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

Contractor

June 14th, 2010
11:59 am

fbfan,

I can definitely see the hatred as being a reason with most of those schools, Florida ones for sure. Miami is like a mirage to me, because you see their athletics and think one thing, but their academics are very respected and a private school of all things, so I believe if they continue to act like Randy Shannon is coaching them, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Florida State already declined an invitation a while ago I was told by my dad, due to getting beat up week in week out, but that’s hearsay of course, ha ha. It would be very smart for those schools to join, due to the ratings the ACC has received in their Championship games. The SEC will bring them more money, which I believe would trump hatred any day in the minds of the powers that make decisions for those schools.

ATLBuff

June 14th, 2010
12:00 pm

Colorado adds the Denver and Colorado State media markets to the Pac 10. Also, Colorado has about four to five times as many alumni in Pac 10 country as in Big XII country. That, plus the vastly improved locations of away games, means greater traveling by CU’s fanbase.

Utah brings the Salt Lake market into the Pac 10 and also serves as a defensive move against the Mountain West becoming a BCS conference. The Pac 10 would basically own the tv sets in two time zones stretching from the rocky mountain West to the Pacific Coast. Plus, Salt Lake and Denver are two of the fastest growing media markets in the country.

If the Pac stops at twelve teams, by adding Utah, it will have added two major growing markets, locked up an entire time zone (albeit relatively sparsely populated) as far as BCS conferences are concerned and increased their numbers to twelve, allowing for a conference championship.

Of course the prize is still Texas, but the longer Texas waits to make a decision, the less options (to bring along their friends) they’ll have.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
12:01 pm

fbfan—-

I don’t pretend to understand whether South Carolina wants Clemson, or Georgia wants Georgia Tech in the SEC, but I do know this: Florida wants Florida State in the SEC for all of the reasons I just stated. Please use the Google news search function for “Urban Meyer” and “Florida State” and review the news articles from this past week, and quit making stuff up.

Dave In Tampa

June 14th, 2010
12:01 pm

Delbert D – I also thought that was pretty funny!

Walt

June 14th, 2010
12:02 pm

Watch out sec. Texas may entice lsu and ark to move to the big 12.

Contractor

June 14th, 2010
12:02 pm

Yankee Down South,

I can understand what you say, and can actually agree. I would love to visit new campuses every other year to catch football games and see their game day traditions and stuff like that. That’s what makes college football so unique. But if that was to happen, I would prefer Georgia schedule them as NON-conference games, ha ha, and keep it in the South, but still schedule these bigger programs as out of conference foes.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
12:05 pm

Atlanta Gator – okay

But didn’t you also note that FSU is likely to say no if asked?

AND, to add FSU instead of one of the schools outside the SEC’s footprint would not perhaps be in Slive’s plans.

As a FAN, I think FSU in the SEC would be great, so maybe Slive’s plans allow for that exception, which would not coincidentally also help lock-up the state of Florida even more for SEC schools.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
12:07 pm

FYI – the TexAgs.com football forum site appears to be overloaded today. Someone earlier reported it had at least 12,000 people on it today (I think he meant at once)….

lawzoo

June 14th, 2010
12:07 pm

The discussion of UNC and Duke joining the SEC under any scenario is mind boggling.

“Em Dawgs getting after it at Walace Wade Stadium before a crowd of 23,000+.

“Em Dawgs in a shoot out with the Tar Heels in the friendly confines of Stegeman Autotorium.

Uh No chance. I would like 14 teams A&M but in the east there are no teams that come to mind where it would be beneficial or possible that come to mind.

This is fun,

ryan

June 14th, 2010
12:07 pm

I don’t see how TV contracts are still able to explode when advertisers are reeling from the recession and DVR technology.

Where does everyone think these millions of dollars are coming from?

It’s not Monopoly money. It has to come from advertisers, and those budgets are getting slashed.

G8R GRAD

June 14th, 2010
12:08 pm

“When you have them by the short hairs, their hearts and minds will follow”
-Richard Nixon

And right now, it appears that A & M has the Big 12 by the short hairs.

