Texas to the ACC? I’m not buying it.
If you missed it, the latest rumor on College Sports Conference Armageddon has Texas holding conversations with the ACC about joining the conference if and when the Big 12 implodes. This would amount to a coup for the ACC, which has been perceived to be less than aggressive than other conferences during this insanity — which probably is a point in the ACC’s favor.
Texas is the domino that is causing most of this mess. When it got into bed with ESPN and started the Longhorn Network, the deal did not go over well with their Big 12 brethren. Having a major TV outlet tends to give a school significant advantages when it comes to matters of recruiting, promotion and almost everything else. That’s what spurred Texas A&M (likely headed for the SEC) to ask out. That’s what may prompt Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to leave.
With the possibility of the Big 12 crumbling, Texas is like the unescorted super model who just walked into the party. Every conference is staring at them.
The problem is the Longhorn Network. The Pacific 12, the most likely destination for Texas, says their conference TV deal would conflict with the Longhorn Network. And the Big Ten already has the Big Ten Network. And the SEC — yeah, they kind of have these big deals also.
The ACC has a major contract with ESPN, but apparently is listening to Texas’s pitch (and vice versa). But something tells me Texas isn’t serious about this. It’s all about trying to get leverage. The ACC pulls the school away from its recruiting and fan base. Should the Big 12 fold, I think the Longhorns will end up either joining the Pacific 12 or going independent, like Notre Dame (until something better comes along).
The Austin American Statesman quoted a Texas source as saying, “Texas’ first choice is to keep the Big 12 together.” But that’s not entirely true. Its first choice really is to keep its TV deal together. They just don’t want to look like the bad guy.
Texas would significantly help the ACC steal some attention from the behemoth that is the SEC. But my sense is that the conference is just being used.
By Jeff Schultz