The Pac-12 stays at 12, and the mad shuffle is near its end

Don't mess with ... well, you know. (AJC file photo)

Don't mess with ... well, you know how it goes. (AJC file photo)

Found: The one conference that has decided it likes itself as is.

That’d be the Pac-12, which issued a statement Tuesday night saying it isn’t going to expand. But this might not have been quite so high-minded as it sounds. Where conference realignment is concerned, nothing ever is.

Reports suggest that the Pac-12 didn’t believe its membership would be able to co-exist with the Longhorn Network, which is why this round of reshuffling began last month. Nobody is crazy about the idea of sharing a league with Texas, which means …

This round of reshuffling is near its end.

The SEC appears bent on adding Missouri and the Big East will have to do some major damage control, but the Big 12 has lived to play another day. Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State won’t be headed to the Pac-12, at least not this month, and there’s no other conference that could accommodate all three. (Accommodating Texas has always been the tough part, but Oklahoma’s insistence that Oklahoma State ride along has made the Sooners a bit less attractive.)

If the SEC adds Missouri to go with Texas A&M and stops there, the biggest football league will have gotten bigger but not elephantine. If the Pac-12 stays with 12 members and the ACC, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh en route, at 14, there would seem no crying need to answer. The biggest question a 14-school SEC would face: Who’s going to move to the East? (Early suggestions point to Auburn, which is the easternmost outpost in the SEC West. Which would mean separating Auburn and Alabama.)

Assuming there’s no late flurry of mind-changing, the winner this time around would be the ACC. It has fought off expected incursions from the Big East, the Big Ten and the SEC, and it has again made itself the best basketball league by some distance. It’s still possible the SEC could make a run at Virginia Tech (even with the ACC-mandated $20 million exit fee), but the SEC has adopted a stance of, “You come to us; we won’t come to you.” And Virginia Tech couldn’t be construed as desperate to go anywhere — as opposed, say, to Texas A&M.

That’s how this all started. Texas A&M got mad over the Longhorn Network and stomped out the nearest door. You’d have to believe the Big 12 schools who were ready to sue the Aggies will be less truculent with Texas and the two Oklahomas staying and the Big 12 still be a viable (if diminished) conference. You’d have to believe that the daily — heck, hourly — round of who’s-going-where updates are about to subside.

UConn is already making eyes at the ACC, but it’s unclear if that league would want to add a 15th school without a 16th, and no obvious 16th candidate has arisen. West Virginia might still leave the Big East, but it’s not certain the SEC would want it. Oklahoma has demanded that Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe be replaced — Beebe’s apparent sin is his inability to rein in Texas — but that’s an in-house matter. In sum, what’s left this time are tweaks, as opposed to wholesale change. Until next summer, when …

Texas decides to print its own currency — Bevo Bucks. And there we’ll go again.

By Mark Bradley

219 comments Add your comment

cattle dawg

September 21st, 2011
9:52 am

Jamaaliver

September 21st, 2011
9:52 am

MB, Is Texas (and their network) largely to blame for all this reshuffling in the first place when Nebraska and ( I believe) Colorado left the Big 12 last summer?

Jedididah Snuffinpork

September 21st, 2011
9:52 am

cattle dawg

September 21st, 2011
9:53 am

Man have I been due! Id like to thank my 2 month old for helping me receive this honor.

Jamaaliver

September 21st, 2011
9:54 am

Where is the Tipping Point in all this madness? Is there a governing body that could step in and contain the madness? I saw an article pleading with Congress to step in, but that seems unlikely. They have more pressing issues.
What about the NCAA?

KoKoPuf

September 21st, 2011
9:55 am

I still believe their will be more moves by early next year.

outsider

September 21st, 2011
9:56 am

You’re a little hard on Texas A&M with the “stomping out the door” comment. Last summer, Nebraska was accused of breaking up the Big 12 because they wanted away from Texas. (Honestly, fits just as well in the Big 10.) Then Texas A&M wants out because of Texas and LHN. Over the weekend, Oklahoma said they wanted Beebe out because his only master is the Longhorns. It seems every rumbling in the Big 12 always comes back to Texas. If there is a problem with the Big 12, it is clearly wearing burnt orange.

