June 16th, 2010

Texas Longhorns

Dirty Politics & Longhorn Greed

ESPN "paid off"  Texas to stay in the Big 12 while the Longhorns were holding the Pac-10 hostage.  It's no secret that FOX had the upper hand in the battle for the new PAC-16 Network.  ESPN and ABC  guaranteed the Little X an infusion of funds because they were not prepared to compete with FOX and the Pack of 16 Network, which was going to guarantee every member institution $22 million a year.

Inevitably, the new Little X Conference will crumble and Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma & Oklahoma State will move to the Pack of 16.  The TV markets in the Little X are too small to sustain the revenue promised by ABC/ESPN.  Other than Dallas/Fort Worth & Houston, there are no Little X  Conference "friendly" media markets in the top 20.

DFW has a huge alum base from Texas, A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Houston has a big Aggie and Longhorn base.  No big television market gives a damn about Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri college football.  There are more viewers in the DFW metroplex than in the entire state of Oklahoma.

The BCS,  lead by the Big XII, pressured the Pac-10 and BigTen to expand to stay on equal footing with the other members. Then Texas turns around and screws the rest of the BCS  by forming the Little X.   The move wasn't about travel, tradition, or education. Texas betrayed the Pac-10 for money, an easier road to the BCS Championship game and to fade the Baylor political heat, which is a force to deal with in Texas.

Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor are handing over their share of the $35 million to $40 million in penalties to be paid by Nebraska and Colorado to Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.  Now, those three schools are guaranteed to start collecting $20 million each year the Little X survives.

We’re about to find out what a huge platform the Big XII championship game at Cowboys Stadium provided. While the SEC, ACC  (and maybe the, BigTen, and Pac-10 play a showdown on the final Saturday of the regular season, the Little X's championship game will have been played two months earlier, in the Red River Classic between Texas and Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl. There will be no title game in the Little X.

A 10-team league that’s top-heavy with OU and Texas, with Iowa State, Baylor, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State at the bottom? The Little X will be behind all BCS teams, including the Big East in reputation.  OU and OSU won't sleep well, knowing the conference is built on sand. What if the projected revenues don’t come to pass? What if the Big Ten eventually warms up to Missouri? What if A&M rethinks the SEC? Will the lucrative Pac-10 offer be available next time around?

OU and Texas have dominated the league for a decade, but at least there was hope that Nebraska could find its footing and make a football Big Three. And Colorado has had its moments during the Big 12 era. Now, fewer teams than ever can challenge the Sooners and Longhorns.

The Mountain West Conference with TCU, BYU, Boise State and Utah (who will be joining the Pac-10 after the UT Big XII train wreck) are better than eight of the ten Little X schools in football.  

The Little X is emerging from the Pac-10 / Big XII merger but it's  is not a happy conference.  Missouri was criticized as being a malcontent. The University of Texas an overlord. Texas A&M dazed and confused. Baylor expendable. Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State forgotten. 

The Little X Conference will also have a diminished academic pedigree. Colorado and Nebraska belong to the Association of American Universities, the prestigious group of major research institutions. The revamped Big 12 will have five schools in the association: Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas, Iowa State and Missouri.

In contrast, the Pac-10 will have seven of 11 schools, including Colorado, in the association.  In the Big Ten, all 12 schools, including Nebraska, are members of the Association of American Universities.

The lofty days of National respect for a Big XII with a league championship game are gone.  The biggest share of the blame for the failed Little X Conference goes to the University of Texas.

Thanks to Dan Beebe's hustling of ABC/ESPN, UT fear of being blamed for the breakup and having to deal with Baylor & A&M political backlash and the generostiy of the Desperate Five in the Big 12 (Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor, the Little X rises from the ashes of the Big XII.

 I am done with the University of Texas and the Little X Conference. They can all go to hell. Most of the college football fans whose vote will be cast via television ratings feel the same way.  The Little X is a bad joke.  

Bottom line:   F UT & their Little X Conference.  Go Frogs!