Great minds agree: Oklahoma could have been SEC-bound

Joe Simpson and I were talking last night at the ol’ ballpark, and we’re of like minds on one salient notion: We both believe Oklahoma could well have landed in the SEC. (What, you expected us to discuss baseball?)

Joe, as you doubtless know, is both an Oklahoma native and an OU alum. And he was saying the e-mails were already flying toward Norman — some of them written by him — asking the burning question: “Why should we follow Texas to the Pac-10?” And I’m guessing that enough other OU backers felt the same, and that the much-rumored Big 12 westward exodus might not have included the Sooner Schooner.

Yes, it’s a moot point now. The Big 12 renegotiated its TV package and Texas agreed to stay put and what one highly placed collegiate athletics administrator foresaw as “chaos” never actually occurred. But I’m still thinking a Texas move to the Pac-10 would not have induced Oklahoma to follow meekly along. I’m thinking the Sooners would have questioned the wisdom of joining a lesser and more distant league and would have responded favorably to the overture sure to come from the SEC.

You’ll be shocked to hear this, but OU folks don’t much care to think of themselves as the northern outcropping of Texas. They like to think they have an identity unto themselves, thanks very much. And they still could have kept the Texas-OU game in Dallas without being part of the Longhorns’ conference. Don’t Georgia Tech and Georgia meet on an annual basis? Don’t Clemson and South Carolina? Don’t Florida State and Florida?

And now, since we’re still fantasizing, we might as well go whole hog. Figure Auburn would have moved from the SEC West to the East, and figure Oklahoma and Texas A&M would have slotted into the SEC West. And these would have been your new divisions:

East: Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

West: Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.

Pretty stout league, it would have been. Especially that Western side. And it would have been fun, some fine year, to see the Sooner Schooner rolling across the floor of the Georgia Dome the first Saturday in December. With Joe Simpson driving.

174 comments Add your comment

yowza

June 17th, 2010
10:31 am

yowza

June 17th, 2010
10:31 am

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2010
10:32 am

Yowza, yowza.

Driver 8

June 17th, 2010
10:32 am

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2010
10:34 am

Take a break, Driver 8.

learn something everyday

June 17th, 2010
10:36 am

yeah they still could have scheduled OU vs UT but UT would also still have to schedule UT vs aTm. Not sure scheduleing both of those as OOC games would have panned out.

Scott Wallace

June 17th, 2010
10:38 am

There would be no Sooner Schooner rolling across the floor of the Georgia Dome the first Saturday in December with Saban coaching in Tuscaloosa.

Old School

June 17th, 2010
10:40 am

Seems like everyone is getting sick of Texas. How do you think Darrell Royal feels about all this? Played for Wilkinson at OU but was Coach and AD at Texas for years. One thing is for sure, I wish he was still in charge in Austin instead of those ya-hoos there now.

SimpleDawg

June 17th, 2010
10:40 am

I, too, believe that OU and T A&M would’ve opted for the SEC instead of the Pac-10….if the Big XII had folded.

I think all of the remaining conference members ( minus Nebraska and Colorado ) preferred to remain in the Big XII.

I’m glad things worked out as they did, although I would still like to see the Big XII add TCU and Houston in order to retain their championship game.

T3

June 17th, 2010
10:41 am

I wonder if OKSt would have had to go with OK?

Super Conference

June 17th, 2010
10:42 am

or, leave Auburn in the west and add VaTech and Clemson to the east. There is your first Super-16 conference.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2010
10:43 am

I wondered how long it would take to hear from an Alabama fan. Scott Wallace makes me wonder no more.

TXDawg

June 17th, 2010
10:44 am

Mark, you couldn’t dare to think that OU would’ve headed for the green pastures of the SEC without Oklahoma State on it’s heels. If ever there was a package deal (like some mentioned with Texas and A&M) Oklahoma and Oklahoma St are almost inseparable. Go ask Boone Pickens.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2010
10:44 am

T. Boone might just have started his own league.

TXDawg

June 17th, 2010
10:45 am

Personally, I would’ve loved seeing the SEC add TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma St. (Considering Texas was headed to the Pac 10).

