Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville said publicly what many in the Big 12 believe privately but won’t say. That this league is not long for the world.
“I don’t think this conference will last long because there is too much disparity between all the teams,” Tuberville told satellite radio host Bill King. “In the SEC, for instance, Vanderbilt makes as much money in the television contract as Florida. Everybody is good with it. Everybody is on the same page. Everyone gets the same votes.
“That doesn’t happen here in the Big 12. We have some teams that get a little bit more money and have a little bit more stroke than some of the other teams. And when that happens, you’re gonna have teams looking for better avenues to leave and reasons to leave.”
Tuberville is correct that the new Big 12 will breed massive discontent. You’ve got the five schools that almost got left behind — Kansas, Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor — plus schools like Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, which have competed at least equally with Texas A&M for most of a decade on the scoreboard and in revenue-producing television exposure, yet A&M is guaranteed several million more dollars per year because of politics.
Even A&M, which torpedoed Texas’ bid to put together a Big 12 South exodus to the Pac-10, might grow weary of the Big 12 and could re-introduce the concept of jumping to the SEC. Certainly Missouri will go to the Big Ten at first possible chance, which may or may not come. And Kansas could have options and knows it has to be on its toes.
But the Big 12 might last for awhile because most teams don’t have options. Certainly Tech and OSU are at the mercy of Texas and OU. Nobody of substance is interested in K-State or Iowa State.
The Big 12 could stay together for awhile out of necessity, not out of satisfaction.
Three weeks ago, I called the salvation of the Big 12 the Treaty of Versailles, because it surely would foster only hard feelings. Which Tuberville seems to back up.
“We have a 10-team league right now, but I just don’t know how long that’s gonna last, to be honest with you,” Tuberville said on the radio interview.
Tech might have been the most disappointed school in the breakdown of the Pac-16 plan. The Red Raiders have as much in common with Arizona State and Arizona as they do Iowa State and Missouri. The Pac-16 was a great idea to Tech. Most other schools were torn between the pros and cons of the move, though I think OU and OSU both thought overall going West was the best move.
But Tech was not torn. Its new football coach is brave enough to say it.