Mark Bradley

September 21st, 2011
9:57 am

Kudos, cattle dawg.

cattle dawg

September 21st, 2011
9:59 am

SEC will now wait on Oklahoma and OK State to come with Mizzou and jump to 16. Or just had WVU and stay at 14. Funny thing about WVU is they play the best football an basketball of all these schools that have jumped leagues and no one wants them. I guess its all about the money.

Ted M

September 21st, 2011
10:00 am

Is ACC’s future football schedule going to have fewer non-conference games?

Mark Bradley

September 21st, 2011
10:01 am

I don’t believe Oklahoma is desperate to be part of the SEC.

cattle dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:04 am

I agree Mark, but the Sooners are sick of Texas and Beebe. So I think that opens them back up to the SEC or Big 10=12.

Rabun Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:04 am

Mr.Bradley, I hope you are right about this. Bigger does not always translate to better. Imagine the logistical nightmare for some of these teams to have to travel great distances to play. Maybe not as bad for football, but what about the other sports,particularly the non revenue ones. And think how much time out of the classroom for basketball, for instance, with two games every week. And, how about the parents and fans who want to see their sons or teams play on a regular basis. Hopefully this expansion madness is over for the time being.

cattle dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:07 am

Gotta love those baseball an softball trips to Syracuse and college station.

Mark Bradley

September 21st, 2011
10:08 am

I mentioned a couple of days ago that the SEC only wants to add flagship schools from states where it doesn’t already have a member. Oklahoma wanting Oklahoma State as a sidecar wouldn’t fit into what the SEC would like.

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

September 21st, 2011
10:09 am

Jamaaliver,

Nebraska and Colorado left because, unlike the SEC, the Big XII has an uneven profit sharing plan. IE, the schools that make the money get the money. So Texas, OU and A&M are getting all the cash while the rest of the conference is getting scraps. So Nebraska and Colorado left, though CU also just didn’t fit very well culturally with the Big XII: so they ended up in the right place.

A&M, as we all know, got pissed because Beebe bent over backward to keep Texas happy last year by letting them start the Longhorn Network, which gives Texas a HUGE recruiting advantage in addition to lots more money.

So yeah, pretty much all the Big XII’s problems start in Austin, though that inept moron Beebe isn’t helping matters.

Either way, A&M’s coming to the SEC, and it’s gonna be great!

Go Dawgs!

DP

September 21st, 2011
10:11 am

The biggest mystery in all of this to me is why Oklahoma is willing to tolerate the Longhorn Network and keep itself bound to Texas. What would the Longhorn Network be worth if Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Missouri moved to the SEC and Texas had to be an independent or pull together a bunch of third tier schools to be part of a conference?

My preference would be for the SEC to tell Texas A&M no thanks, we don’t see an attractive 14th team on the horizon so we’ll stay at 12. My second preference would be to add the 4 schools including Oklahoma from the Big 12 and move Alabama and Auburn to the SEC East.

ignition

September 21st, 2011
10:15 am

After listening to Barne & Durham on 790. Oklahoma doesn’t want to be apart of the SEC because of it’s reputation and it’s school academic weaknesses..

cattle dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:15 am

Mark, my wifes uncle brother got a daughter who dates someone that works at the sec office and this is the word on the street.

Big Ten Champs Nebraska

September 21st, 2011
10:16 am

Don’t blame Nebraska

Chuck

September 21st, 2011
10:17 am

TEXAS is the school driving all of this.

Without their arrogance Nebraska, Colorado,Texas A&M – and Missouri next would not have needed to leave the Big 12.

If Texas hadn’t been so greedy, none of this would be taking place.

RiverGreen206

September 21st, 2011
10:18 am

Texas is the source of all of this. I hope they end up shunned by all their conference brethen. They deserve it.

DP

September 21st, 2011
10:21 am

Mark, you’re saying that the SEC would take Texas A&M and Missouri but not Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? Texas A&M is not the “flagship” school in Texas and Oklahoma has more football tradition than the other 3 combined. Oklahoma State is more competitive year in and year out than Ole Miss, Miss St., Vandy and Kentucky, at least comparable to Arkansas and South Carolina.

In addition, adding those 4 teams would create a very natural geographic split with acceptable rivalries for all SEC schools, with everything from Mississippi west in the SEC West and the rest in the SEC East. It would preserve most of the biggest annual rivalry games, including Alabama-Auburn, Alabama-Tennessee, Georgia-Auburn and Florida-Georgia. Florida, Tennessee and Georgia would pick up annual games with Alabama and/or Auburn that they don’t have now. The biggest rivalry game lost would probably be Alabama-LSU, which would be a fair tradeoff.

