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

It's about the QUALITY stupid!

June 14th, 2010
12:51 pm

There’s no way I thought Slive would try to add more than one team to the West, like just A&M or just Oklahoma. Adding two teams out west is NOT worth the havoc of then having to move Auburn to the east division. And lord knows adding Missouri is not worth that trouble.

If he adds two to the west, he’ll have to add two to the east – most likely FSU and Clemson, which at least feel like SEC schools. Of course, tradition and geography are out the dang window with regard to this stupid expansion talk. I would mind adding just FSU (to the WEST) and Clemson (east), but the talking heads say that adds too little value to the league. I guess their measure of value is different than mine. A strong BRAND is what has made this league a success, not having two teams in Mississippi to wrap up the Jackson and Tupelo markets.

CBS, ESPN and people across the country are only interested in the quality of the dang product!!

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
12:51 pm

My apologies, sir. I was unaware such an ancient breed existed. I was taught they were extinct.

It's about the QUALITY stupid!

June 14th, 2010
12:55 pm

Meant to say I wouldn’t mind adding Clemson and FSU — great products despite not adding to the stupid “footprint.”

Dostoyevskiy

June 14th, 2010
12:55 pm

SEC fans better hope that FSU doesn’t join their conference. That’s all they need to draw even better players. FSU is magnet for prep fb-ers. They would soon dominate the SEC. UGa and Tn would be like old men sitting on the back row in church.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
12:58 pm

Now the flow of the comments on TexAgs.com is turning to fears that the Whorns/Sips AKA UTexas has, in pledging to the Big12-2 (or “Little 10″) pulled the wool over enough of the Aggies’ powers-that-be that the Aggies might not come to the SEC after all….

IF that were to happen, and the Big12-2 were to exist with A&M, then the Aggies know they would be the butt of perhaps the biggest Aggie joke ever (i.e., falling for the Sips’ scheme).

I hope not, but maybe it will happen.

See this story about Gene Stallings’ comments, just posted in the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/sports/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-big-12-texas,0,7909558.story

Big 10

June 14th, 2010
12:59 pm

Wow. An expansion of a double dose of viagra proportions.

Keep the SEC in the southeast

June 14th, 2010
12:59 pm

Texas can keep driving their bus and stay out of the SEC.

Dostoyevskiy

June 14th, 2010
12:59 pm

Listen up, you aren’t listening. UVa is just as linked with UNC as Duke, NCState, and Wake are. Nobody from the ACC is going anywhere. Insanity is the repetition of failed thinking, and therefore characterizes many on this blog.

CAFEEJ

June 14th, 2010
1:03 pm

Link to Baltimore Sun blog about Maryland going to the Big 10.

CAFEEJ

June 14th, 2010
1:03 pm

CrackDaddy

June 14th, 2010
1:04 pm

The ACC doesn’t live or die for sports. Most ACC chools are known at least equally for their academics. The SEC schools (less Vandy) are known outside of their states exclusively in terms of football. SEC schools have earned their stereotype. They are not bad schools, their student bodies cannot learn more than those schools can teach. But if you want to reach higher, you don’t go to SEC schools as a rule. Their are some exceptions obviously.

Greensboro, Georgia

June 14th, 2010
1:05 pm

……………………………………….
……Nesbitt for Heisman……..
……………………………………….

Don Adams

June 14th, 2010
1:09 pm

Have youtold your readers about the AAU, a group of 63 elite research universities, and the fact that the Big Ten is the only conference where all members are AAU members. Without that fit, Nebraska likely would not have been accepted. Or maybe that would look too bad for the SEC academically.

A&M vs. FSU

June 14th, 2010
1:09 pm

Techman

June 14th, 2010
1:10 pm

didn’t the aggies play as the big 12 rep in the first Fiesta BCS game? That would make them the Big 12 champion that year.

Techman

June 14th, 2010
1:12 pm

about this AAU idea, do schools get more funds if they are linked in a conference with more AAU members?

aggie94

June 14th, 2010
1:13 pm

Aggies 1998 Big 12 champ. One and only for A&M (football). It was a big upset of Kansas State…long time ago too long for most Ags I know.