Techman

June 14th, 2010
12:09 pm

Strictly speaking as a fan and not looking at money, tv markets, etc., I think it would be cool to add GT, UNC & Duke to the SEC. However, I know this probably doesn’t make sense financially. I do wonder if the SEC would ever consider GT to keep the Atlanta market away from the Big 10 if the day came they offered membership to GT.

The aggies may not offer great football but as stated on here repeatedly, they add more viewership in the D-FW market. However, I think it would hurt their program similar to Arkansas if they decided to move to the SEC alone.

craziness

June 14th, 2010
12:10 pm

If the SEC expands to 16 teams, which includes the Aggies, I think Clemson, FSU and Va. Tech would be the ideal others.

Yech tucked tail and ran out of the SEC after St. Dodd was bent over a barrel by the Bear for 7 years. Let them continue to suffer in mediocrity.

Dave In Tampa

June 14th, 2010
12:10 pm

Enter your comments here

RamblinRed

June 14th, 2010
12:11 pm

OK, that latest ESPN report that Anti_alternative linked is one of the worst write-ups I have ever seen.

It is simply the 6:54 am article by Joe Schad saying the PAC-10 departures are imminent with the last 2 paragraphs added to reflect Chip Brown’s reporting that is 100% contradictory to the Schad report. Like trying to have it both ways.

AS to a couple of schools mentioned in this thread.
OK AD has already stated they will go whereever TX goes – they like the rivalry – that is why they are a complete no-go for the SEC. They will go to either the PAC-10 if TX bolts or stay with the Big 12 if TX keeps it together.

MD’s president has publicly stated that MD will not leave the ACC for the Big 10 as long as she is its President.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
12:11 pm

Contractor—-

Re Florida State’s reasons for not joining the SEC in 1990, Bobby Bowden, to his credit, was fairly forthright in his public comments. Bowden politely said that FSU thought the ACC was a better platform for getting FSU into major bowls and contention for a national championship. Heck, when FSU joined the ACC, the Seminoles were the eighth conference team, and only had to play a 7-game ACC conference schedule against Duke, Wake Forest, NC State, UNC, UVa, Georgia Tech and Maryland . . . not Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee, in addition to Florida and Miami. If FSU had played in the SEC in 1990s, the Seminoles would have averaged 1 to 2 more losses per season and may never have won a national championship.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
12:13 pm

G8R GRAD -

Short hairs indeed.

Really, folks, when the TexAgs.com server(s) are able to handle the load, you can read the past day’s worth of material on there, and in so doing you will read a heart-warming coming-of-age story, as the Aggies come to a collective realization that they not only CAN exist outside of the Horns’ (they call them “sips” – which I gather is short for “tea-sippers”), but NEED to break free of the sips and go their own way in the SEC, where they are already being welcomed by many SEC posters.

gcs

June 14th, 2010
12:17 pm

I am curious about SEC divisions if they pick up two schools, say Texas A&M and Oklahoma. Somebody is going to have to go the the East Division and Auburn is geographically the furthest east school in the West Division followed by Alabama. Do they dare split Bama and AU?
Even if they do and make UA and AU the permanent crossover game on the schedule that would break up the annual Auburn-UGA game and UA-Tennessee’s Third Saturday in October.

Would/could the SEC form 3 divisions (West, Central, East), using a wild card team and SEC Championship semifinal games?

.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
12:17 pm

My bad…time stamp on the video said 11:23…figured Schad’s comments were new. Maybe not.

Dave In Tampa

June 14th, 2010
12:17 pm

Atlanta Gator –
Your post about FSU going to the ACC a few years ago was perfectly stated. They might not have won a NC if they played an SEC schedule. They had some great teams in the 90’s, don’t get me wrong, but they were not getting beat up “In the Trenches” ever week like the SEC teams do. They might have played a tough game and had 2 to 4 weeks in between of another semi-tough game to get ready for. It does make a diffrence.

