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At What Price 06/18/2010

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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The new Longhorn League, er, Big 12 logo

The Big XII survived. After Colorado left for the Pac 10 and Nebraska joined the Big Ten, it seemed that the conference was history. Reports had Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State negotiating with the Pac 10, and Texas A&M talking to the Pac 10 and the SEC. That would have left the futures of ‘the little 5’ in doubt. At the last minute, Fox Sports and ESPN sweetened the TV money, and the little five ponied up promises of cash to keep the conference together.

The little five (Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor) apparently offered to cede any penalty monies collected from the Buffs and Huskers to Texas, TAM and Oklahoma. In addition, there are reports that the little five would make up for any potential revenue loss suffered by those schools for staying in the Big XII instead of going to the Pac 10. Additionally, Texas gets to form its own network, a dream they would have been made to forgo in a move to the Pac 10. And people thought that Texas had too much power in the old arrangement!?! The little five made these concessions for two reasons. They were afraid of becoming irrelevant, of being left out of the BCS picture. (Good luck beating Texas with the advantages they now have!) They also argued that with 10 teams, their cut of the pie would be bigger, even with the extortion, er, good will payments. That may have been true, but it is only one week past the agreement and there are already storm clouds on the horizon. The Knight commission looking into college sports recommended earlier this week to lessen payouts to conferences for BCS participation and NCAA hoops participation. If these were to come to pass, the potential financial loss to the schools would be significant. Perhaps an even more ominous threat is the one coming from the Texas state legislature. It seems that they want to force this Texas-centric league to add Houston and perhaps even TCU. So much for the bigger slices of the pie.

The little five were afraid of joining the Mountain West, or another smaller conference, so they sold their souls to Texas. The reports were wrong. The Big XII is dead. Welcome to the Longhorn Conference! Long live Texas!


RIP 06/11/2010

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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The Cornhuskers join the Big Ten

Colorado is heading for the Pac 10. Nebraska is joining the Big Ten. It seems that the Big XII is coming apart at the seams.

The league, formed 14 years ago when the Big Eight was somehow absorbed by the Texas schools from the dying SWC conference. Usually, the schools leaving a defunct conference are absorbed by a larger group of existing affiliated schools, but the nearly 100 year affiliation of the Big 8 schools was no match for Texas. The Longhorns are the biggest bull in the yard, and immediately control of the new conference switched from Kansas City to Dallas. It was a travesty to end the annual Oklahoma-Nebraska football game, but that donnybrook was a sacrifice to Texas wishes. The last straw for Nebraska was the Texas, um, Big 12 ultimatum to swear they were committed to the conference by Friday. Forcing the Big 10’s hand has set realignment into motion. The Big 10 was content to wait a while for Notre Dame to decide about joining them. Had that happened, Nebraska would still be in the Big 12 North and the Big 12 would still be in tact. Texas was the driving force behind the SWC demise, and despite having ‘done everything we could to save the Big 12,’ it is the driving force behind the demise of the Big 12. The Longhorns will also join the Pac 10, along with Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, forming the first 16 team Superconference. Be careful what you wish for, Pac 10. The Big 8 thought it had caught lightning in a bottle, too. It is just 14 short years after Texas joined and Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State (along with Baylor) are left to fend for themselves. Colorado made the first move West because there was a movement afoot to include Baylor and freeze out the Buffs. (Watch out, OSU!) Most of those teams will probably end up in the Mountain West.

Nebraska will fit fine into the Big 10. They will probably be better off. Now the question is, what’s next? Various outlets report thea the Big 10 (now with 12

The changes have just begun. Conferences are up in the air. Who knows where they will land.

teams) and Notre Dame are still talking. ND has always been the Jewel that the Big 10 covets. So that means 2 or 4 more teams will likely end up joining the conference eventually. It may happen quickly, or it may happen in stages. The focus now shifts east as the Big 10 eyes teams currently in the Big East and ACC. Rumors say Rutgers is in play, along with Syracuse, Pitt and others. There is a shakeup coming out east, and another conference will probably bite the dust when it is all said and done.

What of the Pac 10? I find it interesting that at the same time they are adding 6 schools, one of those institutions, Colorado, is being sanctioned by the NCAA for failing to maintain academic standards and conference standard-bearer USC has been hit with a 2 year bowl ban and lost 30 scholarships for a lack of institutional control. The Pack 10 is a mess, and Texas has not even arrived yet!