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

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:13 pm

atlant gator,

That would be funny. The tigger division with 4 tigger teams. Maybe Mizzou could form a commercial deal with kellogg’s which is probably headquartered in one of those midwestern agricultural states anyway and sign Tony the tiger to a marketing deal. That would be grrrrrrrrreat!

ryan

June 14th, 2010
3:15 pm

Breaking News Texas is staying in the Big 12 Texas is going to get paid around 20 Mill to 25 Mill and will have its own network so all this talk of a super confrence is all but dead.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:15 pm

Battle Creek, Michigan, for the geographically impaired.

Aggies staying too?

June 14th, 2010
3:16 pm

Enter your comments here

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:16 pm

I just plain forgot about Kentucky. Its easy to do when you’re thinking about football.You guys can understand that can’t you.

Hold on a minute

June 14th, 2010
3:17 pm

Tide,

I know in Georgia’s case, the extra home and home SEC game would take the place of one of the 2 home and homes with a BCS conf opponent that we currently have. Georgia Tech is the permanent one of the 2 and that isn’t going anywhere. But our trips to places such as Tempe, Stillwater, Boulder, Louisville, Clemson, and Eugene would be done. We would still keep the other 2 creampuff home games.

So the net effect to Georgia is basically zero. With that being said, most, if not all, SEC teams do not play 2 home and homes out of conference.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:17 pm

No offense to the mildcats out there.

Tommy Tuberville

June 14th, 2010
3:17 pm

I heard Auburn was jumping to the Sunbelt. Hope so.

Aggies staying too?

June 14th, 2010
3:17 pm

You forgot a tiger

June 14th, 2010
3:17 pm

You forgot about the Memphis Tigers. I really don’t want to extend them an invite. Looks like the Tigger division is dead on arrival

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:18 pm

ryan—-

Good. If the Pac-10 Berkeley crowd didn’t want Baptists from Baylor, they’re going to love Mormons from Utah and/or BYU.

= )

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:23 pm

Based on Texas’ behavior in strong-arming Nebraska and Texas A&M, and trying to ditch Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri, you can just feel the love in the room. Colorado—-gone. Nebraska—-gone. Remaining members angry. Chief rival—-distrustful, and contemplating a separate conference affiliation. I give the whole thing two seasons, tops, assuming it doesn’t go of the rails in the next 7 to 10 days.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:25 pm

You forgot a tiger—-

I should have qualified that: “corner the market on Division I major college football Tigers.” We want Tigers, not orange house cats.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:26 pm

I thought Cal-berkeley preached all about inclusiveness, open mindedness, tolerance for other points of view, religions, etc. Or does that not extend to Baptists? Maybe that goes in line though with their views that everyone is equal but that some opinions and views are less equal than others.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:26 pm

AG, then forget Clemson!

Hold on a minute

June 14th, 2010
3:27 pm

ATL Gator, I couldn’t agree more. This is not going to hold together long term, especially with the Pac-10, Big Ten, and SEC looking at expansion.

Hell, it sounds like Texas is still pushing everybody around. I wouldn’t be surprised if A&M still wanted to switch.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:28 pm

Tide Rising—-

Yes, when discussing Berkeley, “Animal Farm” does strike me as the proper frame of reference.

5IML

June 14th, 2010
3:28 pm

Looks like it all over (for right) now. Pac10 will had one more and become the Pac12. Big XII is now only X and will not have a championship game. Big 10 is now 12. SEC is still the Best XII.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:28 pm

Tide, exactly. That little “equals” sticker on the back of everyone’s Prius in Berkeley tends to mean you had better not believe in absolute Truth of any kind. Only the “open minded” are equals…everyone else is…non-human I guess? Gimme a football Saturday in the South followed by church on Sunday!

Oil Money U = Texas

June 14th, 2010
3:31 pm

I’m still surprised the liberals on the west coast wanted the king of all oil money schools! I guess their principles are for sale.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:32 pm

Anti-alternative—-

Alternatively, we could put Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State and Mizzou in the same group and call it the “Cats and Dogs Sleeping Together Division.” Add the Gators, and call it the “Snack Time by the Canal Division.”

