When the stars (re)align: Things still progressing toward Pac-16
CAMPUS CORNER — Timing is everything.
Consider how this early-season non-conference schedule, oddly enough, plays out this week in the Big 12. Oklahoma State hosts Arizona on Thursday. Oklahoma is off. Texas A&M is off.
Now, if you were going to make an announcement – a splash! – that you were moving to another conference, when would you want to do that? When you didn’t take focus and attention away from your own current football schedule, right?
Let’s just say everything goes to plan, laid out to some extent by this column from my friend Andy. Let’s say Texas A&M will be in the SEC by Wednesday afternoon. How much would A&M, Oklahoma, OSU like to “win” this Saturday without even playing.
Picture it: The Pac-12 welcomes four new members on Friday afternoon. All anyone’s talking about this weekend is OU, OSU, UT and TT, regardless of who’s playing. (Who is playing? Bama-PSU? UGA-So. Car.? It’s not a big week, truthfully. The Thursday night game is the best game I saw on the docket.)
But, mind you, that’s all idealistic timing. It makes too much sense. This could just as easily break in the middle of the night a month from now. Because that’s how things go. There are many moving parts, including one large one to the south that tends to move to its own rhythm.
The one (relevant) team in that mix NOT off this weekend? Texas. So, Texas could again throw a wrench into this thing. But, for now, it sounds as if the Horns are, more and more, on board with a move west. The TV network thing is a source of pride and power, but some are starting to believe a regional deal wouldn’t be so bad. The conference in which the school plays is more important than a TV channel, is a thought gaining steam in Austin. How much steam? Wouldn’t OU like to know.
Look, we’ve all been down this road before. A year ago. How many things could shift and change between now and a potential decision? If it’s true, what I saw reported somewhere – that Texas asking for a few extra bucks from the Pac-10 is that quashed the deal last summer – then anything could happen. (Well, I seriously doubt Texas will wind up in the ACC. But you know what, never say never.)
Just think, we’re living on a spinning planet in which the Big 10 has 12 teams and the Big 12 has 10 teams. Er, 9.5. Texas A&M is like a fading family member in the Back to the Future photo. Not even Baylor’s last-ditch PR effort could curtail that decision, it would seem. The SEC’s presidents could, maybe, but that doesn’t seem reasonable. A&M had to have received some sort of assurance before jumping the Big 12 ship.
Bottom line: The Pac-16 could all fall apart before its ever formed. It has before. It could happen again. But, for now, that’s where all this is headed …
See you in Seattle.
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