Is your suggestion/assertion that the SEC wouldn’t take Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as a package deal your conjecture, or is based on a conversation or public statement from someone high enough in the SEC office to speak with some authority?

GeoffDawg

September 21st, 2011
10:26 am

So, is Missouri still considering the unofficial SEC offer? I’d assumed that if Texas and Oklahoma stood pat, Mizzou would be happy to keep their current affiliation.

NC Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:27 am

Any chance NC team(s) lands in the SEC, Mark?

cattle dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:27 am

According to my wifes brother cousin who has a daughter that dates someone who works at sec office is that the sec will wait on the big 4 from big 12.

Big Ten Champs Nebraska

September 21st, 2011
10:28 am

OK…..Blame Nebraska……We need the street cred

get rid of Texas

September 21st, 2011
10:29 am

If I’m Don Beebe…I kick Texas out of the Big 12, and pick up SMU, Houston, TCU, talk A&M and Missouri into staying, start back up divisional play, and renegatiate my tv contract and have equal revenue sharing, have two divisions (south, Texas) 1)A&M 2)Houston 3)SMU 4)TCU 5)Baylor 6)TTU and (north, non Texas) 1) OU 2) OSU 3)Kansas 4)KSU 5)Missouri 6)ISU…This keeps the poo from hitting the fan….The Big East should go after Memphis, and Navy/Army, maybe UCF and then it would be over

PMC

September 21st, 2011
10:30 am

Sorry, I still don’t see what all the fuss is over teams changing conferences. It’s always been about money. Why does that matter now?

This is not going to ruin college football. The season is still going to end that first week in december, and it may well be better if teams are still playing for conference championships.

The bowl system is what ruins it. Everyone whining about “traditional matchups” really? Is that why there are 40 bowls now most of which are horrid unwatchable matchups?

Mark Bradley

September 21st, 2011
10:31 am

Texas A&M approached the SEC, DP.

Mark Bradley

September 21st, 2011
10:31 am

I think Missouri would be happy to join the SEC, Geoff.

PMC

September 21st, 2011
10:32 am

*more teams are playing for conference championships.

The more good teams are playing each other more often, the more interesting college football is going to be.

The more non conference fluff games are eliminated the better the sport will be to watch period.

Mark Bradley

September 21st, 2011
10:32 am

I can’t see a great basketball program leaving a great basketball league, NC Dawg.

RiverGreen206

September 21st, 2011
10:32 am

I’m sure Oklahoma is not desperate to be a part of the SEC. Among other reasons, the competition is infinitely tougher than the Big 12. Only one or two games now stand between a BCS bid every year. In the SEC many more tough games.

rational

September 21st, 2011
10:33 am

The Big 12 is going to die at some point. They are prolonging the inevitable. Now they will replace A&M, and Mizz with some smaller schools, maybe BYU and TCU. Texas will have just as much power if not more and the LHN will gain steam, causing even more discontent with the other Big 12 members. That conference is a train wreck.

Mark Bradley

September 21st, 2011
10:33 am

But I do know there was great interest in North Carolina from the SEC. And would still be, come to that.

get rid of Texas

September 21st, 2011
10:33 am

The Pac 10 wouldn’t take them because of Texas and they (OU, OSU, TTU) really dont want to go anyway..just get rid of texas let them be independant like Notre Dame…I think the Big 12 would be fine like that and would still be just as big a player without Texas
and I like the big east with Memphis, UCF, Navy and Army…better basketball with Memphis and UCF and better football with Navy and UCF ….Army and Navy are both football independants right now so it would be easy for them to jump..This would equal out the conferences a little, still keep them regional, and give the Big East a couple of decent football playing schools….The key is to put Texas on an island…OU played them for almost 100 years while not in the same conference should be no big deal for the future???

Smokedawg on the Water

September 21st, 2011
10:34 am

I believe this is far from over. It will only take the Big East, or more likely, the Big XII to start trying to go poaching and everything will start again. Heck, the SEC could get ESPN to make the $20 million buyout of an ACC school go away with a new TV contract. Texas A&M was the mini-quake, the ACC taking Syracuse and Pitt a bit larger quake, and now this is the silence before the storm. Any way you slice it, we are headed to four 16-team Super Conferences, and likely sooner than later.

better safe than sorry

September 21st, 2011
10:34 am

I thought Delta Airlines was the leader in all this…

Aurelius

September 21st, 2011
10:36 am

Rumor has it that Missouri would prefer the SEC but also looks favorably on the Big 10.

