What we know, don’t know, about expansion

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

WHAT WE KNOW

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

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

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

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

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

FIVE THINGS WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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554 comments Add your comment

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
4:03 pm

Anti-alternative—-

Yes, I know it was a joke. I was kidding, too. Kinda.

= )

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
4:04 pm

AG, I was hoping the new Pac 16’s divisional matchup would be named something like the “Left versus Right game” or “Foam versus Suds” or “Bambi versus Godzilla”…wait, is that one taken?

5IML

June 14th, 2010
4:05 pm

ESPN has updated their site to say Texas is “considering” staying in the Big XII. I guess Orangebloods.com won the battle with big, bad ESPN. I wonder how Schad feels right now.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
4:05 pm

On thing is certain about all of this realignment chaos: I have gained a newfound respect for Tom Osborne.

Don’t mess with Nebraska.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
4:06 pm

I’ve already seen that move. Ever seen “Bambi’s Revenge?”

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
4:08 pm

No. Intriguing…sounds like YouTube time…

P-Man

June 14th, 2010
4:11 pm

Both of those movies are hilarious!

No, a conference is not required to have a championship game with 12 teams.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
4:14 pm

Forgot to add.
Texas atm claims “temporary insanity” and deny the scenario existed.

Take care bloggers and it seems some changes will happen but some things never change. The only thing that should change in college football is everyone should have green grass/turf. Boise State blue turf ought to be a violation and disrepect to the game of football.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
4:16 pm

Bambi reminds me of an interesting question I once had after a beer…with all the hunting that goes on in the South how did no team end up with a mascot and logo like Browning’s? Seems like if a team like Colorado uses a buffalo (which is easy to shoot, stands there and dies) then someone would have chosen a Buck at some point. Odd. Or maybe a Moose in the NorthWest…

John Doe

June 14th, 2010
4:16 pm

So is it safe to say this new version of the Big 12 will be even more slanted towards the University of Texas?

I think Nebraska and Colorado are chuckling to themselves at this (and glad they got out).

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
4:18 pm

JD, Nebraska is definitely the winner in this one so far. UPGRADE!

John Doe

June 14th, 2010
4:21 pm

This new Big 12 is going to be WEAK. Big time ground lost to the Big Ten and Pac 10.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
4:22 pm

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
4:28 pm

From Liucci on the TexAgs board, indicating that all is not over (from his perspective as an A&M insider):

“Hey guys…a lot of stuff is happening and we’ve been all over it with updates as they happen in real time. With the nature of this story and the ever-changing situation, you might want to really consider jumping on board with a premium subscription for just a month. It will allow you to get all of the latest updates with accurate and timely information. It will also give you an opportunity to see what we’re all about.

To upgrade your subscription, click on the following link and select the “Premium” option: TexAgs.com/subscribe

The following is my latest post, sharing my opinion on what the Aggies actually hold the cards in this deal and why I feel they should sit tight and make the most informed decision possible.

———–

In my opinion, this is pretty simple and the Ags could play this perfectly if they wait. That’s it. Wait. Texas overplayed its hand early and is now trying to commandeer saving the Big 12. They could very well pull it off. If they do, the credit should go to A&M. After all, it was A&M NOT Texas still trying to preserve the league when officials from both schools met in Austin on Thursday.

If Texas announces something today in regards to trying to keep the Big 12 together, A&M should wait. Regroup and come to the decision that is the ABSOLUTE BEST for A&M. Not the politically correct or popular move. What’s BEST for Texas A&M and Texas A&M athletics moving forward. That is NOT a decision that needs to be made today.

What is the Big 12 going to do? Pressure A&M into jumping in at the same time with everyone? Are you kidding me? The Ags hold the cards here, not Texas, not anyone else. This is a power move by the Horns, a pressure play if ever there was one. Even if the Ags do decide the Big 12 is the best bet, they can take their time with this thing and not be pressured. The Big 12 isn’t going anywhere and, even if it did, A&M would have this neat little conference called the SEC to fall back on.

The irony of Texas’ latest play could be that it actually takes some of the pressure OFF of A&M, at least in terms of a timetable.

The Aggies haven’t had one but TWO meetings with SEC officials over the past two weeks and came away VERY impressed. However, under no circumstances did the A&M decision-makers want to be forced to choose the SEC because the Pac-10 offer wasn’t available. The goal was ALWAYS to make the best choice for Texas A&M University…not the one they HAD to make.

That, my friends, is what makes the concept that A&M turned down the Pac-10 yesterday so incredibly laughable. In light of what’s happened today and late last night, don’t you think a deal would have been done almost immediately after telling the Pac-10 no? Or before even?

Just wait and make the right decision. Leave no doubt.”

http://www.texags.com/main/forum.reply.asp?topic_id=1640843&forum_id=5

John Doe

June 14th, 2010
4:32 pm

fbfan,

Do you even have an offer from the SEC yet? Are you sure?

