Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:33 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Long before Texas A&M's move the SEC became official (as it did Sunday afternoon), fans on both sides have wondered what would become of the Aggies longtime -- and at 117 years, we do mean longtime -- rivalry with the University of Texas.
While the traditional Thanksgiving series' ultimate fate is yet to be determined, what we do know is that things were left solely up to the Aggies, the rivalry would remain intact. That's the word from Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, who per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Brent Zwerneman said Tuesday that "we would like that to continue."
“We’ve been competing 117 years,” Byrne said. “It’s such a storied tradition."
Byrne's support (and A&M's) give the rivalry a shot at survivial. But since it naturally takes that support from both sides to work, it remains unlikely the two teams will continue playing. Just six days ago, Longhorn athletic director DeLoss Dodds forecasted an end to the rivalry if the Aggies completed their jump to the SEC, saying "I think it will be hard to schedule that game."
And it would be. particularly if the Big 12 expands into a 10-team league with a nine-game true round robin schedule. In addition to denying the Longhorns a lucrative annual home game (one they would have the rights to show on the Longhorn Network), it's hard to argue the 'Horns owe the Aggies much of anything after A&M's decision destabilized Texas's preferred conference home and may have driven them into the "Pac-16," if the Pac-12 had been willing to expand.
Agges fans (and administrators) would no doubt respond that it was Texas's unwillingness to share revenue equally and their forging ahead with the LHN that destabilized the Big 12 first, before A&M even considered leaving.
Frankly, there's no winners on either side of the argument. But unless Texas is willing to back down and scheudule the game, it won't much matter how A&M feels about it--there aren't going to be any winners between the two schools on the football field, either.
Posted on: September 21, 2011 1:04 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 1:27 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."
- The Godfather, Part III.
The aforementioned movie was probably the worst of the trio of films in The Godfather series but the quote is a fairly accurate reflection of what happened Tuesday. Just when you thought Oklahoma was out, they're pulled back in. Or, thanks to the Pac-12's statement late Tuesday night, pushed back into the Big 12.
As everyone woke up, it seemed as though Oklahoma (and Oklahoma State too) were headed to the Pac-12. Their board had authorized President David Boren to act in the best interest of the school regarding conference realignment on Monday. It looked like it was a mere formality before there'd be some movement. Before everyone was home from work though, it seemed as things had cooled on that.
The Sooners would still be willing to work out somethings in order to make the Big 12 work, The Oklahoman reported. Commish Dan Beebe had to go, Texas would have to alter The Longhorn Network and concessions would have to be made. The door was open for the Big 12, but so was the Pac-12's... until the latter wasn't.
That's the gist of the Pac-12's statement, that they'd be sticking with the current group of schools and their giant media rights deal that still has ink drying on it. From the looks of everything - and that seems to change hour-by-hour - Oklahoma will no longer head West and we've essentially hit the pause/reset button on the realignment craze for at least a few more days.
"We were not surprised by the Pac 12's decision to not expand at this time," Boren said in a statement. "Even though we had decided not to apply for membership this year, we have developed a positive relationship with the leadership of the conference and we have kept them informed of the progress we've been making to gain agreement from the Big 12 for changes which will make the conference more stable in the future."
What's it all mean?
For the Pac-12: Raise your glasses once again to Larry Scott. It was his vision a year ago to push for the Pac-16 and when offered the chance to make it work, he said no because he couldn't do it on his terms. According to the San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, the league balked at giving Texas a sweetheart deal to make the arrangement with the Oklahoma schools work. The Longhorn Network isn't their problem and now the league can go back to putting together their own network that makes LHN's distribution look like a needle in the haystack. That's another win for the Scott and the conference.
For the Big 12: Texas and Oklahoma have to work things out and the other schools have to sign off on it. Texas A&M is still leaving for the SEC so that means expansion is still a topic for discussion (Hello TCU?, BYU?). A source told the AP that the two power schools will meet in the next few days to negotiate a deal to keep both in the league for five years. Forget the Red River Shootout, the Red River Boardroom will be the place to see these two teams square off this year.
It's hard to see Beebe keeping his job through all of this. It's clear he's not in charge anymore and it's time to go. Orangebloods.com reported late Tuesday night that it's not just the Sooners that want the commissioner out. Perhaps Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione could succeed him, he's one of the sharpest people in college athletics and someone who could rally all of the schools and keep the league afloat.
For the Big East: The conference's football teams - newcomer TCU included - met tonight in New York City and remained firmly committed to the league. It's clear that commissioner John Marinatto will hold Pitt and Syracuse in the league until 2014 and actively pursue options to replace them when they do in fact head to the ACC. Brett McMurphy has a detailed account of the meeting and says that Navy and Air Force are two likely targets for the Big East.
