Oh oh domino

So, it looks like they’re really gonna do it.

An official announcement of Texas A&M’s move to the Southeastern Conference is expected today in College Station.

School officials spent Tuesday preparing for a news conference at Kyle Field to celebrate the move, pending a favorable vote from SEC presidents to extend an invitation. The SEC presidents met Tuesday night and approved an invitation to A&M, said sources with knowledge of the situation, but the SEC made no formal announcement.

A&M officials have indicated they would accept an SEC invitation. The move would be effective for the 2012 football season.

And now the race to the 16-school super conferences begins… at least that’s what they’re telling us to expect.

… Schlabach said if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State bolt the Big 12 for the Pac-12 — as appears likely now — it’s almost certain the Pac-12 will expand to 16 teams.

The other conferences will feel compelled to move quickly to follow suit — some just to remain viable — and the college football landscape likely will be changed forever, he said.

Schlabach sees this development pitting money versus tradition, and when you read quotes like this, it’s hard to argue with his viewpoint:

… Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops may have upped the ante during a Tuesday news conference in efforts to expedite a decision from Texas, saying he doesn’t consider it “necessary” for the Sooners to remain in the same league with the Longhorns. Stoops added that the annual Red River Rivalry game in Dallas could be a casualty of the realignment process.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to keep the OU-Texas game if we do move out of a conference with Texas,” Stoops said, adding that he plans to leave the realignment decisions to Boren and athletic director Joe Castiglione.

“I know no one wants to hear that, but things change. If it changes, you’ve got to change with it. I love the game, but if it doesn’t work out we will find other places to play and get excited about.”

Except I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a bit of gamesmanship at play here, simply because I’m still having trouble figuring out why Texas would want to bolt the Big XII (even a hastily re-jiggered version) for a chance to become a member of a Pac-16 where it would lose the Longhorn Network, face far more daunting logistics (expensive ones for non-revenue sports) and deal with longer odds on playing for a football national title.  All that would seem to apply to Oklahoma as well.  So maybe there’s a little talk ’em off the ledge before it’s too late going on with this.

And then there’s the money aspect, supposedly the raison d’etre for contemplating the jump in the first place.  Are the dollars really there, especially if Texas has to ditch the Longhorn Network in the process?  I suppose they could be if the Pac-12 is willing to make it worth Texas’ while.  But there are risks involved with that.  Just ask the last commissioner of a 16-team conference.

“There wasn’t enough money at that time to satisfy 16 mouths so to speak,” WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday. “A 16-team WAC failed from within, not from the outside. There wasn’t enough money to go around, and there was jealousy about who contributed more to the overall value. The 16-team WAC had geographical issues and academic disparities.”

You can argue that’s not a fair analogy because there’s a load of difference between a major and a mid-major conference.  Maybe so.  But I can’t help filtering Benson’s comment through a comparison of Texas and, say, Washington State and wondering if there really will be much of one at all when push comes to shove.

One thing seems plain to me.  The hastier these schools are about jumping to where the grass appears greener, the more likely it is that things get messier over the long haul.  Hell, over the medium haul…

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26 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, College Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

26 responses to “Oh oh domino

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    How about the short haul as the SEC searches for member 14.

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  2. gastr1

    Oklahoma State has said it would be going wherever Oklahoma goes. This does mean the Big 12 would be losing two more teams. I think that’s why Texas has been mentioned, and Texas Tech would likely be the 16th, but that has been the only reason that I can see–Texas would move because of the further whittling of the Big 12.

    But would they? I agree that Texas could probably stand to stick around even if it was just them and Baylor in the conference. In fact, Texas’ advantage to stay in the Big 12 is so stacked by the Longhorn Network that the Big 12 commissioner called a meeting of the schools other than UT, TA&M, and OU and told them to put pressure on Texas to keep Oklahoma and the remaining schools.

    So that’s why Stopps is talking about leaving without Texas. OU and OSU are probably as good as gone. Kansas and Kansas State might be looking too in the scenario, and Missouri is the whore no one wants (I would nt be surprised if they end up with us). Texas will have to decided on whether a Big 6 conference, or a Big 12 that includes the likes of SMU and Rice and whatnot, is ok.

    I kinda Texas would be just fine with that.

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    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Mizzou is a valuable commodity IMHO. You get St. Louis and Kansas City TV markets plus we have enough chiefs in the SEC already and need a few more indians.

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  3. Brandon

    Texas is starting to seem like the really hot girl who from afar it is a real headscratcher why she is single but in reality she is too damn high maintenance for anybody to deal with.

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  4. gastr1

    Oklahoma State has said it would be going wherever Oklahoma goes. This does mean the Big 12 would be losing two more teams. I think that’s why Texas has been mentioned, and Texas Tech would likely be the 16th, but that has been the only reason that I can see–Texas would move because of the further whittling of the Big 12.

    But would they? I agree that Texas could probably stand to stick around even if it was just them and Baylor in the conference. In fact, Texas’ advantage to stay in the Big 12 is so stacked by the Longhorn Network that the Big 12 commissioner called a meeting of the schools other than UT, TA&M, and OU and told them to put pressure on Texas to keep Oklahoma and the remaining schools.

