem with that. Don’t think it’ll last forever with all the parity we have in the conference, espeically in the west. Have to tell you though that I may be pulling for the dawgs in the east. It depends. If we can beat you once in Tuscaloosa it would be a helluva lot to ask of us to beat you twice in one season. If we lose to you regular season than of course I would have to pull for you guys and hope we could get payback. In any event the regular season game alone should set up as one helluva game.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
8:06 pm

Atlanta gator,

Naturally you would have to quote from one of the few john wayne movies I haven’t seen.

sccatfan1

June 14th, 2010
8:06 pm

I think the AD’s pushing the superconference concept are missing the crucial impact of natural border rivalries. Said another way, I’ll tune in to watch the Red River Classic (OU/TX)…will I be similarly excited to watch Texas/Oregon State? Nada. It’s the regional blood and guts games, complete with impassioned (psychotic?) fans that make for compelling college football (& basketball) matchups. To the extent that these games are marginalized by realignment, I think the college game suffers. To say nothing of the cost impact of non revenue sports traveling exhorbitant distances for their respect matches/games.