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After all that bluster, Texas stays put
Really? After all of the rumors and all of the speculation and all of the gabbing from the schools (all off the record, of course), realignment is going to be Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac 10?
While those moves are still a big deal, the hurricane turned out to be little more than a strong storm. (Could the Big Ten and Big 12 simply swap names?) Of all the possible scenarios and all the possible things that could happen, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all staying put was considered a long shot at best.
Yeah, the Big 12 was able to somehow find the money and get creative to make sure the possible defectors in the South would make around $20 million a year and everyone else would be around $14 million to $17 million in TV revenue. This is a bonus for Texas and the other four that appeared to be as good as gone to the Pac-10 or the SEC, but it still doesn't address the long-term viability of the Big 12.
Why wouldn't Missouri still lobby hard to be a part of the Big Ten? The same problems the school had before are now worse because the previous discrepancies are now solidified.
Why is Texas any better off now than it would be in the Pac-10, SEC or the Big Ten? If one of the goals of the program was to make the brand name even bigger and better on a national scale, this doesn't accomplish that.
Why wouldn't Texas A&M take off for the SEC and make more money, be a bigger deal nationally, and create its own identity rather than simply be the inferior little brother in the South?
Now that Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State and Iowa State had their big scare, why wouldn't they openly shop themselves to any of the other BCS conferences that would listen to make sure this doesn't happen again?
Basically, this deal doesn't make sense from any standpoint unless all the posturing, all the lobbying and all the butt-kissing was simply Texas trying to make itself more money with a sweeter deal. But the deal still stinks.
The Big 12 is only going to fall further back from the pack as far as TV rights, prestige and respect now that Nebraska and Colorado are gone and the Big Ten and Pac-10 is certain to keep moving forward. Yeah, the money might be better now, but five years from now, which is where Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott are looking, this is going to be a raw deal. Maybe Texas and the rest of the crew are simply taking a deep breath and will wait and see what comes next.
The Big 12 couldn't have looked more inept or more incompetent through most of this process, but apparently Commissioner Dan Beebe and the league head honchos had some pull after all. Now it's important to learn from this and be proactive. Big 12, go try to see what Big East teams might be interested. Maybe it's time for you to start thinking big and expanding your profile for future TV deals.
OK, so the Big 12 has weathered the storm. What's next for everyone else? The Big Ten might be happy with 12 teams, but its plan all along was to move east, so Rutgers and Maryland are on the radar more than ever.
Meanwhile the Pac-10 is wiping the egg off its face. Scott had an ambitious plan and shot for the moon, but adding Colorado, and possibly Utah, is going to feel a bit empty now.
The SEC wasn't really into the whole realignment game in the first place, and now it doesn't have to make any drastic moves it didn't really want to make anyway. Merry Christmas, ACC. Virginia Tech appears destined to stay put, but Maryland is going to be on a realignment watch until the Big Ten settles down.
Don't think this is the end of the realignment talk. The Big 12 might be fine for the moment, but that doesn't mean that more deals aren't going to be in the works.
For now, in what has turned into the most interesting offseason in college football history, Beebe and the Big 12 turned on the curveball.
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