Contractor

June 14th, 2010
12:18 pm

Atlanta Gator,

Ahh, ok. Thank you for clarifying that. My dad told me that when I was like 10. He just gave me the simple clear cut explanation, ha ha.

Alphare

June 14th, 2010
12:18 pm

I am now all against SEC expansion. Here are my reasons:

1. It’ll be a schedule nightmare. Remember the annual Auburn/Florida rivalry?

2. SEC is already too strong, you cannot make it stronger. Actually, more infights will make it hard to win NC.

3. Members cannot receive more money (unless Slive can convince me how).

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
12:19 pm

Everything hinges on TEXAS. If they stay the big 12 remains as a conference.
Thus: Pac 10 loses and the SEC does not have to react
If Texas goes to the Pac 10
SEC will mostlikely have to expand. That will be difficult for SEC to expand. ACC will not lower academics and then the geographic challenge to other prospect schools. Big East??? Big 12 north school with atm??

Texas is driving the bus. Not because it truly desires to be the driving factor but because it is the LeBron James courtship..

L.S.

June 14th, 2010
12:20 pm

Will the BCS be dissolved, and switched to an NCAA 64-team championship format?

Will the Oil Spill ever be cleaned up?

Will Obama be re-elected in 2012?

Oh, the humanity!!!!!!!

aggie94

June 14th, 2010
12:20 pm

That’s correct, the horns lounge around and discuss their greatness (with one another) over tea, while us ags consider the greatest conversations should be enjoyed while downing the suds.

G8R GRAD

June 14th, 2010
12:21 pm

If, again, Texas (and, presumably, Oklahoma) is staying, the Aggies stay too, if (and only if) they get a larger share of the confernce revenues.
Everyone else’s cards are on the table.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
12:22 pm

fbfan—-

Yes, the SEC wants to expand its footprint to include more and bigger television markets, but Florida State gets an asterisk because the Seminoles actually have a regional and national following. No other ACC football team can say that. The Seminoles would be a fine package deal with Texas A&M for the SEC, but the Noles don’t want it. Their AD and head coach have said as much this past week.

IMHO, if the Aggies actually jump (and their fans and regents seem to be in favor), the SEC needs to look to Missouri (big state university with lots of resources and the St Louis and Kansas City media markets) and Virginia Tech (big state university with lots of resources and a slice of the Richmond and Washington television markets).

G8R GRAD

June 14th, 2010
12:23 pm

L.S.:

No.

No.

Yes.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
12:23 pm

gcs -

About your post, if the 14th team doesn’t come from the West (e.g., OU), but from the East (e.g., VT), then no one needs to switch divisions, which seems best for all concerned.

IF A&M and another very West team are added, then I’ve read many speculate that Auburn is the likeliest to go East, changing Bama to be its out-of-division rival, and UGa would become its in-division rival, freeing UGa to have a different out-of-division rival, but causing Tenn to lose its out-of-division (Bama) rival.

Who might UGa’s out-of-division rival be under such a scenario?

Who might Tenn’s out-of-division rival be?

Far too many messy complications like that if both new teams are from far out in the West….

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
12:24 pm

G8RGRAD—-

Even if the Aggies decide to stay in a revamped Big XII (X), I like those guys! It’s good to see them giving it to Big Brother.

Contractor

June 14th, 2010
12:25 pm

L.S,

No 64 team format, hopefully 8 or 12 though.

Eventually it will when Obama throws on his Superman cape and parts the sea and sucks the oil out himself.

Hope the part of America who voted him in isn’t dumb enough to re-elect that piece of garbage.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
12:28 pm

TONY -

Don’t know if this is true, but … here’s a post just up on TexAgs.com’s football forum (and remember when reading it that Chip Brown is a UTexas hack, and has been wrong a lot on the recent stories, and that Liucci is an Aggie):

“Chip Brown has been logging several hundred computers on to the Texas A&M Fan website, TexAgs a source has reported. When asked what he was doing, Chip only responded with, “Liucci Sucks,” and kept about his business that another source just confirmed. It is speculated that Chip is trying to overload the TexAgs servers in a vain attempt to be the first to post breaking news on his twitter account. When asked why he didn’t simply try to overload twitter instead, Chip blankly stared off into the distance, a small tear running down his cheek.”

