Frank the Tank was wrong about three years ago when he predicted Texas to the B1G...but while he hasn't been accurate about where some schools have ended up he was very good about pointing out the ramifications of each move and he always had an interesting take on the big picture. I love Frank the Tank but Grant of Rights has basically put him out of business...for a while anyway. Can't wait for the 2nd and 3rd in that series on BON. Obviously, the final destination for Texas will dictate in a lot of ways what happens to Texas Tech.
Anytime I see the word 'realignment' saliva starts running out my mouth like one of Pavlov's dogs...I got home this afternoon and spent the better part of my evening penning a post regarding realignment. I was basically taking a snapshot of the current state of realignment in each and every conference including the MWC, AAC (that's the American Athletic Conference for those following at home), CUSA as well as all the majors. I spent alot of time covering the PAC12 and the B12 and was ending my essay talking about how all of this effects Texas Tech. I was on my last paragraph when my computer shut down on its own and restarted to download software updates...anyway I lost it all. Too disappointed to try and re-create it so I will just summarize with bullets...
* Jim Delany and the B1G started this whole realignmentpalooza thing 3 years ago when they declared to the world that they were going to get serious with expansion. After all was said and done I don't think that the addition of Rutgers, Maryland and our old friends from Nebraska was what he had in mind. The B1G continues to be a major disappointment in college athletics. But, hey Indiana made the College World Series.
* The ACC who was declared DOA just a few months ago is probably safe for now and maybe for the long term after imitating the B12 by enacting GOR. The addition of Syracuse and Louisville will not only add a little football competition to the league but made the already premier basketball conference even more so. The GOR put the kibosh on any major recruiting from the SEC and the B1G for now anyway, not to mention the B12, which I doubt was ever really serious about FSU and Clemson.
* The MWC lost TCU to the B12, lost Utah to the PAC12 and lost BYU to independence but was able to keep Boise St in the fold after they decided to forego a move to the old Big East (AAC).. no that's not the American Airlines Center. What's interesting to point out about the MWC is that imho none of the current 10 members would stand a snowballs chance at gaining access to the PAC. Some have said SDSU and Hawaii' might be prospects but the Stanfords and Cals of the world would put that to bed real fast. That's important when talking about Texas Tech's future.
* Larry Scott IS the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to conference commissioners. While he was unsuccessful at closing the UT, TT, TAMU, OU, OSU, CO deal in back to back years what was most impressive about his work was that he convinced all the presidents of the PAC to do whatever he felt necessary in this new world of college athletics and media rights. They will continue to listen to him intently moving forward. That is important for the future of Texas Tech, as well.
* Chuck Neinas, not ESPN and the LHN, should go down as being the savior of the B12. His negotiating the new tier 1 tv rights for the conference as well as getting the remaining schools to agree to equal revenue sharing and a GOR was essential. That trifecta is the reason why the B12 still exists today. Colorado had been pining for PAC membership for years...while Nebraska never wanted to be in the B12 even when the B8 merged with the SWC in the mid 90's I know Husker alums who are hating the B1G right now...Mizzou wanted in the B1G in the worst way and pretty much shit in their mess kit when they got turned down. They took a seat at the SEC table to pretty much save face. Their culture does not mesh well in the SEC and it could be a tortuous tenure for Mizzou with the boys in the southeast for a very long time. If Delany offered Missouri right now they would jump in a second. The SEC does not have a GOR so that is conceivable in the future. In College Station it took a Heisman performance from a 2 and done athlete to come in third place in their division in the SEC. You would have thought that they won the SEC title the way they talk down in gomerville...Keep an eye on the Kyle Field facade as they may declare another natty since they beat 'Bama...the jury is still out on whether aggy will thrive in the long run in the SEC.
* The Longhorn Network was created so that ESPN could secure the media rights to Texas no matter what or where they ended up. They basically put their dibs on Texas with the LHN as their insurance policy. The actual content of the LHN was an afterthought including Augie Garrido's restaraunt review. The LHN has had well documented carriage issues with the major carriers namely Time Warner. TWC is and will forever be the holdout to carrying the LHN. They have designs of their own in producing and carrying major sports content evidenced by the creation of the Jayhawk Network, a partnership between TWC and IMG. I would hope that Tech would explore something similar to this. But to put things in perspective ESPN drives this train called college football. They are largely responsible for putting the brakes on Texlahoma to the PAC along with conference commissioners and presidents around the country. But they had the muscle to stop it from happening...ready for this? Over half of the profits of Disney come from ESPN...that includes Disneyland/world, ABC and major movie studios...that is amazing if not disturbing. But they have shareholders to answer to. One day the LHN will have to stand on its own two feet or it will probably be rolled into a B12 Conference Network of some kind.
* The B12 has carved itself a very interesting niche in the college football landscape. With its 10 member conference a true round robin schedule can be counted on to be a fair assessment of the conference standings instead of relying on divisions, not playing other conference teams for 4 years, and conference championship games. It could turn out that with the SOS being a huge part of the proposed college football playoff format that this could serve the B12 well. There really isn't a weak link right now in B12 football and I include Kansas in that statement. New stadiums at Baylor and major facilities renovations and improvements at Tech, KSU, OSU and ISU make recruiting even tougher than the good old days of the SWC. As long as Texas can win a conference title once in a while and doesn't seek a way out by going indy or B1G or SEC we could have quite a strong conference moving forward. However, we are all at the mercy of the whims of DeLoss and Texas.
* GOR is the glue that is holding this thing called college football together for now. That is until someone decides to challenge the legality of GOR. There are many out there, including Frank the Tank, that believe that it could be defeated if a school really wanted to avoid the penalty. Because of this, realignmentpalooza is just taking a protracted time out. There will be another round of realignment and I do believe that Larry Scott will get another shot at Texlahoma in 6 years. I am interested to hear what FTT has to say in Parts 2 and 3.
* In the mean time, Texas Tech is a sleeping giant on the plains of west Texas. By 2020 the university is expected to have a student population of approximately 40k which would make it the 4th largest in the PAC12. Texas Tech has made huge strides in its quest to achieve Tier 1 status. They have some way to go but this is a stated goal of the university. The school's academic reputation is consistently growing over time. The campus is an oasis in the South Plains and is one of the most beautiful in the entire country. Its huge alumni base spreads far and wide throughout the state of Texas, which happens to be the economic engine for the entire country at this time, and would be a conduit to may flat screen televisions. Tech's sport facilities are arguably the best in the B12. Whatever happens in the world of Frank the Tank, Texas Tech will be a much sought after institution in the game of conference realignment so someone remember to send Larry Scott a birthday card...wool sweaters