August 28, 2011

Report: A&M is bailing on #Big12

Fox Sports says Texas A&M will officially announce within a week that it is leaving the Big 12 conference.

Timing and details will all be about whether the SEC is ready to expand to 14 teams, with Louisville being the other likely entrant, how soon A&M can leave the Big 12 and how much the Aggies will have to pay to do so.

Meanwhile, it's clear that University of Texas greed, by not only getting possessive about its TV network but linking it to ESPN, could wind up being a self-inflicted wound.

The Fox story notes UT turned down an opportunity last year to go to the Pac 10. It omits that UT decided not to move because the Pac 10 wanted revenue sharing off the network.

The deal now is, that if A&M moves east, the Longhorns' negotiating position becomes weakened. Pac 10 Commissioner Larry Scott, despite coming from a tennis background, has shown himself brilliant in expanding his conference by two teams, and by standing tough to the Horns earlier.

With A&M gone, now, more than ever, the Big Whatever is a two-team football conference.

Here's a mind-boggler. What if OU decides it doesn't want to be part of such a conference, and risk having to be led around by the nose by UT precisely because it's the only other football power, and decides to try to join A&M?

Well, Big Whatever Commissioner Dan Beebe would be shitting bricks at that point. And the conference would be dead for sure.

That said, if you're OU, you HAVE to put out a subtle feeler to that end, don't you?

Beyond that, the UT network becomes less valuable with a weaker conference. As I've said before, UT could wind up being forced to be an independent in football, like Notre Dame. But, because it's bound itself to ESPN, i.e., ABC Sports, NBC can't pick them up and run them as a feature game every week.

I'm loving it.

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