Dropping the big one

What cracks me up the most about what’s gone down since word came out about Oklahoma and Texas gutting the Big 12 is how people who know better are trying to present facts of the past week as somehow particularly revelatory about the way college football is run, when, in fact, they’re nothing more than the same old, same old.  I mean, gee, are we supposed to pretend that ESPN’s behind the scenes machinations are a new thing?

It’s not just pundits, either, who are guilty of wearing blinders.

And the messiness that came out of the Bowlsby Bomb neatly summed up the fraught landscape in college athletics. One athletic director summed it up this way Wednesday: “This has created a lot more mistrust, a lot more dissension and a lot more hard feelings. If anything, that to me is why [the expansion to a 12-team playoff] slows down.”

Added another: “Most everyone in college athletics outside the SEC is mad as hell. This is a black mark on the enterprise … federal intervention may be the last resort to save us from ourselves.”

Chimed in another longtime college official: “An industry destined to blow itself up.”

Oh, boo fucking hoo.  You know what the real issue is?  In an industry full of Jed Clampetts, Greg Sankey wound up exercising a little more foresight than his peers.  And they can’t handle the aftermath.

With the SEC preparing to add Texas and Oklahoma, attention shifts to the three options at hand for each of the remaining Power Five conferences:

  • Expand in an attempt to keep pace with the SEC from a competitive and financial perspective, with each move triggering a series of corresponding moves across the entire Football Bowl Subdivision;
  • Stand pat and batten down the hatches in an effort to prevent other conferences from raiding or poaching teams from its current lineup of members;
  • Or, in the case of one league in particular, decide whether to remain a conference altogether.

Myerberg puts his finger on the source of their dilemma, at least in the immediate term.

… the genuine lack of productive expansion targets outside of current members of Power Five conferences and a small handful of teams playing in the Group of Five. Even in that case, options left behind by the Big 12, for example, simply don’t move the needle for the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12.

Every other member of the P5 needs to expand, but where do they go for that?  No other football program out there brings the cachet of a Texas or Oklahoma, at least if no P5 actor wants to go on an outright raid of another conference’s schools.  Sankey, to his credit, shrewdly read the room, took full advantage of it to land his big fish and left everyone else scrambling to escape the wreckage.  (Yes, with a little help from Mickey.)

It’s not any better in the intermediate term, either.

Another is the possibility that the SEC isn’t done yet, and if so whether there is anything another conference can do to hold down the fort should one of its schools be extended an invitation — especially with the SEC on a path to rake in $1.3 billion in revenue during the 2024-25 fiscal year with the addition of the Longhorns and the Sooners.

The answer is no for the ACC and Pac-12 because the money isn’t there.  The Big Ten is probably in a better place in that regard.  There’s no reason to even bring up the Big 12 in the discussion.  That is what Sankey hath wrought.

I’m not saying he’s a genius, but in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king and Greg Sankey has that one eye.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

25 responses to “Dropping the big one

  1. Seems to me that Bowlsby might have a case against ESPN.


  2. theotherdoug

    The rest of the Big 12 over estimated their value, and didn’t realize they’re really just Mountain West teams riding Texas and OU’s coat tails.

    So, what about GT? What’s their worth on the free market if the ACC implodes?


  3. GruvenDawg

    I love the OU addition. Taking Texas has a lot more implications on re-alignment. It removes the PAC 12 expansion capability of adding UT and Big12 remnants. The last round of re-alignment and this round UT and several of the Texas schools could have saved the PAC 12 and given them a new lease on relevance and broadcast rights.. If the PAC 12 takes UT it forces the Big 10 and ACC to pull the trigger on a couple as well to get to 16.

    With the SEC taking both OU and Texas there are only scraps remaining besides ND. None of the other conferences see anything desirable to add to the conference that is going to move the needle for the conference or their broadcast rights. If anything else happens it would have to be ACC and PAC 12 either working together or working with the Big 10.

    Interesting how this shakes out over the next year.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. stoopnagle

    Let me be the first to welcome UNC, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Clemson* to the SEC.

    (but maybe we should convince Sankey to ask UVA instead? Because: Fuck Clemson. LOL.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ASEF

    In an industry full of Jed Clampetts…

    in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king…

    Perfectly put

    Liked by 5 people

  6. SlobberKnocker

    I’ve been thinking since the move of OU and UT dropped that , while I may not like the game being played, I have to give credit to Sankey for playing it well. Steering the future of the playoff while simultaneously positioning his conference to dominate it was masterful game play.


  7. MGW

    I understand the unlikeliness of this due to clashing egos, arrogance, etc., but….. couldn’t the rest of CFB band together and do the following?

