The addition of a conference championship game and the continued talks don't do much to reassure me that the Big 12 has long-term staying power. But, the news that there will be no conference television network all but confirms my belief that the Big 12 will disband sometime between 2020 and 2024. This is strictly my opinion, but shared by many. Due to the Grant of Rights expiring in 2024-25, I don't see Texas and Oklahoma waiting until the end to find their next home. They will have taken less money then they could have earned elsewhere for many years, and will be looking to get the value they deem they're worth.
Texas Tech has many reasons to believe that we'll be one of the six or so schools from the Big 12 to land in another power five conference. Here are three.
1. Texas Tech has the 27th Most Valuable College Football Program
The Wall Street Journal recently did a study to put actual monetary values on today's college football programs. The study analyzed revenues and expenses and made cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections to calculate what a college team would be worth on the open market. The Texas Tech Red Raiders came in valued at $258.3 million. That's good for 27th in the country. It was deemed the Red Raiders are more valuable than Michigan State, Clemson, Stanford, Ole Miss and UCLA to name a few. There are currently 62 power five football programs, as well as Notre Dame, and we're the 27th most valuable.
Texas Tech also has the 41st largest athletic revenue in the country. What mostly drives revenue? Alumni and fans purchasing tickets to athletic events and buying merchandise. The more fans, and money, a school can produce, the more attractive.
2. Geographic Reach
It is OFTEN noted how isolated Lubbock is. It's true, Texas Tech is the most isolated division one university in the country. But Lubbock is a large city and Texas Tech has fans throughout West Texas and eastern New Mexico. Due to conferences wanting to get their network, which drives revenue, in front of as many eyeballs as possible, Texas Tech makes sense. Tech opens up a huge region for a conference network to expand and sell subscriptions, which is very important. Why do you think the Big Ten wanted Rutgers, because of their football program? Or was it because getting into New Jersey and New York gives them the opportunity to sell a lot more subscriptions to the Big Ten network? Fans and their money are attractive to conferences.
3. Ties with the University of Texas
No one dislikes being the University of Texas' little brother more than me. But there are worse schools to be tied to, and I am realistic about the situation. If the Big 12 disbands, Texas and Oklahoma have all of the clout. They pull most of the weight in the Big 12 because they're the biggest, have the largest athletic budgets, have the most tradition and are the most appealing to other conferences. If Texas chooses to go to, say, the Big Ten, they'll want a geographic partner and natural rival. Texas Tech makes perfect sense due to our past history, and we're likely to taken care of by the Longhorns.
Texas Tech recently being named a Carnegie Tier One Research University - one of six in the Big 12 - helps show the current status of academics in Lubbock. The Big Ten is the only conference with every member having this classification.
With our ties to Texas, and mostly importantly, our athletic revenue and geographic reach, Texas Tech is in prime position to join another power five conference should the Big 12 fall apart.