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:32 pm

Well, if Tejas is staying put then all the drama is officially over now. The only question now is if the big 12 will stick with 10 members or recruit 2 more so that they will keep a championship game format. I think you have to have 2 divisions of 6 or more teams to have a championship game according to the ncaa. Pac 10 i think now just needs to invite Utah to get to 12 team status and a championship game and the big 10 is already there. Everything should be good to go now. Anyone think the big 12 will go after 2 more teams or just stick with 10 and play a round robin schedule similar to what the pac 10 has always done?

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:37 pm

AG, I’m in. Can we pit my Yellow Jackets against the winner? As a fan in the last 5 years I’ve learned only to take Georgia and LSU seriously out of that group. Then they can go on and get Gator chomped.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
3:37 pm

5IML –

Looking as if you’re right. If 12th Pac team = Utah, then my CU Buffaloes are smiling. Probably wouldn’t be as rich as with a Pac16, but much happier without Texas. ANY league is much, much happier without Texas.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:37 pm

So it looks like out of all this that the big 12 loses 2 schools including a heavyweight in Nebraska and Texas just ends up creating a lot of ill will due to its bullying, pompousness, and arrogance. But at least it looks like they got their big money package and the new texas tv network. Good for you Tejas. Hope it was all worth it.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:38 pm

All kidding aside, when the new bubble-gum-spit-and-duct-tape Big XII (X) falls apart again, and the Longhorns come calling, someone remember to tell them that we’ve already accepted Texas A&M and Missouri based on an already-executed option contract. But, it’s all for the best we wouldn’t want them to sully their top-47 ranking among the academically unwashed of the SEC. They can form their own conference with Notre Dame for all I care.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:39 pm

“Yellow Jackets are like the buzzing of flies to Albert.”

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
3:41 pm

I like the concept of the Tigger Division – LSU, Auburn, Clemson, Mizzou, Memphis. You’d have to put UK in there to make a full compliment of wild cats

jumbeauxtiger

June 14th, 2010
3:42 pm

I agree with you TR. I don’t want to lose any of our rivalries and if the SEC expands I hope it is only to 14 and not 16.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:42 pm

That sounds like the best idea today. Tejas and ND can form their own 2 team conference.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:43 pm

So if the Big 12 (10) can convince A&M to quit whining and stay then, yeah, I think they’ll try to grab 2 more teams. The question is whether those teams would even listen. The Big 12 wouldn’t seem all that stable, and success doesn’t seem to get you anywhere if your name is not TEXAS (ask TTU, TAMU, OK and OKSU…or Kansas, Mizzou, etc.)

Who would they look at, though? My gut says they should at least try for Utah or BYU, but they seem too far West and might want into the Pac deal. So perhaps shades of the old SWAC come in and you see them talking to Houston, TCU, SMU or perhaps Tulsa. Anyone have other ideas? Hardon-Simmons might listen to an offer.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:43 pm

Paul in RDU—-

See comment @3:32 above.

P-Man

June 14th, 2010
3:44 pm

No one’s mentioned this, but if the Big 12 would simply add 2 Texas teams, say Houston and TCU, and move Oklahoma and Oklahoma St to the north, then the balance is actually much better. Of course the problem with the Big 12, as with the Big 10 and Pac 10, is that it is essentially the Big 2 and Little 10.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:47 pm

AG, come on, man. Don’t discount how scary a regular season game against CPJ’s offense could be without time to prepare. I’m not sayin’ we’d win…but it could be fun! Admit it. You’d love to play us again. I think both our student populations are alleged jorts wearers, no?

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
3:48 pm

Well, all this speculation could end soon. Seems like Texas will get its 20-25 mill shared money with qualifiers on top of the revenue and its own TV network.
The BIG LOSER= Pac 10 commish.
SEC= Will not be foreced to react to any PAC movements.
WILD CARD=SEC needs to watch the Big 10 for any movements.

Yes, the big 12 north colleges are going to whine.. However, they would rather get a little bit more money and still have some share of the revenue versus not having a conference.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:49 pm

Anti-alternative,

The 2 Utah teams out west do seem to not be a geographic fit with the big 12 so I can’t see that. Not sure if OU would allow Tulsa to be on equal footing with them and OSU. I don’t think Tejas would object to Houston and tcu though but one of them probably tcu would have to play in the north division. As good as tcu has been they draw very poorly something like 40k a game if that. Same with Houston although some people on here have noted that Houston is a tier 3 school but that they have a large enrollment of something like 35 k. Houston and I think TCU both used to be members of the old swac so maybe they would be welcomed by Tejas and the big 12.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
3:49 pm

Tiger market… That is funny..

jumbeauxtiger

June 14th, 2010
3:50 pm

I guess it doesn’t matter now about the SEC expanding.