TXDawg

June 17th, 2010
10:46 am

Lol, you’re probably right about T.Boone.

content dawgfan

June 17th, 2010
10:47 am

Call me crazy, but I’m content with the SEC like it is. It’s already hard enough to win the league without adding a couple of other tough teams. One thing that not many people mentioned in the expansion discussion is the sheer difficulty of our league as it is. Adding teams could have hurt everyone’s chances of making it to the BCS. Texas/OK, on the other hand, basically have a cake walk in the newly comprised Big 12 (or 10, it’s confusing). The winner of that game each year has basically just stamped their ticket to the BCS. I wonder if voters in the polls will hold it against them that they’re now playing in an even more watered down version of the already weak Big 12?

TXDawg

June 17th, 2010
10:48 am

….finishing my thought there about expansion. Those additions would’ve definitely opened the Dallas TV market to the SEC and given the SEC West more pop! (considering the fact that Bama and Auburn would likely have moved to the SEC East.

Phillip Hare from Talladega

June 17th, 2010
10:48 am

Auburn should be kicked out of the SEC period.

Pathetic bunch of d-bag losers…..

Saban rules, get use to it Bradley.

TXDawg

June 17th, 2010
10:49 am

How is the Big 12 watered down with the loss of Colorado and Nebraska?

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2010
10:49 am

You make a good point, content dawgfan. It just got easier to go 12-0 in the Big 12.

Don't think so

June 17th, 2010
10:51 am

No way the SEC would have wanted Oklahoma or Texas A&M. Adding those teams would jeopardize the number of cream puff games the SEC plays OOC. If the SEC does decide to expand, they should invite Georgia State and The Citadel…at least then they could argue, “but, but…they’re conference games!”.

TXDawg

June 17th, 2010
10:52 am

Big 12 is top heavy….Texas and OU….any other team challenging for a title is a crapshoot. So losing two teams mid-level or worse doesn’t water down a conference.

Mightydawg

June 17th, 2010
10:54 am

Everyone wants to credit Texas with saving the Big 12(10). Actually, aTm and OU likely saved the Big 12(10) by refusing to blindly follow Texas and instead consider the SEC. Slive played it perfectly. He did not want to expand the SEC, he wanted to do just enough to keep the Big 12(10) from folding.

The Truth

June 17th, 2010
10:59 am

This is off the subject but the myth about the Pac 10 being a great academic conference is just about dead. They’re adding Utah, which is ranked 126 among national universities. They already have Washington State (ranked 106), Oregon (115), Oregon State (tier 3), Arizona (102), and Arizona State (121). That’s half the conference outside the top 100. Of those 6, only 2 are in the Big Ten/Pac 10 praised AAU (Oregon and Arizona).

And before it fell through, they were looking at adding Oklahoma (102), Oklahoma State (tier 3), and Texas Tech (tier 3). None of those 3 are in the AAU.

I don’t ever want to hear that the Pac 10 is a great academic conference again. Enough of the b.s.

content dawgfan

June 17th, 2010
11:02 am

TXDawg, I’ll give you Colorado is mid-level, but not Nebraska. They came within a whisker of beating Texas last year and that defense was impressive by anybody’s assessment. Pelini has done an excellent job, and they’re on the upswing again.

Beast from the East

June 17th, 2010
11:02 am

Don’t think so,
Envy is not a flattering personality trait. You might want to self-evaluate.

Alphare

June 17th, 2010
11:02 am

I am not sure about your new West division makeup. BAMA/LSU/OK in the same division, while the East only has Florida?

Well, we don’t really know how good OK really is, do we?

Yea, on one hand, I don’t like the expansion idea at all. But if we have to, adding TxA&M and OK can be the best choice. Texas is a pain no matter where they are, I don’t want SEC has anything to do with the overblown horn.