    So that’s why Stoops is talking about leaving without Texas. OU and OSU are probably as good as gone. Kansas and Kansas State might be looking too in the scenario, and Missouri is the whore no one wants (I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up with us). Texas will have to decide on whether a Big 6 conference (or a Big 12 that includes the likes of SMU and Rice and whatnot) is ok. I kinda Texas would be just fine with that.

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  5. Oklahoma lost a tradition when they helped create the Big XII. The division format didn’t account for intra-division rivalries, so the great Nebraska-Oklahoma Big 8 game became a once-in-a-blue-moon event. So, maybe they figured that wasn’t so bad?

    I’m usually against change and for tradition, but the super-conference idea in football doesn’t bother me. In fact, I sort of like it. I think we’re returning, in a very strange way, to the old days of 8-9 team leagues. The only difference is that we’re calling them divisions instead of conferences.

    Let’s just pretend that the SEC goes to 18 teams and keeps the east-west format. Georgia will be in a division with 7 other competitive football powers (ok, 5 probably, but you get the point). And it’s entirely possible that we’ll go to 9 conference games. Those two out of division match-ups are basically non-“conference” games selected from a pool of quality teams. Add in Tech and we’ve gone from 3 powderpuff games to 2. That’s better quality for season ticket holders and better games for fans across the country if the 4 super-conferences come to pass.

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    • Brandon

      The loss of the annual Nebraska-Oklahoma game was a real tragedy for college football. From an SEC fans perspective that was greater than the red river shootout ever thought about being. That game decided who was going to the Orange Bowl practically every year, if not more.

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  6. TennesseeDawg

    CFB is going down the path of sucktitude. Who wants to see a conference with 16 teams in it? Hell, the SEC is just as close to Oklahoma as California is, they might as well make a play for Oklahoma.

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  7. Show of hands: Is anyone besides me actively rooting for Baylor as they attempt to throw a monkeywrench into this thing at the last minute?

    We’ve all seen what happened the last time someone tried to create a 16-team “superconference”: Today the WAC is fighting for its very existence as a football league. Do we have to be the first major conference to try it? Why not let the Pac-12 take that leap? Texas A&M wants out of the Big 12, the Pac-12 clearly wants to become the Pac-16 — why not send the Aggies west?

    Maybe this is my growing old-man “Get off my lawn” instinct talking, but the SEC is fine the way it is, dammit. And I’d much rather wait and see if the 16-team superconference is even a viable prospect at this level before we dive right in. Six or seven years from now, if it’s confirmed that 16 teams is the way of the future, there will still be any number of attractive programs who would line up to become SEC teams. Why are we in such a hurry now to eff up the best thing in college football?

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  8. The ATH

    Totally agree w/ Schlabach – and I’m normally not the old, curmudgeony type on these sort of things. I have no problem w/ A&M as a school – good fans, not too far, but the SEC is hard enough to win as it is. Adding 4 more teams (which is definitely where this is heading once A&M blows the lid off pandora’s box) is only going to make the path more difficult. Beyond that, I think something – call it tradition, passion, etc. – will be lost when all this expansion happens. Not to mention, this expansion may well mark the end of big-time out-of-conference games.

    I just fail to see what value is added to the fan experience by this expansion. Possibly more money? But when every school gets more, no one gets an edge; thus, nothing’s gained. Bottom line, I understand why ADs and conference people may be pushing this, but I don’t get why any SEC fan wants this.

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    • Phocion

      I think we should all breathe in and out a few times before thinking everything is going to pot. The SEC didn’t lose its identity when Arkansas and So Car joined. Why would it when A&M and anyone else joined?

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    • Connor

      The edge is in the endgame. four 16 or 18 team conferences that make up college football. That’s 64 or 72 teams that aren’t sharing the money with anyone else. They play 9 or even 10 conference games and 3 games out of conferences, but against teams from the other 3 conferences, conference championships and then a 4 team playoff. There would be a lot of money in that, and it wouldn’t have to be shared. A true national championship, no more patsies on the schedule maybe…
      Downsides? Plenty. 50 or so teams are going to get kicked to the curb, and schools like Baylor know it. They can see where this is going and that they don’t bring anything to the table. Lots of traditional games could get lost. Bowls probably go… it’s the NFL lite. ESPN sets the schedule, Nike picks the uniforms… What people don’t seem to realize is how close we are to this already. It’s not 1950 anymore. College football commercialized a long time ago, this is just the last big step.
      It’s going to continue to be a fantastically messy process. It’s a nation-wide,slo-motion game of musical chairs, but everyone’s listening to their own music. Should be interesting, if nothing else.

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  9. Russ

    That whole “Longhorn Network” thingy isn’t quite working out that well. In Houston (largest city in Texas and 4 largest in US), you can’t get LN unless you’re one of the twelve people that actually have Verizon Fios. There were a lot of pissed off Longhorns last weekend when they couldn’t watch UT vs Rice. Granted, that’s like UGA vs Vandy, but still, it’s the opening game.

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  10. Ausdawg85

    Super conferences = playoffs. Be careful what you ask for.

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    • Phocion

      I think that everyone is aware of that fact. Playoffs are coiming…the only questions is which conference will your team be in (if you are in the Big 12, in the Big East, or Notre Dame).

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