TEXAS secedes from the Union and become an Independent State
If this was the headline of all the major newspapers, Texans would rejoice (especially in this economic environment). However, this is in reference to the school in Austin and not the capitol in Austin.
The University of Texas is meticulously putting in place the ability to become an Independent in College Football. They have the money, the geographical home footprint and the extensive national alumni base to pull this off. All Texas A&M and the rest of the Big 12 (minus 2) did last summer by agreeing to stay together, was subsidize Texas’ secession plan, give them time to establish the Longhorn Network and figure out what they are going to do for all the other sports.
This is the 21st Century (note: In the day and age of DVR and TiVo, live sports are the most valuable of all programs). Let’s not point fingers and shame Texas. They are doing what only a few schools could pull off and many other wish they could. Florida State, Penn State, Miami – some of the last big Independents to join a conference would not be able to do what Texas is doing. The Utah’s, Boise State’s and Tulane’s of the world are really the ones herding the big boys to create a separate league. By demanding to have a seat at the big boy table and going to Congress to make it happen is really what is causing this to happen. Why does the BCS/Major Conference not want a Playoff? Because they would have to share the money, plain and simple. Their partnership’s with the Bowls and the BCS keeps the money where it belongs, with the schools that are bringing the eyeballs to the televisions. The smaller school better be careful or the big boys will take their Basketball programs with them and the NCAA would be in real trouble.
Texas was smart to partner with ESPN in creating their new television network. ESPN is partners with the SEC, has a long term agreements with the ACC. They have all the Big Ten (+2)/SEC Bowl games as well as an agreement for the Big 10 regular season games. Where am I going with this? Texas will not get squeezed out of some new Super League (expansion would create PAC 16, SEC 16, BIG 16, ACC/Big East combo + Notre Dame, Texas and maybe even BYU). Why, because ESPN will not let that happen to their investment.
ESPN may actually be the saving grace to all the smaller schools and traditionalists. By having this fractioned environment, it is cost beneficial to the World Wide Leader. Everyone has seen the models of what a college football playoff would pay out and therefore what they could demand in television rights fees. Keeping it status quo actually helps ESPN. The SEC negotiated their TV rights a few years ago and set the bar and they should since they have the most rabid, insane fan base that watches every little thing on every medium. Since then their contracts have been equaled or exceeded by rival conferences. Adding another school(s) will reopen those negotiations and will no doubt be the largest college contract.
Texas AD Deloss Dodds has stated that Texas will not go Independent on his watch. Of course they will not. Why should they when UT gets a majority of the revenue from the Big 12 (minus 2), plus the revenue from the Longhorn Network? They just need to sit back and wait until A&M or Oklahoma get sick and tired of eating the scraps and leave. All he has to say is “We have been left no choice, the University of Texas is an Independent.” And he can walk off the stage in his white hat cowboy hat.