GTville

June 17th, 2010
11:03 am

Its not over yet. My bet is Slive convinced these schools to stay still for another year so the Big 10, PAC 10 and Notre Dame could make their final moves. If they go to Mega conferences and ND joins the ACC or B10, the the SEC would react by going to a 18-20 team league featuring TX-OK schools.

East Atlanta

June 17th, 2010
11:03 am

You’re still on this, MB? Get over it! The best thing that could have happened, did happen: nothing. You and Joe Simpson are apparently the only people in the media that either (a) mentioned that OU would/should go to the SEC, or (b) are still lamenting that they didn’t. Did Mike Slive even go to Norman? Because that hasn’t even been mentioned ANYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH. Oh, and good to hear that Joe Simpson and his friends sent e-mails to their alma mater weighing in on expansion. I’m sure that was worth more than the millions OU got by a renegotiated TV deal with the remaining five Big XII schools. If anyone is interested in how the whole thing ACTUALLY went down, here’s an excellent link:

http://texas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1094753

Old School

June 17th, 2010
11:04 am

Mark, a little off the subject but how the heck has Mike Garrett kept his job?

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2010
11:04 am

Beats me, Old School.

Boomer

June 17th, 2010
11:05 am

Mark – is there any discussion of realigning OU and Texas within the Big 10, or whatever it is? A huge waste to have them both in the same division as they are currently.

TGH

June 17th, 2010
11:05 am

Don’t think so,

You’re an idiot. Here are some of the out-of-conference games for the SEC this year:

Penn State at Alabama
Texas A&M at Arkansas
Clemson at Auburn
LSU vs UNC at the GA Dome
West Virginia at LSU
South Florida at Florida
Florida at Florida State
Georgia at Colorado
Georgia Tech at Georgia
Kentucky at Louisville
South Carolina at Clemson
Oregon at Tennessee
Vanderbilt at Uconn

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2010
11:06 am

I imagine everything’s on the table in the Big 12, Boomer.

Can You Dig It

June 17th, 2010
11:08 am

Your not even close Bradley…where do you come up with your fairy tale ideas. …believe me.. Oklahoma wasn’t even close to going to the SEC…NOT CLOSE. They had a handshake agreement to follow Texas regardless of what A&M did.And while it makes for a good story, and would have been great if it would have happened it was NEVER even a consideration. Once again your lack of investigative reporting and getting your facts right shows how lazy a reporter you are..Can You Dig It!

Alphare

June 17th, 2010
11:12 am

Can You Dig It,

you’ve got your signature wrong, man. Shouldn’t it be “Can You Dig It?”, which is way different from “Can You Dig It!”

I realized it’s hard to put a question mark at the end of that sentence. Mark must know to do it since he is a respected newspaper journalist (seriously).

Boomer

June 17th, 2010
11:14 am

@ Can You Dig It – I think a better ID is Can you STFU?

Vinny D

June 17th, 2010
11:16 am

As long as whoever wins the SEC is in the national title game, I am ok. I am no Auburn fan but for a team to go undefeated and win the SEC and not get a shot is pure disgrace. Honestly, it should be the top non sec team in the nation vs the SEC champ to decide the national champ. As soon as we start losing a few of those matchups, then we can change it. That day won’t come. Of course unless we start jacking up our academic standards, then we are screwed.

david

June 17th, 2010
11:18 am

I am working in Austin this week, and there is no way OU would have gone to the SEC from what I have heard. Texas A&M made a major mistake not going to the SEC. Texas runs this state, A&M would have been able to use the SEC as a recruiting tool.

The BIG 12 peace will not last, Texas is getting most of the money, and have gained even more power. Texas and OU have guaranteed themselves a trip to the BCS bowl every year. I still see Missouri ending up in another conference in 2-3 years.

What funny about Texas, they do not want to play TCU because they are beneath them. How can a top 10 team be beneath Texas?

Chris

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

I am working in Austin this week, and there is no way OU would have gone to the SEC from what I have heard. Texas A&M made a major mistake not going to the SEC. Texas runs this state, A&M would have been able to use the SEC as a recruiting tool.

