The Big 12, where a good time is had by all.

Throughout this latest round of conference realignment shuffling, I keep wondering why Texas and Oklahoma want to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-12.  When you think about it, they’ve got a fabulous set up:  a 10-team conference means there’s fewer slices to the revenue pie to serve, no playoff game virtually assures that if neither has a season go in the tank, they’ll be playing in BCS games, the conference as now configured is geographically compact, etc.  They lose all that if they run off to form a Pac-16.

The problem is that Texas doesn’t seem to know when it has a good thing going for it.  Or at least it didn’t until now.

There are a few cracks forming in the ceiling.  First, Oklahoma seems to realize what it’s got and what needs to be done to hold things together.

The University of Oklahoma is considering remaining in the Big 12, but only in a “reformed” version of the conference that includes restrictions on Texas’ Longhorn Network and removal of Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, a high-ranking source at a Big 12 school said Tuesday.

OU president David Boren said Monday the Sooners would decide soon between applying for Pac-12 membership or staying in the Big 12, and the source outlined the parameters for remaining in the Big 12.

Sucks to be you, Dan Beebe.

The demands don’t seem to be too far-fetched, as Texas was rumored to be willing to seriously compromise its position on the Longhorn Network to make itself more attractive for Pac-12 entry.  And Beebe is expendable.

As for that Pac-12 option… sorry, boys, not today.

In light of the widespread speculation about potential scenarios for Conference re-alignment, the Pac-12 Presidents and Chancellors have affirmed their decision to remain a 12-team conference. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “after careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference. While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve. With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us.””

Translation:  Texas, you’re too much of a diva for us.

So where do they go from here?  It seems like things are boiling down to a simple choice for the Longhorns:  how badly do you want that network?  If Texas won’t compromise, independence may be the only path it has left.  Otherwise, it’s hard to argue with this logic:

Another source from a Big 12 school said OU’s demands could prompt Texas to compromise. If the Sooners and Cowboys leave the Big 12, Texas is not likely to stay and almost surely would have to acquiesce on its network anyway, in some other league. Why not give in and keep the Big 12 together?

Oh, and three cheers for T. Boone Pickens, who certainly knows how to package self-serving bullshit as patriotism:

Earlier Tuesday, OSU booster Boone Pickens, who tried to use his influence in the state of Texas to get A&M to make the same demands of UT that OU now is making, said he detected a thaw in the Aggies’ stance.

Pickens even contacted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination.

Pickens said he told Perry to show America that “you fix problems, don’t contribute to ‘em.”

Perry is a former Texas A&M yell leader. “After the Aggies leave school, they’re still looking for a yell leader,” Pickens said. He said he told Perry to be that leader.

Because we all know that what’s good for ol’ T. Boone is good for America.  That could make for a great talking point at the next Republican debate.

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16 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, Pac-12 Football, Political Wankery

16 responses to “The Big 12, where a good time is had by all.

  1. The other Doug

    If I’m Oklahoma/Okie State I look to move to the SEC or Big10. Sure it’s a tougher road to the BCS, but you will be guaranteed stability. Staying with Texas just means more of the same next year.

    • gastr1

      Oklahoma will never go anywhere without Texas if it can help it. Oklahoma has about 115 players on its roster this year; out of that, 55-60 are from Texas while about 30 are from Oklahoma. Texas is the gift that keeps on giving to Oklahoma–too big to ever fill one college football roster, it provide sustenance to three or four national programs. Texas is so full of people and football players in particular that it stocks the Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri schools too; like Tennessee in the SEC, none of those states has enough players to live off of the fat of the land alone. They recruit the run-off: recall four years ago when Kansas made it to the Orange Bowl with Todd Reesing and Missouri was 10-2 with Chase Daniel and Oklahoma and Texas and Texas Tech had Bradford, McCoy, and Graham Harrell…Bradford was from Oklahoma, the rest of the pack were all from Texas.

