Patterico's Pontifications


Big 12, Big 10, Pac-10

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 1:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Here’s what I’ve heard:

  • Nebraska and Missouri will move to the Big 10, and/or
  • The Pac-10 will invite anywhere from six to all twelve Big 12 schools to join.
  • Some Texas sportswriters are hoping any remaining Texas teams will form a Texas version of the old Southwest Conference. I’d like that.

    What have you heard?

    — DRJ

    22 Responses to “Big 12, Big 10, Pac-10”

    1. Big 10 paid each member school over 20 million last season. So which new school is big enough and rich enough to join? Which new school won’t threaten the revenues of existing schools? Which new schools have the best cultural fit to the existing Big 10 schools?

      Texas. Then who cares?
      The Big Ten would generate 10’s of millions more in TV revenue with Texas part of their show. It would be hard getting used to that Texas twang but the Big Ten should move heaven and earth to get Texas in their show.

      richardb (ab4035)

    2. There are so many variables involved because there are so many schools. I don’t know the dynamics for Oklahoma, the West Coast, etc., but when it comes to the Texas schools: I don’t think Texas will agree to move without A&M and Tech. The problem for Texas is that it could lose funding from the Legislature if it doesn’t insist on a similar deal for all 3 State schools. Plus, the powers-that-be at Texas have always wanted to go in the Pac-10.

      DRJ (d43dcd)

    3. I don’t think re-forming the SWC would work. Texas college football is now two-tiered, with UT, A&M, Tech, and TCU being in the upper echelon and Rice, SMU, Baylor, UTEP, Houston, et al. all being second tier.

      You are right, DRJ, that Texas probably can’t make a move unless they take care of A&M and Tech. If memory serves, the Big 12 originally only wanted Texas and A&M, but Gov. Richards and the legislature insisted that Tech and Baylor come too in a package deal (Baylor supposedly because it was Richards’ alma mater). Otherwise, the conference was going to try to get Utah and BYU as the 11th and 12th teams.

      Texas would no doubt love to expand their recruiting base to the West Coast, and the Pac 10 schools no doubt would like to make inroads in Texas recruiting. It makes sense all around.

      So here is what we might be moving towards: a Pac 10 East consisting of Texas, A&M, Tech, OU, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State, and a Pac 10 West consisting of USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State. Sucks for Utah, Nevada, UNLV, Idaho and Boise State, who are the odd men out in this scenario.

      JVW (36eb17)

    4. There has been discussion about the Big Ten (which really is eleven since Penn State joined) adding one team and making their football season similar to the SEC, with 2 divisions and a playoff for the conferance title. Teams named as possibilities have included Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Cincinnati and I’m not sure who else.

      MD in Philly (cb8efe)

    5. I have heard Notre Dame for the Big Ten discussed on local sports talk radio (Chicago), but not recently. That would be a hellova move for all concerned.

      BT (74cbec)

    6. Notre Dame to the Big 10 will probably happen if and when the Big East breaks apart, which is looking more and more like a certainty. ND would love to maintain its independence in football, but they need a conference for basketball and the other non-revenue sports and the Big 10 is the best fit. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, the Big 10 is powerful enough to tell Notre Dame that they can’t join unless they join as a football member too. ND’s TV contract with NBC runs through 2015, I think, so there will have to be negotiations about how and when ND joins the Big 10 TV package.

      JVW (36eb17)

    7. I don’t see Notre Dame giving up its NBC package as long as NBC keeps renewing it.

      DRJ (d43dcd)

    8. It may be that ND can keep the NBC deal, but they would have to reach an accommodation with the Big 10 for revenue sharing from it. Besides, I think it was the article on this in Sports Illustrated a few weeks back pointed out that they could potentially make more money in the Big 10, especially if they keep churning out 6-6 and 7-5 seasons.

      Where Notre Dame really loses out is in the flexibility of scheduling. They have always played a national schedule and have historic rivalries with schools like USC, Stanford, Washington, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Army, Navy, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida State, and others. If they are forced into a conference like the Big 10, some of those rivalries will endure within the conference (Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, potentially Pittsburgh), but they will only be able to schedule two or three non-conference games each year. I think that is why Notre Dame is so reluctant to join; they want to continue to schedule teams from all over the country.

      It would be a ballsy move for them to try and be the last remaining football independent, but I don’t see any of the super-conferences allowing that.

      JVW (36eb17)

    9. I haven’t heard anything because i haven’t been listening, but most of that sounds ludicrous.

      Why would the Big 10 want to span more than half the continent?

