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Texas two step

June 17, 2010
tags: ,

There has been a tremendous amount of internets spent discussing Texas’s “saving” of the Big XII this week.  The talk has ranged from raising Texas up as a hero for holding off the era of the megaconference to dastardly villains for essentially extorting the “little 7” to say put.  Personally, I would have to describe Texas’s actions as duplicitous and self-serving.  I’m not ready to label them bad folks but they are at least deserving of a tsk-tsk.

Now mind you, there is nothing outside of the rules that Texas is guilty of, but ethically speaking they don’t seem to be the most honest of actors and that’s saying something considering we are talking the world of primetime collegiate football.  What happened, in the end, is that Texas, looked out for Texas, in a manner that allowed them to justify damage fellow conference members to ensure they got every last penny they could.  For this some deride and some vilify, I however, am concerned.

I am concerned over the long term viability of the monster that Texas has engineered for themselves.  And I am not talking about the future of the Big XII, this is a dead conference walking.  My worry stems from the situation that Texas is making for itself and where their positioning will be the next time the threat of the megaconference returns, and it will return.

Okay, first lets examine what has been built.  Texas, along with A&M and Oklahoma, have demanded that the payout money coming into the Big XII confers from the leaving of Colorado and Nebraska will be split among the three of them and not divided evenly.  That’s $6.6m worth of animosity from the L7 they are buying.  Then there is the TV money deal and what has the savior of the Big XII done but enforced an even greater inequity of revenue sharing than that stacked deck that put the Big XII is a weak position to begin with.  Every year they Texas and it’s pimps are going to be buying millions more worth of animosity from the L7.  Is this a road map to stability?  No, of course not.

That the little guys where more than “happy” to agree to Texas’s short-sighted and heavy handed demands in order to belay being cast out into the cold does not, at all, mean they are happy with the deal.  Nay, I will venture that they are merely buying time.  Time to come up with an alternative to staying in the Big XII.  For example you combine the L7 with the top 5 from the MWC and voila you have a BSC qualifying conference.  Now, this isn’t something that will happen over night, but lets look at the reasons it could happen.  a) The L7 are getting screwed and every year they stay in the Big XII they will get farther behind.  b) The top teams in the MWC really, really want a automatic BCS spot, thus the invite to Boise St a few weeks ago.  c) With Utah bolting for the PAC-10 that BSC berth is still out of reach for the MWC.  d) The L7 not only have absolutely not reason to show loyalty to Texas, but will have a perverse incentive to try and stick it to them.

This, say, Central & Mountains Athletic Conference, is not just a pipe dream, it could well be a threat.  It accomplishes two very important goals.  First it gets Boise St, TCU, BYU an automatic BSC slot to shoot for and gets Mizzou, et al. out from under the boot heel of Texas.  Now I am not saying this is going to happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised is a few heads in these schools aren’t thinking something along these lines right now.

So now let’s look at what the possible actions for the remaining three are after the Big XII explodes in say, 10 years.  Texas A&M?  Can almost be certain they will be in the SEC.  Hell, they got close to going there this time and you think after a decade of not being able to get over the hump of the Sooners and Longhorns in a slanted conference they would be ready to jump?  Oklahoma is a big more intriguing.  They could certainly follow A&M into the SEC, wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen however I would suspect they would move into the Big Ten.

Where does Texas go?  Nowhere.  Why?  Well that gets us to the third part of the deal Texas strong-armed the L7 into, they have the right to setup a private TV deal.  Now, unlike Notre Dame in the early 1990’s setting up an exclusive contract with NBC, Texas will be creating their own TV channel.  Notre Dame has a contract that can be left, renegotiated, etc.  Texas will be building a thing, a thing that, while making them money, will take on a life of its own.

In this scenario the Longhorn Channel will fully ingrained into the DNA of Texas athletics.  It will be something they would neither want to, or (thinking off all the cushy jobs will have been handed out to friends and family members) be able to get rid off.  But, no conference would allow them in with their own deal.  No, just like the PAC-10 told Texas last week, you share with everyone or you get bent.  What does Texas do when they can’t give up that which makes them unwanted by the other conferences?  Simple, they go independent.  And don’t think they aren’t full enough of themselves to do it.  We are talking about Texas, after all.

And that, the move to be an independent, marks the beginning of the end.  After all Mack isn’t going to be coaching forever and his replacement will not be as good as him.  Add to that the fact that as an independent they will be questioned on SOS and not having the bump of the 13th game (conference championship) the odds of getting into the BCS Championship game are nill.

Texas is setting up a situation where they will be rich, alone and unwanted.  And the concern then is what happens when Mack Brown leaves?  Texas is, I think, greedily creating the thing that will, in time, bring them to their knees.

Hook em indeed.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. topazScriptFailures permalink
    June 17, 2010 11:10 am

    Needs more Husker. meow.

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