It's safe to say the Red River Rivalry is likely off the table. ABC has set Oklahoma-Texas as a full national telecast. That's as it should be. This is a traditional rivalry that carries coast-to-coast appeal and national-championship significance.
No way it moves to the Longhorn Network.
Ditto for Texas-Texas A&M.
ESPN is planning to broadcast that game on Thanksgiving evening, and frankly, with that game in College Station this year, it might take some major arm twisting to convince the Aggies that their most storied rivalry should air on the Longhorn Network.
I guess arms are twisted more easily with hundreds of thousands of dollars, but still, it seems an unlikely sell.
But there are plenty of other options if ESPN is looking for a good game to go on the Longhorn Network. Oklahoma State on Oct. 15. Texas Tech on Nov. 5. Baylor on Dec. 3.
OSU and Tech are in Austin, a likely selling point for that Longhorn Network game, but all three games are interesting.
The best of the three is OSU. The Cowboys are going to be outstanding — everyone will want to check out Justin Blackmon, Brandon Weeden and Co. — and after beating the Longhorns on burnt-orange turf a year ago, their return to Austin will make for grand theater.
The next best option is Texas Tech. Even though the Red Raiders were down a year ago, they've had some memorable history of late with the Longhorns. Putting that game on the Longhorn Network would be a great way for ESPN to sell the network to a broader audience in Texas.
The Baylor game is the worst of the three options, but it still isn't bad. The matchup promises to be good. The Bears, like the Cowboys, won in Austin a year ago, and they bring back Robert Griffin. The thing that puts this game slightly behind the Texas Tech game is the fan base. There just aren't as many Bears fans as Red Raiders fans, and the more eyes, the better for ESPN and the Longhorn Network.
So, what game will it be?
If ESPN wants to cause the least fallout, it will go with Baylor. The game has already been set for ABC. The school is a Texas neighbor. Add in the fact that Baylor doesn't have as much clout as OSU or Tech, and this option is the least nuclear.
But if ESPN is serious about having a truly marquee game that will draw viewers to its new venture, then the chances of the Cowboys playing on the Longhorn Network seem good.
Stay tuned.Tramel: ESPN, Fox collusion troubling