Question of the day: Did Texas make a good move by staying in the Big 12 (or Big 10)?
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Four reporters from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to add comments of your own.
[Updated at 10:50 a.m.:
Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times
In the end, Texas didn’t have the good of college football in mind, or saving a conference, or possibly putting a stop to what could have been a disastrous path to massive realignment.
Seems to me that Texas did what was best for Texas. You wonder now whether King Longhorn was just playing everyone in huge game of high-stakes poker.
Texas got the best of everything. It got Colorado and Nebraska out of the conference, which reduces the number of schools with which it has to divide the money.
Texas got the Pac-10 to make an offer that allowed it to leverage the Big 12 and Fox for a better deal.
Texas got to stay in the Big 12, really the Big 10, and start its own network, a la the Yankees.
And Texas doesn’t have to share that money with the rest of the conference. Joining the Pac-10 would have required Texas to split revenue among the 16 members.
Texas’ path to the national title is now easier, with resurgent Nebraska knocking heads in the Big Ten (good luck there), and it may not even have to play a conference championship game anymore. NCAA rules require 12 schools to do that, so the Big 12 would have to get the rule changed, but what’s the hurry?
So, was Texas really ever going to join the Pac-16, or was this just a brilliant and daring negotiating ploy to make Texas fatter and richer than it already is?
Or is that a rhetorical question?]
Andrea Adelson, Orlando Sentinel
It is utter genius for the Longhorns to stay in a slimmed-down Big 12. They get between $20 million and $25 million a year to stay, if you believe the reports. They get the green light to start their own network. They get rid of the irksome conference championship game. They get even more power, controlling a 10-team league instead of being one of 16 teams in the Pac-10. They get rid of Nebraska, which had been a headache.
What more could have gone right?
Now, Texas is perfectly positioned when the super-conference era begins. Why? Because it will have already started its own network and bring it along wherever it lands. That was a major sticking point with the Pac-10, which wants a network of its own. If you want Texas going forward, you have to take the network, too.
[Updated at 11:45 a.m.:
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Now that’s an easy one. Texas not only gets the promise of a huge raise (doubling its annual TV revenue to as much as $25 million per), it avoids having to send its non-revenue teams to Pullman, Wash. Not that Lubbock, Texas, is any more fun, but at least it’s closer.
Texas also has established itself as the biggest deal in college sports, a point size larger than Notre Dame. The Irish are not even alone now in having their own network, though Bevo TV doesn’t have quite the same ring as NBC.
Finally, the Longhorns can claim they’re the good guys for having kept the 10-school Big 12 together. Of course we all know the cash register is truly to thank.]