Sunday, August 28, 2011

The University of Texas and the SEC

Click for IMDB including Trailer
So Texas A&M is bound for the SEC.  Two questions arise.

One.  Why does the SEC want A&M?  Two.  Why is (what's left of) the Big 12 just sitting there?

One answer seems to work for both questions.

The University of Texas is moving to the SEC.

["Aha!  Watson, the game is afoot."  Basil Rathbone was the most famous Holmes, but the picture and link here remind us of an earlier monster movie role.]

Logic.  None of the so-called "equity conferences" needs to add anybody unless they bring enough revenue potential with them to raise the conference average (this could happen by increasing conference membership to 12 so there can be a Conference Championship).  A&M alone does not do this for the SEC, but A&M and Texas fits the bill.  And the strategy is enviable--first make sure that A&M wants to go so there is no interference from the Texas legislature.  Not only was there no interference, but the board of regents (all appointed by the governor) has already given its blessing.  For those doubters--who raises the average for the SEC besides Texas?  Somebody from the ACC?  Miami is now a leper and that leaves FSU or Clemson.  Nope.

Logic.  What's left of the Big 12 sits there because there really are only two teams that fit the "raise the average" requirement, BYU and Notre Dame (let's not even get started on the likes of Boise State or Houston, economically weak sisters).  Even if BYU would come (they could have just said so when they went independent, but they didn't), ND has made it clear by passing on the Big Ten that they prefer independence.  So what's left of the Big 12 may not even be able to get back to 10 teams, let alone the 12 that it takes for a believable Conference Championship.  And Texas knows this.  If they stay, it's the annual Texas-Oklahoma game and that's it.  Since the Longhorn Network is only of value to people in the state of Texas, it is completely portable and no threat to the SEC Network.

Prediction Consistent with the Logic.  Oklahoma and ND join the Big Ten (or Oklahoma and Mizzou, if ND stays indie).  That makes two conferences of 14.  The Pac 12 is right behind with BYU and somebody to go to 14 (the Pac has always been the weaker of the Big 4 and will have to settle for "somebody" to round out 14; I think Oklahoma State, but maybe this is Boise State's big chance).

Logic.  This allows the BCS to squeeze more schools out of the "equity conference" distinction.  The BCS would benefit from dumping the Big East and, if both of the premier Texas schools move to the SEC, and Oklahoma moves to the Big Ten, the BCS can dump the remaining Big Rest as well.  That makes 4 equity conferences rather than 6; the money gets preserved for fewer teams.

Slowly but surely, the Big 12 is working its way backward through history.  Originally, the Big 12 was the Big 6 and then the Big 8.  It never would have made it past 8 if it weren't for the wandering Texans-- Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Texas Tech left the SWC to join the Big 8 in 1994.  That move was the final nail in the coffin of the SWC.  The move of A&M to the SEC, soon to be followed by Texas, and ultimately Oklahoma, signals the end of the Big 12 as well.

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