Yesterday, the Pac 10’s plans to become a super-conference were leaked. The Pac 10 reportedly hopes to add six teams from the Big XII including Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Obviously, this would be a major shakeup and would kill off the Big XII. However, it seems Texas may have more than one suitor.
An e-mail found by The Columbus Dispatch shows the Ohio State president Gordon Gee has talked to Texas president Bill Powers about joining the Big Ten. The Big Ten’s plans to expand have been known for some time. Right now, the Big Ten is money-making machine due to its huge schools’s alumni base and its own successful television network. Each Big Ten school makes about $10 million more in revenue than Texas does per year. With Texas being the most profitable college football team in the nation (even over Notre Dame), it seems like Texas would be a natural fit for the Big Ten.
Texas, beyond being a cash cow itself, brings a ton to the Big Ten. It would add millions of new subscribers to the Big Ten network. Houston, the Dallas-Forth Worth area, and San Antonio are among the largest markets in the nation. The addition of Texas alone also allows for the expansion of a Big Ten title game. There are rumors that the Big Ten wants to expand to 16 teams, which would certainly bring Nebraska and Missouri who were already rumored to be coming to the Big Ten. One has to wonder if Notre Dame may even consider joining a conference that includes Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Texas?
The Pac 10 on the other hand just does not offer as much to Texas as it stands. The Big Ten is the most successful conference when it comes to revenue. While the new proposed 16 team Pac 10 (16?) would certainly bring in higher revenues, it seems a bit unlikely that it would be greater than the Big Ten’s revenues.
Ultimately, Texas is going to have many options to choose from. The Big XII is clearly unstable and is going to be raided for the expansion of some conference(s), so staying put is not much of an option. The Pac 10 and Big Ten are clearly already positioning themselves for you. The SEC will certainly offer a spot in their conference eventually as well. I think when it comes down to it, Texas will choose between the SEC and Big Ten and go with the lower travel costs of the SEC (plus, you know, the automatic birth to the BCS “title” game every single year.)