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.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

554 comments Add your comment

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
1:52 pm

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
1:54 pm

Atlanta Gator – “No Memphis in the SEC. We already have our Tiger quota.”

Yeah, but you don’t have your Tier 4 quota. This is a rare opportunity to grab one.

;-)

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
1:54 pm

fbfan – Great link!

DGator

June 14th, 2010
1:56 pm

In my perfect world, I would have TX and Ta&m join the west and North Carolina and UVA or VaTech join the east. From a TV standpoint, you get all of TX, the 2nd most populist state and with UVA or VaTech you get VA and DC area, another top 10 TV market and NC gives you all of Carolina TV. Screw FSU and Miami, Gators control the TV in FL, Miami and FSU are a TV afterthought. If Carolina can get over not being in the same BBall conference with Duke and realize that they can still play them non-conference every year, it would definitely be in their best interest to be in the new SEC that would be the best conference for football AND basketball with the new additions.

From a purist standpoint, I think FSU and Clemson have the most in common with the SEC but they just don’t bring anything to the table that we don’t already have.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
1:56 pm

Delbert D.—-

In addition to adding nothing to the SEC bottom line, Florida would object to inviting South Florida into the SEC. For the Gators, promoting the Bulls into a credible regional program would harm Florida’s interests. The Gators do not need to help promote a third major Division I competitor in the state. As things stand now, the Bulls pick up a lot of the 2 and 3-star kids who may have had academic issues getting into Florida. We do not need to build USF into a real competitor who can poach on the in-state 4 and 5-star talent. We already have FSU and Miami as established in-state competitors; USF and UCF are not real threats at their present level of competition. Moreover, does the SEC really want to add a Tier 3 directional school? I think not.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
1:56 pm

Paul in RDU -

EDSBS stretches the limits of entertainment, sometimes a bit too far for my taste, but it is ALWAYS funny!

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
1:57 pm

T3 – What?? Goldman Sachs selling short?? No way!

Paul in RDU – Beebe would be more believable if he had the gecko or the cave man with him.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
2:02 pm

DGator –

“In my perfect world, I would have TX and Ta&m join the west and North Carolina and UVA or VaTech join the east.”

I missed that episode on Fringe.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
2:09 pm

Atlanta Gator – You are right. The only factor I can think of that would favor South Florida is they have a real airport. But then I’ve only flown there from Atlanta, so I don’t know if connections and or bus trips are needed from the other 5 or so airport schools in the SEC.

TexasDAWG

June 14th, 2010
2:10 pm

I heard on the local San Antonio News that Texas will NOT consider the SEC because the “academics are so bad.” The example used was Alabama (not mine the reporters). The reporter said that the admissions/academics at Bama are so low that Texas would never consider joining the SEC. Is this true? Is TEXAS that much “better” at academics than the rest of the SEC? I know A LOT of morons that get into and graduate from UT. I really find it hard to believe that UT is in the league as UC-Berkly.

DGator

June 14th, 2010
2:10 pm

DD, It probably won’t happen but I am sure the calls have been made, from a TV and logistics standpoint, it makes the most sense.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
2:11 pm

Delbert D.—-

I won’t name-call among existing SEC members, but the conference has already filled its Tier 3 quota. We have 78 years of shared history with the two Mississippi schools, and they are major state universities, but for future expansion, the SEC should be targeting flagship public universities that have strong athletics and at least respectable academics. Texas A&M more than fills that bill. So would Missouri, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson. West Virginia? Memphis? Not so much. Maybe Louisville, but my enthusiasm is very tempered, and only as a last resort to get to an even number after 3 other stronger candidates have accepted.

Oil Money U

June 14th, 2010
2:12 pm

Anyone else find it interesting that the west coast, liberal Pac-10 wants oil-money schools like Texas and Oklahoma State? I know they don’t really care about Oklahoma State…but they sure do care about Texas. Guess they’re all about the almighty dollar, just like everyone else.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
2:13 pm

fbfan and Paul in RDU –
First time I’ve seen that EDSBS site. Looks like a sports version of The Onion.

“Holy —-! Man on —-ing Moon!” One of the funniest fake front page headline articles of all time.

collegeballfan

June 14th, 2010
2:14 pm

I cannot believe Texas will allow the Big 12 to dissolve and join the PAC 10/16. The Big 12 can add TCU and Houston and be a better conference than before Colo & Neb left for “greener pastures”.

And how big a vote does ESPN get in the proceedings? In the past TV money has been the deciding factor.

Clem Gryska

June 14th, 2010
2:15 pm

I suggest those “reporters” consult the latest APR concerning Alabama

Tom

June 14th, 2010
2:17 pm

Tide Rising,

If we went to 14, we would go from playing the other 5 non-permanent opponents from the other division twice every five years…to playing the other 6 non-permanent opponents from the other division twice every six years. Really not that big of a difference.

Of course, I’m assuming the number of conference games would increase to 9 (as most think it will).

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
2:18 pm

TEXASDwag.
Here is the academic info as a resource. It is dominated by ivy league, Michigan, Texas and pac 10/ACC schools. For the most part.