For the SEC: Get ready to roll out the welcome mats (officially) for Texas A&M. The Big 12 sticking together means that Baylor and the other schools can relinquish their legal threats and allow the Aggies to proceed on their way East. It remains to be seen if they're going to pursue a 14th team but it seems as though Missouri is off the table - if they were in fact looking at the Tigers to fill that spot as reports had indicated.
For the ACC: Sit tight boys, it will be awhile before the two newest schools will be ready to join the conference. Might want to pump the brakes on adding UConn or Rutgers too as the superconference idea looks to still be aways off.
For the BCS: Oh yeah, don't forget about the BCS itself. There are leagues shifting around like crazy and numbers are certainly going to change. The end date for the current contract is in 2014 but the evaluation process to determine what conference is an automatic qualifier starts much earlier. This might be the final piece of the realignment puzzle to be worked out, but it's one of - if not the - most important.
Tags: ACC, Air Force, Baylor, BCS, Big 12, Big East, Brett McMurphy, Bryan Fischer, BYU, Dan Beebe, David Boren, Joe Castiglione, John Marinatto, Jon Wilner, Larry Scott, Missouri, Navy, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pac-16, Pitt, Red River Rivalry, Red River Shootout, Rutgers, SEC, Syracuse, Texas, Texas A&M, The Longhorn Network, UConn
Posted on: September 20, 2011 4:02 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 4:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Expansionpalooza 2011 kicked into its highest gear yet with Pitt and Syracuse's stunning defection to the ACC and Texas and Oklahoma making their boldest moves yet towards making the Pac-12 a Pac-16. And that was before Tuesday's smoking hot rumor regarding the SEC and Missouri.
All of which means it's time for another edition of the Doddcast with senior CBSSports.com writer Dennis Dodd. Dodd sat down with Adam Aizer to talk over multiple angles of the current expansion tangle, and even how it might affect the Oklahoma State-Texas A&M showdown Dodd will be viewing in person this weekend. Listen below, download the mp3, pop the player out in a separate window for continued browsing while listening, and subscribe to the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast in iTunes to receive future editions.
Posted on: September 18, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2011 7:42 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Pac-12 is in the advanced stages of a plan to bring Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State into the fold, according to various reports. Though Texas has long been linked as a potential target of the Pac-12, the Longhorn Network has always been a stumbling block for negotiations... until now.
It appears a compromise on the programming of the LHN is in the works, as reported by the Austin American-Statesman, and perhaps the Longhorn Network won't be all Texas, all the time in the future:
Plans for the then-Pac-10 to bring Texas and a cadre of its mates from the former Big XII South to help form a Pac-16 crumbled in 2010 during the first round of conference realignment, with plans getting hung up on whether the four Texas schools in the Big 12 would be forced to remain together in a potential move or not. For as vocal as Baylor has been in trying to block Texas A&M's move to the SEC, it likely won't sit quietly this time around either, but so far there's been no public comment on this report by Baylor president Ken Starr or anybody else there.
As for football play in the hypothetical Pac-16, if the American-Statesman report is to be believed, talks are advanced enough that the conference is planning four four-team pods where each team would play its fellow pod members once, then two teams from each of the other three pods for a total of nine conference games. That would lead to a host of logistical questions in terms of tiebreakers and scheduling inequities year to year, but it's just about the fairest way to handle a 16-team football league without scheduling 15 conference games a year.
If the move goes through, and if Texas A&M does indeed join the SEC as it's been trying to do for a while now, the Big 12 would be left with just five teams: Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, and the aforementioned Baylor. There will likely be a host of Big East football programs looking for a new conference to latch onto if the ACC continues siphoning programs away, so the Big 12 may see its footprint expand east. The provision mandating that a conference maintain a group of five members together for five consecutive years was removed on August 1, 2011 (thanks, @bylawblog), so the Big 12 isn't in any danger of outright disbanding unless it can't get eight eligible members together for a season. Considering SMU, Houston, and the suddenly vulnerable TCU are all viable expansion candidates right there in the state of Texas, to say nothing of programs like Louisville and Cincinnati who may be in danger of losing BCS conference status, disbanding seems exceedingly unlikely.
At any rate, Oklahoma and Texas (opens .PDF file in new window) both have Board of Regents meetings already scheduled for Monday afternoon -- with conference realignment on their agendas -- so nobody's going to be kept waiting about this report for very long.
Tags: Adam Jacobi, Baylor, Big 12, Conference Expansion, Conference Realignment, Dan Beebe, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Ken Starr, Ken Starr, Missouri, Mountain West, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pac-12, Pac-16, Pac-16 Expansion, SEC, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas to Pac-12, Texas to Pac-16
Posted on: September 10, 2011 8:50 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 9:15 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
LOS ANGELES -- While Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott's newest acquisition, Utah, was warming up on the field of his conference's most storied member, USC, the former tennis executive strolled into the Coliseum press box beaming about the first ever conference game that was to take place a few minutes later.