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
4:33 pm

I’m not an Aggie, just feel for ‘em.

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
4:34 pm

I would have to say it does indeed now look like A&M now has a little more leverage than what people are thinking. Goof for them. Kinda fun to see Texas get needled a little bit.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
4:36 pm

The winner=
1. Nebraska wins the expansion saga
2..Texas is the distant winner-however that makes the Big 12 (OR IS NOW THE BIG 10???) lets add confustion to the saga. Better yet.. the Big 10 is now the BIG 12???? Think about that…
3. SEC wins or ties as second winner as it can does not have to react immediately
4. Loser Pac conf. Still a weak conference.

I think the Big 10 which is now the Big 12 (Granted they learn to count), and the Big 12 is now the Big 10.

Big 10 or Big 12? Big 12 is the big 10???

yee haw… Hook’em Horns.. Stay strong SEC in football. Now the second rated best football conference (former big 12) has become more weaker. Nebraska was the only competitive in the north. ouch.. Well still have Texas and OU and solid players like Texas Tech, Ok state, atm. That is not an SEC type of football competition. It is what it is..

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
4:37 pm

I agree with anti-alternative that Nebraska is the big winner out of all this so far.
If the Big 12 – 2 + ? stays together and the other conferences stay pat, it will all only be until Jim Delany decides to expand the Big 10 + 2 further.

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
4:41 pm

Many are calling Big12-2 the “Little 10″ or “BigXII lite”, and others the UTconference or UT and the 9 dwarves…. Many other names. If it comes to be, it should be thought of as the BIG3 and the little7. It’s just destined to blow-up the minute a school like Mizzou gets a better offer (say, from the Big10 or SEC). Kansas and Mizzou must be so sad to realize how much more under Texas’ thumb they’d be in the Little 10.

Erik

June 14th, 2010
4:43 pm

I hope the SEC offers the Aggies anyway and they tell Texas to stick it. Let’s beef up and go to 14 teams. Bring in FSU or Virginia Tech to balance the East. Get it done.

Go Dawgs.

flapjacket

June 14th, 2010
4:49 pm

Why do my comments never get posted to the board?

fbfan

June 14th, 2010
4:49 pm

As reported by SportsbyBrooks:

“From Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch: “If Texas gets more money ($20-25 mill a year) than other Big 12 schools, no one can say Horns never play anyone. They just played everyone.”"

flapjacket

June 14th, 2010
4:53 pm

Well there you go. A summary of what I had typed previously was that the SEC is built on brand and matchups, not TV markets. Adding any ACC team other than the southernmost 4 dilutes the brand by provinding boring matchups save for VT, which ain’t coming without UVA, which ain’t coming. I don’t think UM is a fit. Clemson, FSU, Tech would add good matchups that would carry a significant national interest.

With A&M and OU, you get some good matchups out west AND TV markets, which is a bonus. But I don’t think they come. So, I think SEC expansion includes taking one or more of these three ACC teams, and FSU will not be let in unless GT is, IMHO, becaue UF won’t allow it.

I think the Big 12 stays together, the Pac 10 adds one more (Utah), and the Big 10 stays at 12, though. I think we’re done for a while.

Texas and Notre Dame, 2 peas in a pod

June 14th, 2010
4:55 pm

Does anybody that has to deal with the University of Texas actually like being associated with them? Nebraska hates them. Colorado doesn’t care for them (they wouldn’t have bolted otherwise). A&M hates them. Oklahoma doesn’t seem too fond either but they’re too tied to Texas recruiting hotbeds to break away. Seems like a recurring theme.

I think there are a lot of similarities between Texas and Notre Dame. They make a lot of demands and eventually wear out their welcome. Probably why Notre Dame isn’t in a conference. No one has agreed to a deal that meets their demands.

sec

June 14th, 2010
4:58 pm

SEC will never invite, G. Tech, FSU, Memphis or S. Miss. or Clemson. if Texas A&M comes ,and Oklahoma goes with Texas , then I would look for Missouri , V Tech, Miami.

Anti-alternative

June 14th, 2010
5:05 pm

sec, reasons?

You’ve got to see how some of those schools would further purify the Southeastern brand and add rivalry firepower (Hint: People tune in to watch rivalry games). The three strongest cases for SEC admittance currently within the SEC footprint are Tech, FSU and Clemson. Miami and VT are outside the footprint but have already gone on record reaffirming their loyalty to the ACC. UNC basically runs the ACC front office with Duke, NCSU and Wake. So at least give some good reasons that those three aforementioned ACC schools in SEC country would be bad ideas. They all seem to add basketball weight and two of the three add academic weight. They’re all historic rivals to SEC programs, and they’d lock up Southeastern recruiting soil for the conference. Seems they’d fit in alright.

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
5:06 pm

There are several reasons why ND is not in a conference for FB:
1) Contract with NBC = $$$ that they don’t have to share
2) Guarantee to be in a BCS Bowl if they have a high enough ranking = $$$$$ that they don’t have to share
3) Ability to control their FB schedule

You forgot a tiger

June 14th, 2010
5:06 pm

Man fbfan has been shilling for his website all day. Surprised he’s been able to slink through the screeners.

