PAC-10 EXPANSION: Is Texas really wavering?

Well, everyone's got their panties in a bunch this morning over the latest report from Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, the guy who's led the charge on this Pac-10 expansion from the very beginning.*

*As an aside, I mentioned that Chip Brown just might make a career off of this one story. But the longer it goes on, the more convinced I become that he'll only be useful in the future if it's a story about Texas. But I digress.

Here's what he's got:

In a bombshell development that could bring a halt to seismic changes in college realignment, sources tell Orangebloods.com Texas is willing to come to the table with the 10 remaining Big 12 schools to see if there's consensus for a plan put forth by commissioner Dan Beebe to hold the conference together.

Now, ESPN's Joe Schad reported Texas' departure to the Pac-10 is still imminent, but Brown stood by his story.

I'm not backing off this story about Texas willing to commit to a remodeled Big 12.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

I know we've all come to more or less trust Brown through this, haven't we? But before you suffocate from hyperventilation at the idea that this megaconference might fall through, let me ask you a question.

Why wouldn't Texas consider a remodeled Big 12/10?

As Brian talked about yesterday, Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe is doing everything within his power to save his job, including throwing this reported proposal on the table:

  • Restructuring the current TV deal to make it competitive with the SEC.
  • Schools will be allowed to create their own TV networks, and keep those revenues.

That second point, of course, is aimed squarely at Texas, the only school in the Big 12 with a franchise big enough  to successfully embark on such an endeavor. Under Beebe's plan, the schools would presumably split the conference TV money and then any school with its own network would get to keep that money.

So, if I'm Texas, of course I'm considering this deal. Make piles of money and stay in the comfy confines of the Big 12/10? Yes please!

However, everyone is so darn focused on Texas that there's an obvious question here no one seems to be asking.

Why in the world would the remaining Big 12 teams agree to such a lopsided arrangement?

There's no tradition here -- the Big 12 has only been around since 1996. Are they really so desperate to save their conference that they'd agree to what amounts to an increased competitive advantage for a school that already has one?

They won't. Which is why I'm calling B.S. right now on this whole thing.

In a way, Texas has become like Clay Bennett -- except without all that excess evil trailing them everywhere they go. Remember when Bennett bought the Sonics and said he was committed to keeping them in Seattle? He wasn't being entirely untruthful. Once he purchased the team, there were two options:

  1. Washington builds him a new palace. The team stays. He makes piles of money.
  2. Washington refuses to build him a new palace. The team moves to OKC, where he's welcomed as a conquering hero. He makes piles of money.

Just like Bennett, Texas faces a no-lose situation.

Unless, of course, Larry Scott does what I expect him to do, which is invite Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech anyway. Then there won't be any Big 12/10 for Texas to come back to and the Longhorns are the ones who end up homeless for about five minutes before the Pac-10 welcomes them with open arms. (Never mind the fact that Texas A&M is probably jumping ship for the SEC anyway.)

In essence, I really just think this is more of Texas trying not to look like the bad guy here. Why that's so important to the people who run that place, I'll never know. But the mere fact that Chip Brown's story this morning changed from, "Texas is staying" to "Texas is considering staying" speaks volumes. Whomever is feeding Brown these stories wants a very particular message out there for public consumption, and the difference between those two messages is huge.

Texas wants everyone to know that it did everything within reason to save the conference. They even "considered" Beebe's last-ditch effort, which makes a whole heck of a lot of financial sense for their institution. If the other schools decide to leave ... well, it's not on Texas.

Read what's being said very carefully. After processing all of this info -- and even with Brown's latest report that "an announcement that a remodeled Big 12 will survive with a new television deal could be announced as early as Monday, sources say" -- I still feel as confident as I ever did that this thing is going to get done. I think we're way too far down the tracks.

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