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
2:20 pm

Atlanta Gator –
“I won’t name-call among existing SEC members, but the conference has already filled its Tier 3 quota.”

Oops…I already did that. But you know from my memoirs posted last night that I am an extremist pointy-headed academic aristocrat. The fact that I spent 14 years on my Bachelor’s degree is a testiment to dedication to the pursuit of excellence.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
2:20 pm

Delbert D. -

EDSBS is the “child” of Spencer Hall, who used to use the pen-name of Orson Swindle before he … well, before he became … well, once upon a time he used to call himself that.

I think, if memory serves, Orson/Spencer is a Gator alum living in the greater ATL, but he’s not overly Gator-centric, FWIW. What’s fascinating about his site is how he keeps things interesting all year long.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
2:23 pm

Florida is the most prestigious SEC for academics. As stated by another person… The ACC sent its sacificial lambs to the SEC already. The quota has been met. No decent school would lower academics requirements… would do a lateral academic.

Tom

June 14th, 2010
2:23 pm

Yeppie,

You linked the grad school rankings. That’s not really what this is all about.

As far as national university undergraduate rankings go, Texas is tied with Florida at 47 and Florida is ranked 2nd in the SEC behind Vandy. I guess Texas thinks they’re a bunch of idiots and wouldn’t want to be part of conference where they tie for 2nd in academics.

The truth is, the bottom half of the Pac 10 (Wash St, Oregon, Oregon St, AZ, AZ St) is no better than the bottom half of the SEC. It’s just that the top half of the Pac 10 (UCLA, USC, Cal, Stanford, and Washington) is a few notches above the top half of the SEC (Vandy, Fla, UGA, Auburn, and Bama). Can’t really dispute that, so the Pac 10 is a stronger academic conference. Just not as much as some people think (or want people to think).

ryan

June 14th, 2010
2:24 pm

Texas and Oklahoma are not PAC 10 schools i just do not see how its going to work those schools traveling to Washington state and OR and even northern California it is going cost to a lot of money and also pull those students out of class. These presidents don’t care about education.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
2:25 pm

Here comes the DIVA of college football–That would be POLITICS.
Legislature in Texas is getting involved. That will delay any clarity to any alignment. The time bomb got more days before it gets reset again. This saga will go on for weeks….

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
2:28 pm

MrSEC report just in: http://www.mrsec.com/2010/06/texas-site-tweaks-report-espn-doesnt-nyt-jumps-in/

Note how Texas, A&M, and OU would be treated better than the rest … and wonder at how the other seven schools would like those terms ….

Typical Texas power-play, which is why the SEC and Pac10 should want nothing to do with the Austin sippers….

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
2:28 pm

Tom
Like any ranking or report. The criteria that the research or rates can be fixed to any menu. I take research given can be slanted.. Always have to look at the criteria at which the focus of the hypotheis is derivied with the variables percentage of gain to yield the conclusion.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
2:31 pm

I should have added that it seems to still be up in the air whether A&M will go along with the Big12-2 scheme hatched overnight by Texas. Pretty clear from the A&M boards that if it does go along, its alums will be perhaps 80% against it. They’ve been so excited to be courted by the SEC and want to come to the SEC instead of continuing to be the diss’ed tag-along of the Whorns….

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
2:32 pm

TOM..
You may want to link at the again. Look at the top business schools, top law schools, top medical schools, top engineering schools.

The rankings overall can be made to slant by whoever selects a criteria. Break down the “nuts and bolts” by segment.

5IML

June 14th, 2010
2:33 pm

Yeppie,

Fran got everything he deserved at aTm. He is second only to Phat Phil on the list of BAMA’s most hated villains.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
2:34 pm

This just posted on TexAgs, assuming the Big12-2 deal is on, with A&M involved in it:

“For the first time in a while, you had an energized fanbase that was truly excited about the prospects of our future. You were going to have us in a great conference where we were wanted. You were going to separate us from the shadow of Texas.

And now, you are going to give that all up. I hope you understand the backlash that will happen with this. Empty seats, fewer season ticket holders, low television ratings, and less money.

This is a decision that will impact our great University for years to come. Please make the right decision and join the SEC.

Sincerely,
Texas A&M current students, fans, and alumni.”

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
2:34 pm

Crackdaddy—-

Get back to me during ACC basketball season. With the exception of Duke and UNC, the ACC’s scholarship basketball players do not even begin to measure up to the comments you just made about the SEC’s football teams.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
2:34 pm

Dave in Tampa,

Its pretty much just you, me, and alphare that are worried about the loss of even more rivalries or reducing great rivalries that are played 4 times in 10 years to twice in 12 years. I don’t think its dawned on some fans yet on just how much we give up in the way of reduced or eliminated rivalries.