The BIG 12 peace will not last, Texas is getting most of the money, and have gained even more power. Texas and OU have guaranteed themselves a trip to the BCS bowl every year. I still see Missouri ending up in another conference in 2-3 years.

What funny about Texas, they do not want to play TCU because they are beneath them. How can a top 10 team be beneath Texas?

Greg

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

Don’t see that Western division being stronger much, if any, stronger than the East unless Tennessee stays down. UF, UGA, Tennessee and Auburn are generally top 20-25 teams or better. Oklahoma, Bama and LSU are big time in the West, but what have Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss State and TAMU done in the past 10 years? Not much more than South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

cantondawg

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

Mark,

Do you think that this whole PAC-16 negotiation was just a ploy from Texas to get a better deal. Tx almost lost out on the NC game last year with the close game vs Neb. I hear how the coaches in that league hate the Conference championship game. By faking interest in the Pac 10 and therefore members Neb and Colorado make moves to secure their future. Tx increased their share of the pie by 16%. In addition, Tx also negotiated that the top 3-4 teams in the big 12 get all of the breakup penalty money from CU and NEB. Now, Tx doesn’t have to worry about the conference championship game. They got more money from the conference and didn’t do a thing. I think they never intended to move to the pac16 only to use them as a negotiating pawn.

Big 12 Lite = easy road

June 17th, 2010
11:21 am

So Mack Brown doesn’t want a conference championship game? Big surprise. I hope they go undefeated and get left out of the National Championship Game. Of course, the national media would have to stop kissing their butt first.

Chris

June 17th, 2010
11:26 am

So what happens now in the Big 12? There is no conference championship game. I read somewhere that the members didn’t really care for their championship game anyhow. Do you know if that’s true Mark?
There are still two divisions but whoever has the best record and head to head determines six tiebreakers determines the BCS team? Will they re-align so that TX and OU are in separate divisions? Content dawg fan made a great point. It is already hard enough to win an SEC title without adding someone like OU or a potentially improved A&M.

Jake

June 17th, 2010
11:30 am

Texas may be trying to become the next ND. A stand alone. I for one wish they and OK would come to the SEC. I do like moving Auburn to the SEC East,, leaving Bama in the West. But would that break the tradition game with the Vols,, they must play Auburn each year too.

Marcus

June 17th, 2010
11:38 am

From a pure college football fan standpoint, if the SEC had poached 2 out of the 3 from the Big 12 (Texas, Texas A&M or OU) and plopped them in the SEC West …. that would have been a coup. the only thing like it in college is the Big East in basketball when Marquette, L’ville, Cincinnati came over.

Can You Dig It

June 17th, 2010
11:39 am

Chris,I’m working in Dallas this week and you are spot on with your blog. People like Boomer and Alphare just like to make comments without facts. The Texas people I’ve spoken to with close ties to the school stated that their was NO WAY Texas was going to let Oklahoma go to the SEC…those two schools are joined at the hip. The big rumor down here right now is that the conference will attempt to lure Arkansas and possibly TCU into the new BIG 12…keeping and restoring old traditional rivals in the Southwest…makes sense….. Can You Dig It!?

TXDawg

June 17th, 2010
11:40 am

Lol @ Boomer…..rofl!!!

uga_b

June 17th, 2010
11:42 am

My observations on the winners/losers:

Winners: Big 10, Texas & OU
Losers: Big 12, PAC 10

Whats amazing is that this makes the Big 10 slightly better, the big 12 lots worse and has virtually no effect on the PAC 10 because they got the least exciting programs possible.

My one other burning question is how does this effect championship games? Right now, the Big 12’s is gone, the ACC’s has been floundering, and there is no announcement by PAC 10 or Big 10. I think we could very well see the SEC being the only league with a championship game. They wont get rid of it because of the money but it does handicap the league.

The Big 10 is the only other league I can see actually ebing able to support a championship game moneywise. PAC-10 and ACC don’t have the fan support.