Texas's Deloss Dodds Grapples With Losing Legacy
Poor DeLoss Dodds, he's starting to realize what Outkick the Coverage has been telling y'all for a couple of years now -- that his most lasting legacy is going to be as the athletic director who lifted Texas A&M athletics past the University of Texas. Dodds reached for the nation with the Longhorn Network and in the process he lost his state to the Aggies. Remember when Dodds said before the 2012 football season that the Aggies and the SEC were no threat to Texas and that they had a small sliver of the east side of Texas? Yeah, then the Aggies went 11-2, posted massive television ratings in Austin, had a redshirt freshman win the Heisman trophy, crushed Texas in 2013 recruiting, and are a consensus top five team in the 2013 preseason.
When Alabama comes to College Station on September 14, that contest will be bigger than any football game the Longhorns have hosted on campus in a decade.
It's gotten so bad for Dodds that he's now tilting at other ex-Big 12 windmills. Yesterday he told the Austin-American Statesman, “We’re going to have good years again. Our bad years are not that bad. Take a school like Missouri. Our bad years are better than their good years."
Presumably Dodds forgot that Missouri beat Texas in 2011 in football and basketball three times. That was before Mizzou departed for the SEC and left Dodds squinting into the sunlight, an old Texas rancher who suddenly realized his land is in the midst of a perpetual drought. The rain ain't coming Deloss, the river doesn't flow the same direction it used to because the SEC earthquake changed things forever.
The Missouri quote is most interesting because Dodds can't even pick on Texas A&M anymore, he's moving further down the former Big 12 food chain. Pretty soon Dodds will be pointing to Iowa State and saying, "Sure, Iowa State beat us this year, but look at history, the Cyclones are no match for the Longhorns over the past twenty years."
When Kansas State beats Texas again, Dodds will say, "Hell, we beat Kansas though. A .500 batting average would make you the best baseball player ever! Lord a mercy, let's get some perspective here, we still split with the state of Kansas in football."
It has to be incredibly painful for Deloss Dodds to have gotten so much right over his thirty-one years as Texas athletic director yet missed on the biggest issue, the one that will define his legacy at Texas. Dodds has been at Texas since 1981 and during that time he's made it rain on the Longhorn athletic department. But in the last few years all of the battles he's won have led to a lost war. He sacked the Alamo, but then Texas A&M went San Jacinto on his ass. Yep, Dodds is a modern day Santa Ana, a would be Texas dictator who thought he'd already won the war and then got whipped while he was in the middle of a siesta.
See, the Longhorn Network was supposed to be Dodds's moon landing, the event that would garland his name with praise for the next several generations of Longhorn athletics. The Longhorn Network was going to be Dodds' walk-off shot, his Michael Jordan jumper over Bryon Russell, the moment that everyone would talk about as a seismic event in college athletics, the individual school network that would be heard 'round the nation. Everything really would be bigger in Texas. "Y'all look at Dodds," Texas fans would say, "he took the Longhorn brand to the nation and secured the future!"
Only it hasn't quite worked out like that.
Dodds lost the state of Texas to Texas A&M and the future of college athletics to the SEC, a conference he was scared to join back in 1992.
The Longhorn Network is an abject failure that led to the collapse of the Big 12. Russia used to send its most hated prisoners to Siberia, never to be heard from again. Now ESPN sends its most hated talent to the Longhorn Network, the Sibera of sports television. How lost on the television dial is the Longhorn Network? More people watch the Jim Rome Show on the CBS Sports Network. The Longhorn Network was supposed to be the final coup of an illustrious career, instead it was goodbye Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M and Missouri. Hello TCU and West Virginia.
Deloss Dodds didn't just kill the Longhorn's future, he sabotaged the entire Big 12, devaluing a once proud brand for a few million extra dollars. No one watches the Longhorn Network and his own coaches are complaining about it giving competitive advantage to opponents. Worst of all, instead of perpetuating Texas Longhorn dominance for the next generation, it led to Texas's implosion. The Aggies galloped past the Longhorns and now poor Deloss is picking fights with Missouri.
Oh, Dodds has got money, but money without football games that people care about is what dry humping is to sex, it defeats the entire purpose.
Deloss thought Texas's brand was so strong it didn't matter who they played.
He was wrong about the biggest decision of his tenure.
Totally and completely wrong.
Recruits don't come to Texas because the athletic department has great facilities or because their games are on a special network, they come because they want to play in games that matter, in front of large national television audiences. Other than the Oklahoma game Dodds might as well be pitching horseshoes in an empty stadium. Dodds forgot the cardinal lesson of athletics, you're only as strong as your weakest link. And the Big 12 is mostly made up of weak links right now. That failure is all the more amazing because all he had to do was look to the NFL. The NFL brand is so valuable because all 32 teams have strength, each game has value, any team can win.
Texas A&M saw that the SEC was recreating the NFL and jumped on board, Dodds was so arrogant he tried to build his own football network and went it alone.
But one-way football dominance doesn't work, you have to have rivals, games that people care about watching.
Holy hell, that's a lot of bad football games.
Ole Miss might be the second best game on Texas's schedule in 2013. Out of six home football games, Texas fans get to watch two teams from Kansas and have road trips to Iowa and West Virginia.
Pity poor Deloss, he's left picking on Missouri because he's just now realizing his decision-making failure.
The real irony of Dodds pickign on Mizzou? Missouri's future is brighter than Texas's. When the SEC Network is officially announced the Tigers will be making more television money than Texas does and they'll be playing in more games that matter. As a result, every year Deloss Dodds is going to be feuding further down the college football food chain.
Look out Sam Houston State, pretty soon Deloss Dodds, the Santa Ana of college athletics, is going to be ripping y'all too.
Given the historical record, I'm taking Sam Houston State in the upset.