What an amazing week in the lives of the Aggies, who’ve been the butt of so many jokes over the years. The tables have turned and A&M is in the driver’s seat, not Texas (as between the two of them). Gig’em as they say.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
12:29 pm

If atm leaves to the SEC that does not harm Texas or OU. Texas has 80 percent of the Texas TV market share. All egos aside. What if the big 12 was to remain, and begin targeting Arkansas and LSU? Thus making the media companies to futher increase the pay out that meet the current SEC payouts. That would really be something fun to watch…

ryan

June 14th, 2010
12:30 pm

How can you squeeze another $68 million a year out of ESPN by going to 16 teams (assuming $17 million x 4)?

How2fish

June 14th, 2010
12:33 pm

Pac 10 Rules ..LOL really ? Texas won’t come to the SEC for one reason..they can’t dominate in the SEC like they can in the Big ? or the PAC ? Really think UF, Bama, LSU all teams that have won NC’s since Texas’s last one are going to play 2nd fiddle to Texas? No Texas is only going somewhere they are the Big Fish and after what happened to USC last week the PAC ? just might fit the bill.

RedNeck Rick

June 14th, 2010
12:34 pm

If Texas A&M decides to part company from Texas, they should be picked up by the SEC and bring Memphis along for the ride. Push the Alabama schools into the eastern division and there is a balanced SEC, at least from the numbers standpoint. Having Alabama, UF, Georgia, Tennessee, and Auburn in the same division does make for a stacked East, but put your money where your mouth is Tide, Gator, and Dawg fans! The West will be very competitive with LSU, Texas A&M, Memphis, and Arkansas.

I just don’t see Texas and Oklahoma moving to the SEC, even though they are better fits (in my mind) in the SEC than the Pac-Unknown #. Mizzou could also be a fit if Memphis isn’t deemed worthy, as that would be a good rivalry with Arkansas.

Hey, just speculating like everyone else!

aggie94

June 14th, 2010
12:34 pm

Yeppie,
80% TV market share??? aggie math/polls.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
12:34 pm

All the aggies want in life is to “loved”. They want some attention. They deserve some attention. Not really… but they sure do want it….and will go through all avenues to try to get attention. The SEC should be more concerned about the result fo the Pac 10 or Big 12 scenario. Then based upon that scenario focus on what the big 10 conf does. If big 12 remains together… SEC may not want atm in the conf. It all depends on the Pac and big 12 decision.

A&M fan

June 14th, 2010
12:37 pm

I would love for A&M to make its own way in the SEC. The fans actually travel to road games, folks! So instead of playing in half-filled stadiums in the Pacific northwest, A&M fans could follow the team into packed stadiums across the South every week, and those same fans would travel to College Station. It would be incredible for the local economy!

If you’re the SEC, this is why it makes $$$ and sense:
Add Texas A&M to the West to get a foothold in Texas.
Add FSU to the East to get a stranglehold on Florida.

(These two schools would become SEC east-west permanent rivals, so every year you’d have a great A&M-FSU game to circle on the calendar.)

The added markets and prestige these schools would bring would be worth a big pay upgrade from the TV networks to the SEC.

Dave In Tampa

June 14th, 2010
12:38 pm

I just don’t agree with the Memphis thing. If we go that route I’d rather pick up Louisville than Memphis.

Larry

June 14th, 2010
12:39 pm

Lets keep the South in the the SEC. Lets add Young Harris, North Georgia College, Georgia State and Tennessee Tech.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
12:40 pm

So ideally we can say that the SEC would’ve wanted Texas, A&M and maybe OK, and OK St. However, if they can settle for just A&M the question has been “who’s next?” or rather “who else fits?”