Then he met a swarm of media interested in just one topic.
"I'd prefer to be less popular," Scott joked after being inundated with questions about conference expansion. "On this topic, we're trying to stay out of the story frankly. Our position hasn't really changed, we haven't been looking for or aspiring to expand since we made the decision on 12.
"If schools are going to leave the Big 12 and there's going to be a paradigm shift, or a landscape change as people like to describe it, we'll go ahead and step back and look at our options, then reconsider."
Scott is just one of the key figures in the ongoing conference realignment saga that has infringed on the start of the college football season. In a nod to the fact that the story seems to change by the day, if not by the hour, Scott couldn't even confirm that he would be running a 12 team league next year.
"I know there will be a Pac-12," he said before cautioning, "I hope there is. The ink is still drying on our new logos and the field paint and uniforms. It's our hope that the world stays the same and we get to enjoy what we've created. I don't think anyone, with how dynamic the situation is, would stick their neck out and say nothing is going to change."
While most of the nation was focused on the thrilling Missouri-Arizona State game Friday night, Scott not only took in the action in Tempe but also discussed issues with the man who has seen several of his teams openly flirt with other conferences, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe.
"I did speak with Dan yesterday," Scott said. "He was due to be in Tempe but didn't go. So we spoke over the phone and had a nice chat."
Scott already tried to raid Beebe's conference once before. Last summer he tried to boldly add Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to form a Pac-16 superconference. While he was unsuccessful in fulfilling his goal of adding all six teams - settling for the Buffalos and Utes - he still sees the future of major college athletics as having four, 16-team superconferences.
"I still believe it and I think what's going on is evidence that there's a disparity between certain conferences," he said. "I've been saying that over the past year that there will be more consolidation. I didn't think it would happen so quickly - a year after we expanded - that we'd have so much noise around the issue."
The commissioner did acknowledge that several schools have reached out to him - presumably Oklahoma and Oklahoma State - to gauge interest in the Pac-12 being a popular landing spot. Scott cautioned that there have been no votes nor any formal talks at adding teams to the conference. Given the threats of legal action from schools like Baylor, he chose his words carefully when asked about what could happen over the next few weeks.
"We're not being proactive, we're not trying to initiate any move to conferences beyond 12," said Scott. "I'm trying to be more precise in the language because it's a highly charged situation. People are hanging on every word, I felt that the media was getting a little further out in front of where we actually were, so I have had to be more precise that we're not initiating a move to superconfereces. We are only evaluating anything if other conferences go first."
For now, Scott and Pac-12 will wait. And watch. And listen.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 2:44 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 2:51 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Baylor's last-ditch legal effort to save the Big 12 is cute and all, but let's be realistic: Texas A&M to the SEC is something that A&M wants, the SEC wants, and even the Big 12 seems to want in an effort to put the Aggies behind them. Baylor, being Baylor, is not going to be able to hold back a tide that strong for very long. (For a visual representation of the effectiveness of the Bears' efforts, click here.*)
Which means, yes, A&M is going to become SEC school No. 13 and yes, before long the SEC is going to add school No. 14. No. 14 may not be able to join the Aggies in their new digs as soon as 2012 (it's possible -- arguably even likely at this late stage -- the SEC goes one season with an unbalanced divisional setup), but there's no way Mike Slive and Co. will stay at 13 one day longer than they have to.
So who's got next in the SEC expansion race? Breaking down the candidates in no particular order (and reminding you that a "gentleman's agreement" is in place that will prevent any expansion into states where the SEC already has a school):
Pros: Excellent academics is a major plus for SEC presidents. Ties to both St. Louis and Kansas City television markets. Could be a candidate for Big Ten expansion as well. Well-supported basketball program.
Cons: Despite recent successes, not a traditionally nationally-relevent football program. Zero competitive history with any current SEC member and not even much with A&M. Little to gain in SEC recruiting by expanding to Missouri. Debatable how much impact in those major markets Mizzou actually has. Trickier to add team to West than East; would either require ignoring geography or moving current West team (Auburn?**) to the East.
Pros: Rabidly supported, traditionally strong football program with plenty of success vs. SEC. Hoops program would give SEC a boost, too. Adding school for East division would bring geographic balance opposite A&M.
Cons: Not connected to any major market and expanding into West Virginia does nothing for SEC recruiting. Presidents sensitive to SEC's reputation may not want a university not considered a strong academic school.
Pros: Access to Raleigh TV market and fertile North Carolina recruiting grounds. More geographically accessible than other candidates. "Sleeper" football program enjoys high level of financial/fan support. Would join the East.