    Say no to 12
    Add a conference championship requirement to the 4 team playoff
    Reduce scholarships down to, say, 75

    And anything else they could come up with to kneecap the SEC’s competitive advantages and value. Keep in mind that this isn’t some incidental “mea culpa” kind of thing with some collateral damage from the fallout that’s just part of the game; this is the SEC deliberately screwing over the entire rest of college football.

    If the rest of CFB could get its act together and do it, what’s to stop them beyond the SEC just leaving on their own (which has more dire financial consequences for the SEC than the rest of CFB)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The rest of CFB needs the SEC like Batman needs the Joker. Take the SEC out of CFB, and the sport loses closer to half its value as a TV property, not 1/5th like the other P5’s might think. The Big Ten is in the SEC’s realm, but the rest aren’t.


      • MGW

        Right, but all those schools are already undervalued.

        What is the SEC worth if the rest of FBS refuses to play them?


        • 79dawg

          As I have said before, a 4X16 First Division with an 8, 12 or 16 team playoff, bidding the rights out collectively, is worth a lot more than the current setup….


        • MGW
          If schools refused to play the SEC, I still think it’s worth more than every other conference except big 10. The teams and match ups would still draw plenty of viewers. No cupcakes either. ( I’m being nice to Vandy.)


  8. 69Dawg

    Mickey has the leverage in this matter. Big12/8 can piss on the electric fence (ESPN) if they want but right now Bowlsby is about to make Emmert appear not to be the dumbest leader in college sports. Who’s going to come to the rescue NBC,CBS or FOX? Hell CBS just got taken out of the SEC by Mickey. Besides they have now accused their own remaining members of being parties to the “interference”.


    • 79dawg

      As Col. Kurtz said, Bob is a grocery-store clerk doing his bosses bidding, just like Emmerett did. Sure the Presidents of Kansas and West Virginia and maybe Oklahoma State are telling Bob to go out and do all this, but behind his back they are talking with the ACC, Big10 and Pac10 about joining – they will end up stabbing him in the back (the horror!!!).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. uga97

    ….and film makers hates Georgia too, Mr. Bowlsby, but they still spent $4 Billion on our state..

    No one is stopping this a-hole from turning turning the TV knob over to NBC, go ahead knock yerself out.

    Longhorns’ new hand signal: “Fuck ‘Em”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh boo boo? If this was happening to the SEC, or if SEC was on the outside while another conference got OU and Texas, would you have the same sentiment?

    I gather you’re a lawyer, and tells me you should know better. This idea that tampering in violation of express contractual provisions is “oh boo-hoo,“ or that this ends nicely for ESPN is ridiculous. Also, blowing up the big 12, even if it loses all its members, does not mean that the legal entity ceases to exist. In this and at least one other post you’ve implied that the destruction of the big 12 or the withdrawal of all its members would end the penalty. You know better than that. Even if the big 12 ends up in bankruptcy, a trustee will have that cause of action and its members will be entitled to the damages once that’s over.

    ESPN deserves everything it’s going to get and then some. Don’t forget, venue for this will surely lie in big 12 territory unless there’s a forum selection clause for Bristol, Connecticut and some pissed off Big12 jurors will hit them and hit them hard.

    I get that you hate the NCAA and there are countless reasons why we all should. But at the end of the day, if everything that changes is about the prior lack of true attention on the athletes, how does this benefit the group of athletes other than those in the SEC? It’s a very disappointing narrative you are offering Senator, so today I demoted you to merely a Page…an outdated assistant whose sole role was to pass out paper copies of legislation and get a quick photo shoot for the school newspaper.


    • Gosh, I’ll take your chastisement under advisement.

      You don’t seem to have a real clue about my take here, so let me ‘splains it to you succinctly: a plague on all their houses. Fuck the conferences. Fuck ESPN. They’ve collaborated to run the sport I love nearly into the ground and, as I’ve already said, this particular drama is more in the line of a culmination than some new development. Now they’ve got hurt fee-fees and want Congress to kiss them and make them feel better? Sorry if I can’t show a level of sympathy you find suitable.

      If you think Bowlsby’s goal in this is for a conference representative to get a check from Mickey some day in the future, well, bless your heart. He’s scrambling to save a conference that’s on life support and there is no move he can make against ESPN that will accomplish that. So thanks very much for your irrelevant legal advice.


  11. Comment removed by administrator.


  12. rigger92

    “SEC unanimously votes invites to OU and TX”…

    Thank you Senator for keeping us up to date, tomorrow should be fun with what you drum up. Again, thank you for distilling all of the info and giving us the proper snark perspective. If I could, i would insert REM “the end of the world as we know it”. The ‘17 Rose bowl was plenty enough, needing that every year is greedy. I will get with my doc to talk about more beta blockers and ace inhibitors……