If it’s based on expanding the TV markets I could see them going for West Virginia to add to the East while A&M adds to the West.

IF 16 are needed then I think it’s anyone’s guess. Tough to break up Tobacco Road, though UNC would make sense alone (not with anyone else on “the road”). VT would be a nice addition, but the ACC is where they were dying to play for years while they were in the Big East. Also may have a forced tie-in with UVA. FSU and GT are natural geographic and historic rivals (but can we assume history counts for anything in the neo-SEC driven by dollars?) Clemson is another geographic and historic rival but does not have quite the winning history of the last two teams mentioned. Louisville may be an option. So may Cincy.

I think the smartest option for the SEC if 16 becomes the new 12 is to add A&M out West to shore up Arkansas’ rivalry cache and then take FSU, GT and Clemson. Of those all have strong enough bases to build better football programs on. All are rivals (which add hype and hopefully TV viewership). They strengthen the Southeastern brand image. They add some academic clout (maybe Tech and Clemson more so than FSU). They all bring strong basketball programs (if that even counts in all this…Kansas, I’m lookin’ at you). But first and foremost they lock up recruiting soil from other conferences further purifying the SEC product.

I’m sure Slive will have his own tricks, though.

P-Man

June 14th, 2010
12:40 pm

Nice to see the discussion remain civil. This is what a blog SHOULD be!

Purple Tiger

June 14th, 2010
12:41 pm

Bring back Sewanee into the SEC! The first great southern team.

T3

June 14th, 2010
12:42 pm

If the ACC can DOUBLE their TV revenue WITHOUT adding any new teams, then surely the BIG12 can at least QUADRUPLE their TV revenue without the need for the PAC10.

The BIG12 doesnt need the PAC10 to get big new TV contract dollars. The BIG12 can demand way more TV money the PAC10 can ever hope for.

The PAC10 needs the Big12 more than the Big12 needs the PAC10, and THATS why theres not gonna be a PAC10/BIG12 mereger.

The 2 best scenarios for the BIG12 are these:

1. Add AZ & AZST

AZ & AZST would earn much larger sums of money in the BIG12 than they could EVER EVER hope to earn in the PAC10. Period.
Theres NO comparison…AT ALL.

2. Add two of the following: Houston, TCU, SMU, UTEP, NewMex, NewMexSt.

With some combo of TCU, SMU, UTEP, or Houston, it would be adding money to Texas-based schools, which be a huge benefit to the state university sytem of Texas.

Houston is the 3rd largest university behind ONLY Texas and aTm.

UTEP & Houston are STATE schools. TCU & SMU are PRIVATE schools.

So, UTEP & Houston would be the MOST likely in-sate choices.

However, SMU football IS HUUUUGE is Dallas, MUCH MUCH bigger than TCU.

Overall, the BIG12 can hit the TV jackpot without the PAC10.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
12:43 pm

Check this funny note from an LSU fan to Aggie (http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/messagetopic.asp?p=19891655), and be prepared to laugh!

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
12:44 pm

What is with the aggies trying to claim such greatness. The SEC is the best football conference. It is what it is.. Big 12 is a runner up to the SEC but the gap is huge.
HOW MANY BIG 12 conf champ games have the aggies played since the big 12 formed????
Answer= 0, zero, zero
Now they think they will be a player in a tougher SEC conf.??????

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
12:46 pm

Purple Tiger, out of curiosity, which breed of purple tiger are you? There are two as I’m sure you’re aware. They both play in Death Valley and both are quite loud and proud. The difference seems to be that only one type can beat Georgia Tech.

Purple Tiger

June 14th, 2010
12:47 pm

The ORIGINAL Purple Tiger!

Tigers, Tigers, leave ‘em in the lurch,

Down with the heathen, up with the church.

Yea, Sewanee’s right!

How2fish

June 14th, 2010
12:51 pm

A&M fan love the idea of you guys in the West and adding FSU to the East…great idea!