Cons: Despite that support, school has rarely fielded championship-level teams and won't move national needle. Academics aren't a minus, but may not be a Mizzou-style plus, either.
Pros: Most powerful, recognizable football program among potential/likely candidates; would hypthetically compete for East championships from moment of arrival. Sizable (if not national) following in Virginia and along Eastern seaboard. Could offer potential inroads in Virginia recruiting. Would join the East.
Cons: Swears up and down school is loyal to ACC. No real history with any SEC school.
Pros: Just hear out the scenario here: with the Sooners poised to force Texas's hand by jumping to the Pac-12 -- taking Oklahoma State with them and destroying the Big 12 in the process -- Mike Slive makes a preemptive strike against the potential Longhorn/Sooner Pac-16 by inviting the Sooners, Cowboys, and a third Big 12 castoff (Mizzou?) to form a 16-team SEC. Auburn and Alabama both move East and leaving the new SEC West looking like this: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Missouri. The blockbuster move secures the SEC a gigantic new TV rights deal, keeps the Sooners and Aggies out from under the Longhorns' thumb, and even approaches competitive divisional balance.
Cons: This is exceedingly unlikely.
But if Texas really is planning to join the Sooners in the Pac-12, that may be Slive's best option. With all due respect to the other four teams mentioned here, not one is a slam-dunk choice to justify its addition as a 14th team, much less a 15th or 16th if Larry Scott's new league redefines the college landscape. When all is said and done, the guess here is that either Missouri (or possibly N.C. State) gets the invite ... and then the SEC stops to catch its breath to figure out if 16 is a luxury or a necessity.
*Via CBSSports.com's own Will Brinson.
**The Tigers are the easternmost West team and most of their traditional rivalries -- Georgia, Tennessee, Florida -- are in the East. The issue would be what to do with the Iron Bowl with Auburn and Alabama in separate divisions; would the league risk having the Tigers and Tide play each other on consecutive weeks?
Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:25 am
Edited on: September 7, 2011 12:34 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That makes sense, especially if you don't overthink it (who came up with such an arbitrary number? Is that a hard cutoff? Can we apply for waivers if we want it to be worth 1500 words?). Sometimes, though, a picture only needs to be worth one very long word. Like this picture, for example:
In this instance, for all twelve Big Ten members and their athletic departments' accountants, that one very long word is "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
We kid, we kid. We kid Iowa State because we care.
In all actuality, the Big 12 is on the brink of collapse, and that's theoretically going to leave a lot of programs up in the air. But odds are very good that between the SEC, Pac-12/16, and Big East, there are enough willing participants in expansion that nobody's going to get "left behind" and end up in a non-BCS conference -- not even ISU or KSU.
But for as much of an arms race as the collegiate alignment landscape is about to become, one conference that we can't quite imagine scooping up a bloc of expat Big 12 programs would be the Big Ten, which had several opportunities to push its membership past 12 last year and this year. Remember all the Big East schools that were associated with the Big Ten, only for Jim Delany to hold firm with adding just Nebraska? Think of it like this: Delany decided not to invite schools like Pitt and Syracuse, and not because he was saving a spot for Iowa State instead.
Man, though. Can you imagine? Iowa State to the Big Ten, and Jim Delany proudly bragging to reporters at the press conference that he had just bolstered all the media markets in the western half of Iowa? The stuff of cold-sweat nightmares for everyone involved in the conference, that is.
Thanks to the enterprising reader who sent that terrifying vision of a dystopian future in. It is a work of art. With any luck, Jim Delany will see it, and the fright will cause the rest of his hair to fall out and he won't have that weird long Power Donut 'do going on anymore. The Power Donut works in one length only: tastefully short but conspicuous. Otherwise you start to look like '80s Larry David or Kevin from The Office or Jon Miller and none of these are good looks whatsoever.
Posted on: September 6, 2011 5:51 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Defensive tackle Brandon Willis has landed has landed at UCLA. Again.
After initially committing to Tennessee as a senior in high school (twice), Willis signed a letter of intent with North Carolina after Lane Kiffin's staff left for USC. After six months in Chapel Hill, he then packed up his bags and headed west to UCLA in March. He lasted all of seven months in Westwood before deciding to transfer back to the Tar Heels in March. In August, he announced he was leaving UNC once again.
Now he's back with the Bruins and enrolled in classes, the school has announced. He will begin practicing with the team, which badly needs healthy defensive linemen, Tuesday afternoon but will not be eligible to play in a game. The school has begun the NCAA waiver process in order to get him eligible to play this season but he will only be able to practice until it is completed.
So it looks like Willis is back where he began (transferring to), just with a few more frequent flier miles in his account. Heck, Willis could be the first person to be on a Pac-10, Pac-12 and ACC team before finally playing a down in the Pac-16.