Friday, June 4, 2010

You actually believe I read orangebloods.com?

(Openly scammed from Pac-10 website)
(Openly scammed from Big 10 website)
That quote by Texas A&M's Atheltic Director says all you need to know about issues the Pac-10 could talk about this weekend at their annual meetings.

As I tweeted yesterday, Oshea sent me a little tidbit from Orangebloods.com, the University of Texas' Rival site, about the Pac-10 making a bid for Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado to join them, making the Pac-16.  I hope that is what they'd call it, instead of trying to get cute with the graphic design and still call themselves the Pac-10, but with a 16 sublimally inserted in thier logo.  However, the fly in the ointment is Texas A&M, which allegedly would rather dance with the SEC.

Considering the power Texas A&M has in Austin, don't count on anything happening with Texas and Texas A&M that involves them in separate conferences.  Yes, UT is the better of the known brands right now.  Yes, UT has the better deal and leverage to make deals in the college football firmament (read: television and other media marketing). UT is a better catch to the outside world.  However, the third rail of Texas politics (ok, a minor third rail, the real one is income tax) is allowing Texas or Texas A&M to not get treated equally vis a vis the other.

Folks in West Texas routinely complain that too much emphasis is paid to everything East of Fort Worth.  When it comes to the State of Texas' public colleges, that is certainly true.  Texas and Texas A&M are considered co-flagship institutions.  When conference realignment last reared its ugly head in the late 80's, the state legislature steped in to make sure Texas and Texas A&M would end up in the same conference.  I see no reason to believe it wouldn't happen that way again.

I made an off handed, though in hindsight not far-fetched, suggestion a few weeks ago:  the SEC should, if they are going to expand, invite Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to join.  There are those that mention the distance and the more 'natural' rivalries if you were to invite some of the ACC schools to join.  To that I say pish.  Hey, I'd love to play Clemson every year.  In fact I think we should play them every year.  However, the Tigers are firmly rooted as a founder of the ACC and won't leave.  Neither will Georgia Tech.  I say FSU had their shot to join the SEC, as did Miami.  Both took the short term gain of playing in a less competitive football conference.  Neither adds more to the marketing, competitive, financial or even academic value of the conference than at least three and arguably all four of the schools from the Big 12.

From a blogger's standpoint, it'd be great to find a way to work Texas Tech into the mix, just for the shear humor in having Tommy Tuberville back in the SEC.  You know he'd be thinking 'FGTBFK' if that happens.  From a practicality standpoint, TCU makes more sense than Texas Tech.  I guess the same goes for potential revenue (they are in the DFW TV market) and academics.  Plus, they'd add another private school to the mix.

Finally, I am not convinced the SEC needs to do anything.  I am not saying they should stand pat for standing pat's sake, taking the position that they are the best athletic conference for revenue and many non-rev sports and schools should be asking us to be let in.  The SEC should carefully evaluate who might be available, how those schools fit into the long term plans of the conference academically, athletically and financially, and decide how to proceed.  What they can't do is willy-nilly invite schools to join, just because someone else might have 16 or 20 schools.  Yes, football might be the 200 pound gorilla in the room, due to its impact on revenues, but if Roy Kramer and his associates struggle after thoughtful evaluation to find a way to make the total pie (not just football revenue) bigger for everyone if the SEC adds schools, then they won't.  Nor should they.

Increasing revenue per capita is the holy grail of conference expansion.  The SEC has been the most savvy about adding schools in a way that makes long term financial and competitive sense and in marketing those schools and their athletics to maximize revenue.  Other conferences and schools have room in the market to grow revenue for individual schools and confernces generally.  Does the SEC?

Answer that first, then think about expansion.

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