OakTree

June 14th, 2010
5:07 pm

Texas and Notre Dame very much “2 peas in a pod”

One big difference- Texas actually wins football games and qualifies for bcs bowls. They beat OU soundly in two years ago and some how OU with AP press was able to sneak into the BCS champ game against Florida.

Actually, I would Florida as cousin to Texas and Notre Dame…>>>><<<

Texas/Notre Dame and thier cousin Florida…

Texas and Notre Dame, 2 peas in a pod

June 14th, 2010
5:13 pm

Paul,

I agree. I was trying to say that ND has probably already given their demands to the Big Ten and the Big Ten told them no. Their demands would have to be substantial to throw out the reasons you specified.

Speaking of ND’s schedule, it’s very weak and they still can’t win.

OakTree

June 14th, 2010
5:17 pm

If atm does not agree to the Big 12 terms. Then the big 12 will seek to add another team and give atm a time frame. Power play 101.. Yet it could happen.. TCU, courtship arkansas???

OakTree

June 14th, 2010
5:20 pm

I do not the facts but it is true.
Notre Dame does not a conference. That sounds terrible, but it is true.
TV contracts, bcs bid when qualified, etc

Only thing that will force them to a conference is super conferences because it limits teams to play ooc games.

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
5:24 pm

Texas and ND – I am no fan of ND and think that the best thing for them is to join the Big 10 (+2 +?).
However, they seem to think that they are exceptional.

Ten Gallon Shooter

June 14th, 2010
5:27 pm

Dear biatches (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M),

Welcome to the newest conference in college football, the Texas Controlled Conference or TCC (or Big 12 Lite if you prefer). You’ll get nothing and like it!

Sincerely,
The University of Texas

jumbeauxtiger

June 14th, 2010
5:28 pm

For anyone interested in reading the USC infractions report:

http://assets.espn.go.com/preview/100610/espn_uscpenalties.pdf

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
5:34 pm

OakTree,
What’s you basis for lumoing in UF with UT and ND?

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
5:35 pm

Okay, I just woke up from a nap; where were we? Right…hey Beebe: show..me..the..Money!

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
5:35 pm

Ten Gallon Shooter,
I want a hamburger, no I want a cheeseburger. I want a hot dog, no I want a chili dog….

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
5:36 pm

OakTree—-

We can argue about the whole world’s most obnoxious fans thing, but I think you would be hard-pressed to say that Florida has ever been anything other than a loyal member of the SEC. Nor has Florida ever made unreasonable demands on its conference sisters, nor tired to out and out screw them on a financial basis. Florida was part of the all-for-one, one-for-all SEC loyalty oath when the Gators were small fries, and that is still their attitude now. Heck, I’m still flabbergasted that any university would demand a greater than equal share. Afterall, even when one school becomes a kingpin, that school still has to have opponents to play in order to be a kingpin. Frankly, I think it’s a sad state of affairs when Texas can demand a greater share of the pie, and get away with it. They will never get an invitation to join the SEC or the Big Ten if that’s one of their demands, and I hope to God all 12 SEC members would vote against that deal if the commissioner ever proposed it. Not even Alabama at its 1960s-1970s peak was so arrogant as to demand such a thing.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
5:36 pm

Beast from the East – That’s ok, I do it all the time.

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
5:38 pm

AG,
OakTree appears to be another bitter pup. My best guess anyway.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
5:39 pm

Gene Stallings sez, “I feel strongly both ways.”

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
5:42 pm

As for Arkansas, why in God’s good name would they take a conference revenue pay cut for the privilege of being tormented by Texas?

I used to admire the University of Texas, and I’ve had some very good friends who were alumni. Based on what I’ve seen and what I’ve learned over the last several days, I have to say that comparing Texas to Notre Dame is a little unfair—-to Notre Dame.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
5:44 pm

Nah. OakTree’s a good egg. He’s just venting.

Maintain your Gator oblesse oblige.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
5:44 pm

TCU is in a soon-to-be BCS conference now. Why jump into the shark tank with the Great White and the Lampreys?

Dostoyevskiy

June 14th, 2010
5:44 pm

So what I gained so far, is that no one wants to join the SEC, and things will remain as usual: Alabama and Fl beating the tar out of everyone else, with Kentucky remaining the only viable bb program in the conference.

aggie94

June 14th, 2010
5:46 pm

The Horns have always pushed b-c no one could push back….I hope we push back and join the SEC.(although I may be simply selecting another poison for my Aggies)

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
5:47 pm

Damn. That’s “Noblesse oblige.” I need a proofreader.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
5:51 pm

fbfan
You make some very valid points. I think the shift clearly moves from Texas, Pac, SEC to the Big 10 and SEC.
I hope the SEC becomes proactive in this round.