Atlanta gator pointed out that if we add 2 teams that there is a likelihood of AU and Bama moving to the east. I would welcome that but its also a given that with Bama, AU, UGA, UF, UT all in one division plus interdivisional games against teams like LSU that the east division would be a bloodbath. It would be incredibly difficult for anyone in the east to go unbeaten and get into the bcs title game. That schedule doesn’t even factor in games like South Carolina and UK which lately have been pulling some upsets here and there and 2 tough west division opponents like say LSU and Ark in any given year. In that scenario I think the west would be pretty weak with say LSU as the only powerful team and a bunch of middling teams like Ark, Ole miss, and A&M which hasn’t done a whole lot in years and years. There would be a super imbalance between the strength of the east vs the west.

Bottom line is that there is no easy answer and some of us are going to be mighty upset over losing a lot of these rivalries or reducing them to twice in 12 years.

Talking Rock Comm

June 14th, 2010
2:35 pm

I think the PAC 16 would limit the crossover games to the other side of the conference so travel cost’ would be similar to what they are now in the Big 12 so it’s a push on increased travel money.

The SEC should add Tex AM and then go after Va Tech or Louisville.

Dave In Tampa

June 14th, 2010
2:38 pm

Tide Rising – Agreed!

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
2:38 pm

51ML
Fran and Kiffin got what they deserved. I bet kiffin was paying reggie bush rent while he was an assistant at USC.. LOL…

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
2:41 pm

Tom –
“The truth is, the bottom half of the Pac 10 (Wash St, Oregon, Oregon St, AZ, AZ St) is no better than the bottom half of the SEC.

I agree.
The PAC-10 bottom “5″ (4) average is 111 (couldn’t count the 1 unranked school.)
The SEC bottom 6 (4) average is 120 (couldn’t count the 2 unranked schools.)

Hold on a minute

June 14th, 2010
2:53 pm

Tide Rising,

If we went to 14 teams and went to 9 conference games instead of 8, we would play the non-permanent opponents in the other division twice every 6 years. Not all that different from the current situation of twice every 5 years.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
2:55 pm

orangebloods.com partial quote:

“Also, the new television package WILL mean more money for Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma than it will for the little guys of the league. Those schools should stand to make $20 million from the new deal. “The other seven schools in the Big 12 would make between $14 million and $17 million, but would nearly double what they currently receive.””

This is a “beggars and looters” scenario. I hope all of the college football talk between now and the end of August is not about antitrust violations.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
2:57 pm

Hold on a minute,

If that is correct and it goes to twice every 6 years instead of twice every 5 years then I could easily live with that. I just heard twice in 12 years several times and for me as well as a lot of other fans that just wouldn’t work.

Ron Mexico

June 14th, 2010
3:00 pm

GeezusDawg

June 14th, 2010
3:00 pm

It would be hilarious if Iowa St and Kansas State bolted for the MWC – just when the Big 12 thought it was safe, the after-thoughts pull a power play.

Hold on a minute

June 14th, 2010
3:00 pm

Tide Rising,

It is correct. Of course, we would have to increase the number of conference games by 1. The twice in 12 years is if we leave the number of conference games at 8.

I think if we expand to 14, we definitely go with the additional conference game.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:03 pm

Atlanta gator,

You mentioned Mizzou as a possiblity but doesn’t that violate the tiger quota?

just kidding of course but Mizzou would be a good fit for a few reasons. They border 2 sec states if my geography memory serves me correctly(ark and tenn I think) and they would bring 2 large tv markets in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Mizzou, like A&M has underachieved but maybe joining the sec would help them get over the hump. With 2 large cities for recruiting and being the only game in town similar to LSU in LA. I consider Mizzou as a program that has potential but for whatever reason has never been able to fully tap it. Maybe joining the sec would get it done for them.

Huh?

June 14th, 2010
3:04 pm

If the Pac-16 limits the crossover games, then it isn’t really a conference. It’s a loose affiliation of schools.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:07 pm

Wow. Nine-game SEC schedule followed by the SEC championship game for the division champions. Everyone will be looking froward to games against Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. Heck, with a nine-game SEC schedule, the Florida-Georgia game may be treated as week off. LOL

Hold on a minute

June 14th, 2010
3:07 pm

Tide,

Sorry to keep correcting you bud but Mizzou actually borders 3 SEC states (Ark, Tenn, and KY). Granted, the Tenn and KY borders aren’t that long.

I like the Mizzou idea too.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:08 pm

Hold on for a minute,

Then that would work for me and everyone loses one pansy noncon game a year. That would maybe cost us all some money though since we all go from an easy revenue generating home noncon home game every year to a game that is home and home against an sec opponent. I’m not sure how the sec schools would feel about that but I’m just going to assume that financially it must make sense to add another sec game and that the money lost from a permanent home game against a noncon opponent is made up via more television revenue.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:08 pm

TR—-

If we take Mizzou, we go all in and taken Clemson, too. We corner the Tigers market, and start the SEC Tigger Division.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:10 pm

Hold on a minute,

My bad. I thought it was at least 2 sec states and of course sometimes I forget that Kentucky is indeed an sec member. Until basketball season comes and then I remember that they are in fact in the sec. Then if they border 3 sec states and are a good tv market it makes even more sense.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:10 pm

TR—-

Did they teach geography in Alabama? Much?