As we speak I'm told University of Texas president Bill Powers and athletic director DeLoss Dodds are planning an informal lunch with state power brokers at Barton Creek Country Club in Austin to discuss the feasibility of the Longhorns becoming a football independent.
Hello, Notre Dame of the South?
The plan goes thusly: With A&M going to the SEC and OU strongly hinting that it's headed for the Pac 12, Texas can either head west or truly secede. Texas will not give up its cherished Longhorn Network, and won't even dowsize to a regional network in order to join a new Pac 16. Since the Pac 12 signed a $3 billion TV contract recently, it only provides for regional, partnered networks such as Arizona-Arizona State, Washington-Washington State and Oregon-Oregon State. A Pac 16 Conference would reduce Texas' Longhorn Network into a regional deal involving Texas and Texas Tech. Also blocking Texas to a Pac 16 is the fact that the Pac 12 is an equally shared revenue outfit. Since Texas is the No. 1 revenue-generator in college sports and none of the current Pac 12 schools are among the Top 15, the Longhorns are balking at the arrangement.
In other words, no deal.
Being put on the table to dissect as feasible: Texas becoming an Independent in football and competing the Big East, or perhaps the ACC, in all other sports.
Of course Baylor, being Baptist and all, might attempt to cock-block this divorce/orgy.
While the Southeastern Conference is ready to accept Texas A&M, it won't do it without baggage. And Baylor has so far been slow to consent to allow the Aggies to leave the Big 12 without litigation, in the form of a breach of contract stemming from the Big 12 magna carte that was just signed to keep the conference alive and viable in June 2010.
With the Aggies going east and OU west, the Bears would be left in the middle to play ... Sul Ross?
Apparently A&M planned a press conference and a big party in College Station this afternoon before Baylor intervened with a -- channeling Lee Corso -- not so fast, my friend!
Couple things from this shake-up:
*The Big 12 is all but dead.
*The annual Texas-Texas A&M Thanksgiving game is kaput as well.
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*Texas-OU at the Cotton Bowl -- or at all -- is in serious peril. Said Sooners coach Bob Stoops on Tuesday:
"I don't think it's necessary (to keep playing Texas). No one wants to hear that. But life changes. If it changes, you have to change with it, to whatever degree."
You can't spell ouch without OU.
To be continued ...