Techman

June 14th, 2010
1:15 pm

thanks, Aggie. i thought I read on page 2 that Texas a&m had never won a B12 championship.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
1:15 pm

Techman -

As I noted earlier, GT is an AAU member, and is therefore on the Big10’s possible expansion list (because of that and the TV eyeballs in Atlanta). Here’s a link to the AAU’s website, at the About page:
http://www.aau.edu/about/default.aspx?id=58

Steve

June 14th, 2010
1:16 pm

Paul in RDU,
I’ve got to agree with you (no way UNC & Dook come to the SEC).
Neither has a strong football program. However there is no denying the B’ball revenue both of these universities bring to the table. No way the ACC allows that money to walk. They also have strong inter-state rivalries with NCSU & Wake Forest. ACC makes a large portion of it’s money via B’ball revenue. I don’t see them releasing the 2 golden geese without one heck of a fight.

Big Ten man

June 14th, 2010
1:16 pm

AAU, AAU, AAU, more research money, more research money, AAU, and academics.

Sorry, I’ve only had a few years to practice reciting these talking points. I’ll get better at it though and be able to provide more specifics as time goes on.

Dr. Emmett Brown

June 14th, 2010
1:17 pm

Check out my “Back to the Future” conference re-alignment scenario.
Long-standing rivalries would be maintained, and 8 divisional winners would advance to the national playoffs:

ACC East: ACC South:
Boston College Duke
Cincinnati Maryland
Louisville NC St.
Pitt UNC
Rutgers Virginia
South Florida Virginia Tech
Syracuse Wake Forest
Uconn West Virginia

Big 10 East: Big 10 West:
Illinois Baylor
Indiana Iowa
Michigan Iowa St.
Michigan St. Kansas
Northwestern Kansas St.
Notre Dame Minnesota
Ohio St. Missouri
Penn St. Nebraska
Purdue Wisconsin

PAC 10 SW: PAC 10 West:
Arizona Cal
Arizona St. Oregon
Colorado Oregon St.
Ok St. Stanford
Oklahoma UCLA
Texas USC
Texas Tech Wash St.
TX A&M Washington

SEC East: SEC West:
Clemson Alabama
Florida Arkansas
GA Tech Auburn
Georgia Florida St.
Kentucky LSU
Miami Mississippi
South Carolina Mississippi St.
Tennessee Vanderbilt

andrew

June 14th, 2010
1:19 pm

If T A&M joins the SEC, it would almost force the SEC to expand to 16. First, you would need another school for the western division (Southern Miss, Memphis, Missouri, North Texas…someone). Second, you would then have to bump up the east by two schools (Louisville, Miami, GT, FSU, Middle Tenn, ECU…someone). Some would say they would stop at 14, but that would almost certainly require a division switch for someone, which I think is unlikely (especially considering how balanced the divisions are now). Let’s make a case for some schools:

Memphis: Pros: Large University with a large stadium, moderate TV market, would also greatly boost SEC basketball: Cons: Memphis is still dominated by UTK, there would also be TV rights issues with both Arkansas and Ole Miss

Southern Miss: Pros: Good program, very consistent, natural rival to MSU and Ole Miss: Cons: MSU and Ole Miss would likely halt any agreement, Hattiesburg is not exactly a big market

Missouri: Pros: Large, well known school, good program, already plays with A&M, would be rival for Arkansas, and would bring in the Missouri Market. Cons: Not really “south” (yes, this should matter), Closer to Kansas City than St. Louis, really different football culture.

North Texas: Pros: near Dallas, second largest school in Texas (yep, look it up), would be natural rival to A&M and Arkansas. Cons: Currently plays in Sun Belt (yeah, sun belt…), would take several years to recover from transition, always considered a second tier school in Texas

Louisville: Pros: Large program, large school, large market, natural rival for Kentucky, good in several sports, could immediately contend: Cons: They just switched conferences a couple of years back, probably a better fit for Big 10, Kentucky would kick and scream

Clemson: not even going to bother….that’s not going to happen

GT/FSU: Not going to happen either

Miami: Pros: Good program, big market, natural rival with florida, is rebuilding well: Cons: just switched conferences, Football is the only sport it really has, scandal prone

Middle Tenn: (don’t laugh yet) Pros: growing program, growing school, growing area, 2nd largest univeristy in Tenn (1st depending on which list you look at. Yeah, hard to believe), natural rival to UT and Vandy Cons: Vandy and Tenn would not allow it, would not add a significant market tv wise, stadium just plain sucks

Oklahoma/Oklahoma State: Don’t kid yourself, they go with Texas, where ever that may be in the end.

Kansas/Kansas State: Too far away, no real rivalry possibility, would have to get Missiouri with one of them to make it work.

