Texas A&M departure would leave future of Big 12 a Big Mess

by Berry Tramel Modified: August 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm •  Published: August 11, 2011

Wouldn't shock me if Texas and the Pac-12 resumed discussions. Maybe there's a television compromise to be had. The Pac-12 has started its own conference network, with regional satellite networks within that framework. I have no idea how that all will work, and I'm not sure anyone on the West Coast does, either.

But I know this. Conference affiliation is far more important than television autonomy, even if ESPN is paying Texas $15 million for marginal content and would pay much more for the prime stuff. Perhaps there's a way the Longhorn Network could be folded into the new Pac-12 system, with both sides saving face.

Independence would severely harm Texas' other sports, would do nothing for football and would serve only to fill the Longhorn vault, which already is packed with greenbacks.

So it by all means is in Texas' best interest to at least check out Pac-12 expansion, even if it gave A&M the ultimate satisfaction of damaging the Longhorn Network.

Oklahoma State is tied to the Sooners, of course, and OSU is OU's best comrade in this madness. Wherever these schools go, they need friends. Friends and neighbors.

OU is best served going West as one of four schools. Adding a quartet to the Pac-12 that would form what almost came to pass last summer; an East Division that also would include Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

That gives OU (and OSU) a workable regional schedule, with minimal West Coast travel, and like-minded schools around the boardroom.

Without Texas, another partner is needed out West, to join the likely trio of OU, OSU and Texas Tech. Missouri, if the Tigers don't go with A&M, or Kansas, if the Jayhawks can split from K-State.

I've even thought about TCU, since the more Texas schools the merrier. OU and OSU, particularly, need to be aligned with as many Texas schools as possible; their recruiting south of the Red River has flourished in the Big 12 era. But at least one Big 12 administrator shot down the TCU idea. Not enough TV clout.

Or heck, why not A&M? If the Aggies are going to bolt, at least try to talk them into staying away from the SEC barbarians. Go to the Pac-12 with OU, OSU and Tech. The Aggies want the last laugh on Texas? That would do it.

Oh well, maybe everyone will settle down. Maybe the Aggies will realize how good they've got it. Maybe they will take solace in having stood up to Texas this summer. Maybe they will stick with the Big 12.

But you never know when someone will suddenly shoot Ferdinand.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

Jenni Carlson: Texas A&M to the SEC doesn’t make sense Chat Recap: Berry Tramel

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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