The SEC has already extended an invite to A & M, with the “no lawsuits pending” qualifer. So the SEC needs one more team. Missouri is the obvious answer.

get rid of Texas

September 21st, 2011
10:40 am

Well the Pac 10 wouldn’t take them because of Texas and they really dont want to go anyway..just get rid of texas let them be independant like Notre Dame…I think the Big 12 would be fine like that and would still be just as big a player without Texas
and I like the big east with Memphis, UCF, Navy and Army…better basketball with Memphis and UCF and better football with Navy and UCF ….Army and Navy are both football independants right now so it would be easy for them to jump

rational

September 21st, 2011
10:41 am

Heck, the SEC could get ESPN to make the $20 million buyout of an ACC school go away with a new TV contract.

You are going to open up some serious legal issues if ESPN is caught paying for teams to leave conferences.

Smokedawg on the Water

September 21st, 2011
10:48 am

Rational…I’m not saying it would be printed in black and white, I’m just eluding to the fact that as much money as $20 million is, it really means very little in the long-run if you bring a big-name school into your conference. But I get where you are coming from. ESPN pulls the strings, but is never on the field directly impacting events.

Reality

September 21st, 2011
10:53 am

Why won’t the current remaining Big East teams join with the current remaining Big 12 teams to form a super conference?

I think they would be competitive in both football and basketball. The only wrench in it would be that Texas Longhorn Network and profit sharing. But, that is the same wrench in everything.

Maybe this new super conference would just exclude Texas, allowing Texas to become an indenpendent?

DP

September 21st, 2011
10:53 am

Mark, I know Texas A&M approached the SEC and am not sure why that’s relevant to your assertion that the SEC is only interested in schools that are the flagship programs in their state. The SEC could have turned them down. There are reports that the SEC turned down West Virginia’s inquiries.

Should I take that non response/deflection to the question I asked previously as meaning that the idea that the SEC would turn down an Oklahoma/Oklahoma State package deal is simply your conjecture?

harold

September 21st, 2011
10:55 am

TEXAS, OKLAHOMA, AND OKLAHOMA STATE HAVE ZERO IN COMMON WITH THE LEFT COASTERS. THAT IS THE LAND OF THE WACKOS!

THEIR FANS WON’T EVEN TRAVEL THERE LIKE THEY WOULD IN THE SEC.

SLIVE NEEDS TO MAKE ANOTHER PLAY FOR THESE GUYS!

get rid of Texas

September 21st, 2011
10:58 am

The SEC doesn’t need OU, OSU, Mizzou, or A&M leave them where they are… in Big 12 Country…

Rise and Fall of the 3rd Richt

September 21st, 2011
10:58 am

how many ACC football titles have UNC won since the two divisions? How many Coastal Division titles have they won? 0

Doesn’t the SEC already have enough losers in their conference, Vandy, Ky, Ms St, Miss, etc..without one more?

PerimeterCenterJacket

September 21st, 2011
11:02 am

Texas needs to go independent. Schedule all the traditional rivals (A&M, TTU, Oklahoma, Baylor, Rice, Arkansas and then whoever else you want). Keep the LHN and the merchandising rights. Keep your bowl money and stop making everyone else sick to their stomachs about what you’re not sharing with them. Oklahoma can become the nucleus of a new Big XII if it wants, and this whole thing can settle where it needs to – the Southwestern schools in a conference together minus Texas (who will, like the Great Nation it represents, consider itself on an island). A&M will have to live with its decision to go to the SEC. That will bring cash, but as MSU, Ole Miss and Vandy understand, there will be pain.

Desert Dawg

September 21st, 2011
11:06 am

Look into the future and you will see four 16 team conferences, and the four conference winners will play two semi-final games and the winners will play a “true” national championship game. Let those arrogant bastards from Texas and Norte Dame have their independence. ND has been a non factor for 20 years and if Texas leaves the Big 12 they will rapidly follow down that same road. If you are not in a major AQ conference you will no longer matter.