UVA/Va Tech: would have to get them both to work, not likely to happen

So there we have it. Good luck with expansion and the continued money corruption of college sports

Dr. Emmett Brown

June 14th, 2010
1:20 pm

Check out my “Back to the Future” conference re-alignment scenario.
Long-standing rivalries among current BCS schoolls would be maintained, and 8 divisional winners would advance to the national playoffs:

ACC East
Boston College
Cincinnati
Louisville
Pitt
Rutgers
South Florida
Syracuse
Uconn

ACC South
Duke
Maryland
NC St.
UNC
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest
West Virginia

Big 10 East
Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Michigan St.
Northwestern
Notre Dame
Ohio St.
Penn St.
Purdue

Big 10 West
Baylor
Iowa
Iowa St.
Kansas
Kansas St.
Minnesota
Missouri
Nebraska
Wisconsin

PAC 10 SW
Arizona
Arizona St.
Colorado
Ok St.
Oklahoma
Texas
Texas Tech
TX A&M

PAC 10 West
Cal
Oregon
Oregon St.
Stanford
UCLA
USC
Wash St.
Washington

SEC East
Clemson
Florida
GA Tech
Georgia
Kentucky
Miami
South Carolina
Tennessee

SEC West
Alabama
Arkansas
Auburn
Florida St.
LSU
Mississippi
Mississippi St.
Vanderbilt

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
1:21 pm

Can any dawg fan on here or any AU or Bama or UT fan stand it if we lose any more rivalries such as Bama-UT or AU-UGA?

A 14 team conference is fine with A&M and maybe someone like FSU/VT coming in the east. Everyone loses one of their pansy noncon games and just picks up one more division game and we leave alone rivalries like BAMA-UT AU-UGA.

I don’t think I could stand losing any more rivalries like that and as it stands now if we go to 14 teams rivalries like Bama/UGA would be played twice in 12 years as opposed to 4 times every 10 years. It would become like playing a total stranger if we played someone like Georgia that sparingly. And I can’t see the dawg fans being happy about that either. Same thing throughout the sec. All these great interdivison clashes like BAMB/UF, AU/UF, BAMA/UGA, UGA/LSU, that get played 4 of every 10 years are now 2 in every 12 years.

Tech Fan Since 1950

June 14th, 2010
1:25 pm

Atlanta is primarily an ACC/SEC city, but there is a large contingent of Big Ten school alumni in the metro. I think GT will stay in the ACC, but if the Big Ten were really smart strategically they would tap into the 8th television market in the country and establish a beachhead in Atlanta. If GT gets invited to the Big Ten and accepts, the SEC will have made its biggest blunder ever.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
1:26 pm

Patrick

June 14th, 2010
1:26 pm

Tony, Is the PAC 16 guaranteed two BCS spots if they go to 16? As an SEC fan that would be the number two reason to expand the SEC.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
1:28 pm

Your right Aggie94
One conference title in 1998. Against Kansas State… Even Colorado got one Conference game. Albeit.. I was wrong stating zero…

It is one conference title and that was last decade of the 19 hundreds.

How many BCS bowl games since the claim to fame 1998? Better yet how many bowl games? Considering that even losing record football programs make bowl games.

atm should schedule some teams like FSU in an ooc. The power schools like Florida, Texas and alabama schedule some cupcakes but they at least every other year make it interesting. Texas played Ohio State, Arkansas… atm plays a divions 2 team or a div 1 equal.

atm does not bring any fooball value to the SEC. It seems a lot of people want atm to goto the SEC..

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
1:29 pm

Deloss Dodds of the University of Texas is going to want to see some bonds in Beebe’s possession instead of IOUs, and he’ll probably have the portable UV scanner to check any cash he presents as well.

CrackDaddy

June 14th, 2010
1:29 pm

Yo Tony. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of UGa joining the ACC. Would their football program suffer? Or might it be even stronger. Would UGa’s academic prowess be strengthened by such a move in your opinion? If so, then why would they eschew an invite if it were offered? Man up Tony.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
1:32 pm

SEC nation.. Please take atm… They really want to get out of the shadow of Big Brother TExas. However, they still want to play Texas every year.. Does that make any sense? If aggies really want to be independent of Texas… then dont beg to play every year.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
1:32 pm

Patrick -

About your question to Tony: Is the PAC 16 guaranteed two BCS spots if they go to 16? As an SEC fan that would be the number two reason to expand the SEC.

