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.