Out of all this the Pac-10 only ends up with Colorado and likely Utah. I would say the Pac-10 failed in becoming a power conference and their championship game will be comparable to Conference USA’s.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:50 pm

P-man. Agree. Houston might be more likely than TCU, though. Remember that the MWC just got deeper with BSU added. I think that’s 4 or 5 decent teams for them now? They’ll be getting an AQ bid and upgraded TV deal within two years, methinks. But money is money. TCU may want to take on the Big 12 teams anyway…who knows?!

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:52 pm

P-man,

That’s a good idea. That right there would solve the big 12’s problem of getting back to 12 teams and a title game.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:53 pm

Tide, I think we see eye to eye on it.

Houstonians that don’t get into UT, TAMU, or A&M are happy going to UH. The smart ones go to Rice. They all wish they could still play each other in football. Heck, the state of Texas could do alright with a league all its own just like the state of Florida could!

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:53 pm

Anti-alternative—-

Got nothing to add on the “jorts” topic. I am Brooks Bros. khaki shorts Gator.

If the Jackets want to play the Gators, give Jeremy Foley a call. I bet he’s in the office today. If you do get on the schedule, tell CPJ to remember to bring the Jackets defense to Gainesville.

P-Man

June 14th, 2010
3:54 pm

BTW, the SWAC still exists. It’s the Southwest Concerence that disbanded.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:55 pm

You’re right. My bad. Used the wrong name I guess.

Tom Osborne was right

June 14th, 2010
3:55 pm

Always heard that Coach O didn’t care for Texas and their strong-arm tactics. Now I understand why the Huskers bolted.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
3:56 pm

Here is SPECULATION-NEW FLASH
6 years from now…
1. SEC unites with Big East
2. Big 12 south unites with ACC – did that for academics (big picture)
Still preserving the tiger market…..
3. Pac and Big 10 unite with the remaining big 12 north and MWC conf teams.

Meanwhile, Ivy league gets big bucks because they taking research funding and patent a more effecient and cost effective form of travel and they make more money than all conferences combined. Thus making the above scenario acceptable for travel.. ahhh..

HA ha ha… Take care..

Compliment to the SEC… excluding academics… Best overall athletic conference.. It is the SEC, then Texas, OU and everyone else..

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
3:57 pm

Out of all this comes the idea that 5 of the 6 bcs conferences now have a playoff for a conference champion. That could get us that much closer to a 4 team playoff. Out of 5 championship games it would be pretty easy to get 4 deserving teams. Of course a 5th team would be left out but in most every year out of 5 championship games factoring in an upset we could probably easily get to 4 deserving teams for a 4 team playoff without a great deal of argument over a 5th team such as a 2 or even 3 loss bcs champion being left out. I really think that this could be the only good thing to come out of all this.

5IML

June 14th, 2010
3:57 pm

I know the rules say you can’t have a conference championship with less than 12 teams but is a championship game mandatory if you have 12 or more? I’m asking because the Pac12 (assuming Utah is added) looks really weak so they might want to avoid a championship game.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
3:59 pm

jumbeauxtiger—-

Yup. With USC banned from post-season play, the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game should draw huge national television rating when they match the Pot-Smoking North Division champion Stanford Pine Trees against the Desert is Effing Hot South Division champion Arizona State Gremlins.

Did anyone watch the ACC championship game last year? I mean, other than the players’ parents?

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
3:59 pm

AG, the jorts thing was a joke. Georgia kids say to both of us all the time. Us for supposedly being nerds and yall for supposedly being…I don’t know…Floridians or something.

I’d love to see GT back with some old SEC rivals Florida being just one. I agree our defense is a scary question this season. I just hope they show up for the big road games and especially in Athens. I’ll say that if our O-line improves, though, our offense could score on most teams in the country. Big D-lines have shut us down in the past 2 seasons. I have no idea how we’d fare if we were thrown into the SEC next season. Fun to think about though.