Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Expansion...It's Not Just For Bloggers Anymore

Expansion, expansion, expansion.

Frank the Tank, as he has been doing for the last 6 months, has a pretty good handle on the expansion mess that is now part of the mainstream media. And, quite honestly, it made a lot more sense when it was contained in the blogosphere vs. what we've seen pooping out at ESPN and you local talk show - news networks.

If you click and go to the link above, even Frank's website has gotten a little nuts... The latest rumor, in case you live in a cave and this is your only source of information on sports and the expansion topic is that the Pac 10 has let it out of the bag that they would look at a deal where they would make an offer to the six teams in the Big 12 South to join the Pac 10, effectively becoming the Pac 16. Mr. Scott, a protege of Jim Delaney, is now the director of the Pac 10 and has been trying to improve their image for marketing purposes with the latest TV contract coming due.

In case you were wondering, the Big 12 South is: Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech.

Now, the MMQ's take as to why this rumor is so full of Texas Road Apples:
1. The Pac 10 requires a unanimous vote on all members if anyone is going to join the Pac 10.
- Baylor is a religious school with 5,000 students. They are NOT a Pac 10 caliber institution. If the Pac 10 has never offered a deal to BYU, which is larger, why would they offer anything to Baylor? Not to mention that Colorado who has been the hot team for the Pac 10 for years, is suddenly off the table? And don't get me started on Texas Tech.
2. Cash. There's not that much more in the mix for Texas if they join the Pac 10, manage to get a Pac 10 Network off the ground, and manage to turn a profit with said network in 3-4 years. And it probably can't compare to what the BTN is offering annually for revenue. The numbers, populations, and cable revenue don't support it. Read all of Frank's blogs and you will start to see this bigger picture. I don't care where population is moving from or to at this point....
3. Even if Texas, the real prize in this expansion, is given free reign and a bigger slice of the pie (my guess is USC and UCLA will have issues with that, not to mention Stanford), Texas may not get any more money than they are already getting in the Big 12 right now. And they will probably have to give up and idea of a Texas Longhorn Television Network (TLN for short) in the process.
4. Texas doesn't want to drag A&M, Baylor, and Tech with them every time they want to make a move....That is like taking your little brothers/sisters on your first car date to the drive in. It definitely ruins the experience....

So, what does all of this amount to? Depending on what you know and who you believe, it's all a smoke screen. Here's what I suspect is really happening:

1. The Big 10 needs Notre Dame to shit or get off the pot. Plain and simple. Notre Dame is literally scared to death that if the Big 10 and Pac 10 move to larger conferences, the ACC and SEC will have no choice but to expand. The BEast is doomed long term, and Notre Dame knows it. Therefore, they want to be proactive but they need their fans and alumni in enough of a frenzy to see that joining a conference is the logical step moving forward.
2. Texas wants nothing to do with Tech and Baylor and told Jim Delaney that they have a "Tech" and Baylor problem. That would be like Michigan having to drag around Central and Western every time they wanted to do something. (Sorry to all the Chippewa and Bronco loyalists out there - I'm simply trying to draw some parallels here. Actually, that might be an insult to Central and Western when compared to Tech and Baylor.) A&M is worthy, but may have other opportunities in the SEC. Once the Pac 10 tells Baylor and Tech, not to mention Oklahoma and Oklahoma state no, Texas can look at the legislature and say, "Well, we tried, but nobody wants these Universities that are not AAU. Sorry." This frees Texas up to do whatever it wants to do.
3. The Pac 10 will expand, but not with 6 shcools, not at first. This will be handled delicately and deliberately when they are ready to move.

So, why the rumor? What's happening?

Simple: Jim Delaney called Larry Scott and said, "Put a rumor out there that you're taking the Big 12 South. There's plenty of rumors that we're (the Big 10) taking Nebraska and Missouri. If Notre Dame doesn't crap their pants with that development, nothing will make them get off the fence. Let's see what happens."

So, that's what happened. All smokescreens, rumors and "wouldn't it be cool if...." scenarios....But none of it is going to stick.

The Big 10, with the BTN revenue and everything it has to offer, still holds all the cards in this high stakes Poker Game. The Pac 10 just made a big raise, trying to represnt Aces, but is really sitting on something like pocket 10's. A decent hand, but nothing like what the Big 10 is holding. Texas, which is more or less on a big draw and is going to win something no matter what, is simply trying to shed itself of some extra baggage and this Delaney experiment should help them do exactly that.

Of course, this is all my opinion.....

No comments: