If this next round of conference realignment comes to fruition, blame it on the fledgling Longhorn network, not the SEC. Of course it could come out that some backroom dealings by the SEC brought us to this point because all the Big 12 schools, including the disgruntled A&M knew the Longhorns were going to use their new partnership with ESPN to gain financial and recruiting advantages.
I love this bit from ESPN:
If A&M bolts the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, that could be the trigger for a realignment free-for-all. Hard to believe a program that is a whopping three games over .500 in the past nine football seasons could decide the future of an entire nation, but that may be where we’re headed.
I’d expect the SEC to woo a 14th member. Then you wonder whether 16 makes more sense than 14. And you wonder what happens to a completely destabilized Big 12 — does it poach or get poached? Do the Big Ten and Pac-12 follow through on last year’s flirtation with 14 or 16? Is the Big East in big trouble? What about Notre Dame, which holds a lot of cards but must play them with extreme care? What about Texas, which holds even more?
It is crazy when you consider that Texas A&M is such a key player, one that the SEC has coveted for a key television market. Of course the reality is that Texas is the pin that is going to start the knocking down the dominos; and they will fall quickly.
I don’t have any problems with this; as I wrote a few weeks ago, I wish we would just put aside the notion that college athletics are all about amateur student-athletes. As these latest discussions are showing, it is all about the bottom line and there is a shit load of money at stake.