      And Texas would have to give up half its classic rivalries to join the Big 10. Yeah, that’ll happen…:-/

      As far as a merger between the pac-10 and the big-12, The pac-10 is very much an all-sports conference. They like having schools grouped together in states, so they can send their non-football teams in multiples to the same states in a sort of circuit. The pac-10 is a lot more likely to pick up Utah and Utah St. than they are anyone from the B12.

      IgotBupkis (79d71d)

    10. Where did that rumor come from, DRJ? This is the first I’ve heard of it.

      Mike LaRoche (d4323e)

    11. I think it started on Orangebloods but there have been references all over, such as this Austin American-Statesman and ESPN articles.

      DRJ (d43dcd)

    12. Ah, okay. Thanks. I also found this article at

      What a shocking development – I had NO idea this was happening until I saw this post. But then I haven’t been following college football as closely since the season ended in January.

      Hard to imagine the Red Raisers as part of an expanded Pac-10 (Big 16?). But at least a move to the Pac-10 would allow the rivalries with UT and A&M to continue.

      Mike LaRoche (d4323e)

    13. It’s going to happen because its all about added TV revenue in a time of shrinking university budgets.

      The Big 12 has an unbalanced revenue sharing formula, from which UT gets more than the other schools. The last figures available were from 2007, and UT got over $10 million, while some of the smaller schools got $7-8 million.

      The Pac 10 has an equal revenue sharing agreement.

      What a Big 16 would do is result in the creation of a new television network by Fox, that would have 7 of the Top 20 TV markets covered. The estimate is that each of the member schools would receive approximately $20 million.

      UT stays with Tex A&M, as well as with Oklahoma.

      I think the former was going to always be the case.

      But, I was guessing that Okl and Okie St. would end up part of the SEC, with the 4 Texas schools going to the Pac 10.

      This proposal that has Okl coming to the Pac 16 will likely come to pass, maybe as soon as 2011.

      shipwreckedcrew (436eab)

    14. Mike,

      Kirk Bohls adds this, and I assume it comes from a UT source:

      The possibility that Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado could merge with the Pac 10 is very real.

      It is probably contingent on the decisions by Nebraska and maybe Missouri to continue dancing with the Big Ten despite no hard invitations from that league.

      If Nebraska’s board of trustees, who meet June 12, vote to stick with the Big 12, it could totally quash the Pac 10 options. The Cornhuskers definitely want to join the Big Ten, in my opinion, as does Missouri, but haven’t been invited yet.

      The Big 12 figures to call ‘em both out and demand a position.

      I am also told that a linkage between Texas and Texas A&M may not necessarily be set in stone, and that quite frankly stuns me.

      DRJ (d43dcd)

    15. UT has always wanted the PAC-10 and I’ve heard A&M wants to go with the SEC. I’m not sure where that leaves Tech.

      DRJ (d43dcd)

    16. An interesting article re B10 expansion

      FLBuckeye (2b2e08)

    17. Frank the tank

      FLBuckeye (2b2e08)

    18. DRJ,

      Interesting point by Bohls. It looks like a move to the Pac-10 by the aforementioned six schools would certainly be best for Texas Tech. By contrast, a move to the SEC by A&M would potentially be disastrous, according to this article. An excerpt:

      As a resident, I am pissed at Aggie leadership. If UT or A&M move to the SEC, it blows the doors to Texas recruiting wide open. The SEC will have much greater success pulling 4 & 5 star recruits out of the state.

      Our most talented kids will be driving the financial engine of the deep south states, not Texas.

      The SEC will improve with the added talent, especially the west, which will ensure A&M remains the same middle of the pack school they have been lately.

      Not only will their stupid move backfire on them, it will also cut into UT’s recruiting, dragging them down from an annual title contender, and will dramatically hurt TCU and Tech’s recruiting.

      It would crush college football in the state for at least a decade and probably two to three as extraction from the SEC would be damn near impossible.

      The exact opposite occurs if they join the Pac-10. The new affiliation would act as a firewall cutting off SEC recruiting efforts. The Pac-10 schools will get a few more recruits, but they are generally too far away for most Texas high schoolers. UT, A&M, Tech, and OU would all have regular top 25 talent if not better. A&M would again have a shot at national titles as would all of that foursome.

      The Aggies’ stance is, in the opinion of this author, mind-numbingly stupid.

      All of Texas would suffer for A&M’s intransigence.