      Texas A & M can continue on without Texas because they’re still in the state. Oklahoma, on the other hand, might fall back a lot closer to Kansas in its recruiting “successes” if not in the same conference as UT (even if the played annually). It’s that “might be” that scares the pants off OU and keeps them tethered to the Longhorns.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Meh…as long as Oklahoma plays Texas in the Red River game there will still be plenty of Texas kids wanting to go to Oklahoma. Actually, the Big 12 should kick Texas out if Texas won’t split the money more fairly and drop the Longhorn Network. As long as all the other schools don’t panic and agree to hang together they still have a great conference, even if Mizzou leaves. If you will recall, the original Big 8 didn’t even have Texas or any other school from the State of Texas as a member. If the remaining Big 12 institutions feel that they have to have a Texas substitute I really think TCU is available in light of what has happened to the Big East, statements to the contrary out of the Big East notwithstanding. Let Texas try the independent route for awhile.

        • gastr1

          I think Oklahoma’s thinking is that, competitively, they may be fine without Texas but they are better off with them. Monetarily, well, there’s the rub.

          As for Texas being independent, I think the regents would not allow it. There are also some kind of bad blood political/cultural reasons that I have heard of regarding Texas and TCU not being together again (we’ll see how long that lasts if the Big 12 goes under and UT is left holding the bag). What may really end up happening at some point is a Texas conference a lot like the old SWC that includes UT, TTU, SMU, Baylor, and who the hell knows else. But I think even though it makes sense for UT to go independent there’s enough interest in the other schools that the state culture wouldn’t let them.

  2. Go Dawgs!

    You know, I don’t understand why the Big 12 isn’t the best option for Texas and the rest of them, either. The toxic part of the Big 12’s relationships is Texas’ insistence on making more money than the rest of them. That’s never going to work in any conference, Texas. If we had that in the SEC, WE’D be teetering on the edge of collapse. It’s time to suck it up and play nice, because the rest of your conference mates are clearly OK with ditching the Big 12 and finding a better setup if you don’t.

    Has Texas A&M signed anything yet? Sure would be nice if they went back into the fold and left the rest of us in the SEC alone in our happy little world.

  3. JBJ

    It is a strange dynamic. I can’t understand why Texas, Oklahoma, and Okie State don’t stand together. They should either package themselves together to a new conference or begin building their own conference. Pluck some of the new up and comers like Boise or pillage the Big East for teams like USF.

    T. Boone. That guy is a patriot through and through.

  4. HK

    I sure wish all this conference realignment crap would just blow over. Its distracting.

  5. Pingback: Big 12 Ditto | Tide Bits

  6. Dog in Fla

    T. Boone, a socialist* worker for the Big 12 while the overthrow of Commissar Beebe is being carried out by David Boren, taunts cheerleader Rick in a last ditch effort to keep the Aggies from seceding. Apparently, T. Boone’s team of people have not yet told him that, as a general proposition, Rick is more open to secession than Jefferson Davis**

    * “So what does the once “most hated man in corporate America” named by Fortune Magazine do with his spare time today …. Criticized as being a hypocrite, Pickens is accused of “morphing from a free-market capitalist into a panhandling socialist when it fits his financial needs.”

    http://blog.cleantechies.com/2009/07/10/t-boone-pickens-greedy-capitalist-or-caring-environmentalist/

    ** “When you’re more open to secession than Jefferson Davis was a century and a half ago, well, you’ve gone pretty far.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/13/rick-perry-a-candidate-who-will-do-anything-to-beat-romney-and-obama.html

  7. David

    With the Big East imploding, I’d like to see TCU join the Big 12 to replace A&M.

  8. Keese

    Leave T Boone alone! He’ll kick all yall’s asses!

  9. Keese

    Can’t ESPN renegotiate the contract by addition OR subtraction in the conference in regard to the Longhorn network etc. Sword cuts both ways?

  10. OldDawg55

    Reinventing the SWC makes more sense…Texans and their university favorites can generate enough cash within the state to overcome losing OK and Okie State…yes, keep TCU…offer SMU, Houston, and go hat in hand to A&M…use the Alamo and Texas pride to gather the wagons against those outlanders who don’t really understand Texas football. If necessary there’s always Rice, North Texas, Texas State..and the list goes on for Texas schools. Return to the glory of yesteryear and to Hell with Okies!