Texas is staying in the Big 12, which means there will still be a Big 12, though perhaps not with a dozen members and certainly not with the same dozen. Texas staying means the biggest card in the Great Conference Shuffle hasn’t fallen and won’t fall, which means the Great Shuffle won’t be so great after all.
Texas staying put means that Oklahoma will, too, and Texas A&M surely will as well. The Associated Press and ESPN.com are reporting that all three stand to make at least $20 million per year from the reconfigured Big 12 television package, which is more than an SEC school earns in TV money. The Big 12 will be lessened by the loss of Nebraska to the Big 10 and Colorado to the Pac-10, but lessened isn’t devastated.
And the six big leagues — the SEC, the ACC, the Big 10, the Big 12, the Pac-10 and the Big East — should now emerge from the summer shaken but not truly stirred. College football in the next decade should resemble the college football we saw this past decade. The landscape has changed, but most of the familiar names figure to be popping up in the same familiar places.
And that means the greater good will have been served. (Not that college football much cares about the greater good. If it did, there’d be no BCS — there’d be a playoff system to determine a national champion.) The thought of the Pac-10 growing by half a dozen and the SEC and the Big 10 fighting over the scraps would have been unseemly at best and abhorrent at worst. These are, lest we forget, supposed to be institutions of higher learning.
Speaking of which: Today’s economic lesson is that a little TV revenue can go a long way toward making the grass at home seem greener. (Get it? Green? As in money?) Texas and Oklahoma and Texas A&M were pretty rich already, and the overtures from afar — the Pac-10 was making eyes at the Longhorns and the Sooners, and the SEC was courting the Aggies — only succeeded in making them richer still. Ain’t capitalism great?