      Where are the academics at A&M (and UT) pushing back against this kind of thinking?

      TCU and Tech alumni need to get their legislators all over A&M on this one. Frankly all residents of Texas need to be writing their legislators over this. This has the potential of totally reversing the brain drain that has most of our valedictorians and salutatorians fleeing the state after high school.

      Those are driven kids who often come up with inventions and breakthroughs in their 20’s that are turned into money making businesses. If we keep them in state, we get those jobs, not the rest of America.

      This is a financial issue. A&M is talking about taking money out of all of our wallets.

      I feel residents of Texas should all be pissed with A&M’s leadership over this.

      Shipwreckedcrew’s point about equal revenue sharing is a powerful argument in favor of the six Big 12 schools joining the Pac-10.

      The Frank the Tank article linked by FLBuckeye is well-reasoned, but I doubt that a solo move by UT to the Big 10 (or Texas A&M to the SEC) will happen because of the aforementioned disadvantages to Texas collegiate academics overall. I could see the Texas legislature or Governor Perry getting involved to try to block such solo efforts and keep UT, A&M, and Tech together within the same conference.

      Mike LaRoche (d4323e)

    19. Mike,

      I think recruiting in Texas will be impacted no matter how the schools eventually split up, and I don’t buy the argument that A&M moving to the SEC will open the recruiting floodgates. But if it does make a difference, then the same argument applies if teams move to the Pac-10. Recruiting is national now and while some kids will always want to stay in-state or go to local colleges, most watch games from every conference and are willing to consider several schools.

      I agree there will be some serious objections in Texas if UT, A&M or Tech try to move to separate conferences, but I’m not sure the Texas schools will be the deciders. IMO the Big 10 and the Pac-10 are driving this truck.

      DRJ (d43dcd)

    20. Sure, sure, blame the Aggies as if Texas (the University) is not the problem.

      Heard it before, been there for more about 30 years.

      I have an idea:

      How about the alma mater concentrate on educating the best students, graduate the best officers and win at football when we can?

      I sincerely know now what everybody means about being an Old Ag.

      Ag80 (1b8eea)

    21. From, here’s the latest regarding the possible dissolution of the Big 12:

      Fallout from the report that the Pac-10 is planning to extend invitations to Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado has been immediate.

      Already, the political forces in Texas are preparing to make demands that if six schools from the Big 12 are going to be invited to the Pac-10, Baylor should replace Colorado on that list, according to two sources close to the situation.

      “If you’re going to have an exported commodity involved in this, do you think we’re going to allow a school from outside the state of Texas to replace one of our schools in the Big 12 South? I don’t think so. We’re already at work on this,” said a high-ranking member of the Texas Legislature who asked not to be identified.

      Mike LaRoche (d4323e)

    22. I think the Baylor issue might be beyond salvage. I’ve been following this for a couple months, and there is real sentiment in the Pac 10 to get Colorado and the Denver TV market. The initial idea was Denver and Utah, and going to 12 teams. The Big 10 move on Nebraska and Missouri altered that plan.

      Baylor’s problem is that it’s a small private school, and it really brings nothing to the table that the Pac 16 doesn’t already get with UT and A&M.

      What drives this whole idea is the creation of a TV network owned by the new conference, and operated in conjunction with Fox. Rather than being paid TV rights money, as is done now, the new conference would get advertiser revenue directly. With 7 of the Top 20 TV markets covered by the conference membership, most/all cable TV providers in the country would pick up the network and pay a fee to do so.

      Its the same business model as the NFL Network. What will eventually happen is that while a couple select conference games will be broadcast to the entire network each week, you will have to subscribe to get all conference games in a package for the entire season, thereby adding additional revenue.

      It also puts the conference in the driver’s seat vis-a-vis the BCS when that package comes up for renegotiation.

      UT may think they have the upper hand bargaining, but they don’t. The Pac 16 will come to fruition in the near term. UT’s choice will be go independent or join. The other Big 12 teams — especially the Oklahoma schools — have no real choice because of the money involved.

      What dooms the Big 12 is that, with the exception of Texas, most of the schools are in small towns and have only modest sized TV markets at the core of their fan-base. Tulsa, Ok. City, Wichita, Kansas City, Omaha, Waco, Lubbock. Those markets are insufficient to support an independent television contract of any significant size, even with UT.

      Marry those TV markets with Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix — that’s a potential for revenue.

      shipwreckedcrew (436eab)

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