Agreed.

The BCS is not required to do anything of the sort, but virtually all of the Pac16 stories over the past couple of weeks have said that the Pac16 would not only seek two BCS slots, but to give them to each of its division champs, because the Pac16 apparently would NOT want a playoff. Some reports have said that, in addition, the Pac16 would seek a THIRD BCS bid, which would be one of the at-large bids.

Even the mere specter of that sort of power play by a superconference is why Slive has had to be pro-active in this realignment mess, and at least have countermoves (see capstone report link above) ready to go, if not actual invitations ready to go (A&M, VT?), to get to 14 or 16 teams. I’m pretty sure Slive’s constituents (the SEC presidents & ADs) don’t want the SEC to go to 16 teams, but for the many reasons stated on this blog, 14 makes good sense, especially if A&M is one of the 14.

Traditionalist

June 14th, 2010
1:33 pm

Why is no one talking about bringing Sewanee back to the SEC where it belongs?

Gary

June 14th, 2010
1:34 pm

Yeppie – A&M won the Big 12 in 1998 and won the Big 12 South in 1997. No they haven’t won anything significant in a while, but they are not a bad product. The fan base is also very good. Had fun chatting up some of the Aggie fans back in December as both A&M and the Dawgs prepared to do battle.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
1:34 pm

“Mike Slive winning the realignment game:”

Just thought I’d point out that that is University of Alabama fans sports blog.

Dave In Tampa

June 14th, 2010
1:34 pm

Tide Rising
I’m with you. I do not want to see any of the great rivalries go away. Two teams tops to expand the league. I’d like to see OU & A&M. If not OU grab A&M and VT. No more though. SEC does not need to go to 16 teams.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
1:35 pm

Delbert.. That is funny. Your right. UV scanner with a permanent ink pen. With CBS, FOX, ESPN, ABC, etc.. aiding with video recording of the proposal.

Gary

June 14th, 2010
1:38 pm

And don’t forget that RC Slocum had a pretty good program in the 1990s. I believe the Aggies won several SWC Titles in the early 90s. Since he left the program has suffered.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
1:39 pm

Gary…
Your right. atm is a good product. That battle was short lived with Georgia. I think everyone in Texas turned off the TV after Georgia went to the second team players to keep the game interesting.

T3

June 14th, 2010
1:39 pm

Well, looks like Goldman Sachs has made a multi-billion dollar bet that the State of California will suffer a “financial earthquake” soon.

AZ & AZST better call Dan Beebe and beg to join the BIG12 before California impldes and takes the PAC10 down with it.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
1:40 pm

RC Slocum… was a very good coach. However, enter Mack Brown in the late 1990 and good bye Slocum..

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
1:43 pm

atm has an enormous potential. They are the upset queens some years. Running from the coat tails of Texas will not make them a better product. Would love to see atm join the SEC. They can run from Texas but to hide in the SEC???? not a good hiding place…

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
1:46 pm

Dave in Tampa—-

No Memphis in the SEC. We already have our Tiger quota.

5IML

June 14th, 2010
1:47 pm

Yeppie,

The underhanded, backstabbing Dennis Francione got rid of RC Slocum. I’m not saying that Mack would not have run Slocum off eventually.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
1:48 pm

Dr. Brown – Louisville, South Florida and West Virginia are not acceptable by the ACC, as they are Tier 3. Also, I wouldn’t think the SEC would take them, as they already have 2 Tier 3 teams in Ole Miss and Miss. St. (plus UK, LSU and Arkansas sharing the lowest ranking at #128 in the tier above. That would not be a good PR move, not even in the states of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina press.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
1:49 pm

Texas A&M is like Florida was 30 years ago. So much under-utilized potential. They have all of the pieces, they just need a good coach and recruiter and the Aggies are off to the races.

This Gator votes “aye.”

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
1:49 pm

Perhaps a bit too “inside baseball” for some here, but for those of us who have wondered at the conflicting reports the past few days, this is funny:

Schad v. Chip, as told by EDSBS: http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2010/6/14/1517299/tale-of-the-tape-schad-vs-brown

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
1:50 pm

Delbert – I believe that Beebe told UT that the money was good because he had taken out insurance with AIG

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
1:51 pm

51ML
Yes Francione… He is no longer at atm either. Fancione.. lost every game that atm was a sure win and and won the games he was sure to lose. Perhaps, he playing the betting the odds market in Vegas….