Texas and Oklahoma's inevitable Big 12 departure will linger, even if SEC move isn't swift

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CBS Sports 22 July, 2021 - 12:13am 10 views

When did Texas A&M join the SEC?

The SEC officially announced the addition of Texas A&M on Sept. 26, 2011, with the school joining the conference in 2012. Texas A&M's move to the SEC wasn't particularly well-received by its Texas peers, with the Longhorns still refusing to schedule the Aggies in major sports. al.comFormer Texas A&M president explains SEC expansion process, why he’s skeptical Texas joins

The Big 12 recently held a conference call updating stakeholders on the progress of College Football Playoff expansion. In the midst of the update, someone on the call asked how it would impact another round of conference realignment.

According to one source on the call, Oklahoma president Joseph Harroz Jr. reiterated his school's commitment to the Big 12. My how times have changed.

Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC about joining the league should the two Big 12 powerhouses choose to leave their home conference, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday. At least Texas has reached out to the SEC inquiring about admission into the nation's most powerful conference, sources tell CBS Sports.

Whether Texas was speaking for Oklahoma as well has not been determined.

University of Texas regents chair Kevin Eltife is behind the pitch, sources tell CBS Sports. Eltife is a 62-year-old commercial real estate investor in Tyler, Texas, who served in the Texas Senate from 2004-13. He was appointed as a regent to the UT system by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2019.

Here we are again, 10 years after the Great Realignment of 2010, contemplating realignment again for the same old reasons. Make that one reason: money.

The generator is that aforementioned CFP expansion. The conferences with the most best teams win.

The SEC favors CFP expansion that would include the 12 best teams. If it turns out that way, the SEC could wind up with six of those 12 teams if it adds Texas and Oklahoma to the fold.

OK, maybe that's an exaggeration. Maybe not.

The SEC has to give this inquiry serious consideration. It could conceivably become the first superconference of the modern era -- 16 teams from Florida to Texas. Such a realignment would basically scuttle the Big 12 and force the ACC and Big Ten to expand just to keep up with the SEC.

With Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC could conceivably go from a $44 million per team annual payout to $60 million. There wouldn't be many difference-making programs left to admit. Notre Dame is an independent. USC is in the Pac-12, which already has its own slew of issues.

Whether it happens, this is what's next for major college athletics. Adapt or die.

Who says the SEC stops at 16? Maybe it goes to 32, the same number of teams that populate the NFL, and just creates a separate league.

The SEC would need 11 of 14 schools to vote in the affirmative to admit Texas and Oklahoma. Texas A&M would be a certain vote against expansion. Missouri and Alabama could be among the dissenters for competitive reasons. As with Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina may have concerns about future realignment loosening SEC footholds within their states.

The Big 12 has a grant of rights agreement that would serve as an impediment to this happening immediately. That agreement states, if any team leaves the conference before the TV deal expires in 2025, the conference would own that team's television rights.

Texas and Oklahoma could leave, break that agreement and simply say, "Sue us."

There are questions about how the Longhorn Network would fit in. Oklahoma has a third-tier agreement with Bally Sports, too. But the SEC and its two potential new partners are so big and so rich that those seem to be just details.

At worst, even if SEC expansion is not immediate, Wednesday's developments will be lingering over both conferences until the Big 12 contract expires in 2025.

"There is way too much smoke at this point," one Big 12 source tells CBS Sports.

Texas has long considered itself too aristocratic for the pedestrian SEC. If it left the Big 12, the ACC or Big Ten were considered more likely destinations. Oklahoma was the more likely choice and better fit for the SEC.

Either way, the schools' brands would be diluted. OU and UT rule the Big 12. In the SEC, Oklahoma and Texas would be perhaps the fourth-, fifth- or even sixth-best programs.

Making $60 million a year would soothe those egos. In a way, none of this should be surprising. The Pac-12 came within 30 minutes of the raiding the Big 12 in 2010.

The SEC is bigger and far better than the Pac-12. It's not likely to turn down this epic request whether it's in the next two weeks or two years from now. 

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Texas and Oklahoma’s ‘Brisket Takeover’ of the SEC must be stopped

AL.com 22 July, 2021 - 06:13am

The Brisket Takeover of the SEC must be thwarted at all costs.

Texas, we’re not fooled one bit by any of this. Y’all want to come “join the SEC” like Buc-ee’s wants to be “just another gas station” out by Barbers Motorsports Park in Leeds. First it was the gas station with the barbecue sandwiches, and tomorrow it’s football.

Just no. Please no, Greg Sankey. Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC? What’s next, Beaver Nuggets going to replace mac and cheese at Thanksgiving? Alabama and Auburn to the SEC East?

Just remember this, Matthew McConaughey: the brainwashing starts early here. Children in Birmingham, Baton Rouge and Biloxi are now going to grow up playing a game called Horns Down on the Playground just for you starting this rumor, and no one’s going to stop them for insensitivity training, or a 15-yard penalty, or whatever it is y’all do out there to be so soft these days.

GOODMAN: Why is Texas so soft?

TALTY: Former Texas A&M president skeptical

There was a report on Wednesday by the Houston Chronicle linking Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, so now we know what SEC commissioner Greg Sankey meant on Monday at SEC Media Days when he said, garishly quoting Bob Dylan, “keep your eyes wide, the chance won’t come again, and don’t speak too soon for the wheels still in spin.”

Clever, Greg, real clever. Yes, it all makes sense now, and we love you for all the content you provide us, but think about the children, OK? Think about all the history we’re not going to teach them in schools … or something. They’re all going to grow up thinking brisket was always the best smoked meat.

Not much could steal the limelight away from Alabama coach Nick Saban at SEC Media Days the season after becoming the record holder for most national championships (seven). If this is a thing you thought, then, like me, you were wrong. Texas and Oklahoma potentially leaving the Big 12 for the SEC trumps all.

England has Brexit, and that’s when our friends across the pond voted to leave the European Union. This is the opposite of that, SEC presidents and chancellors. Texas and Oklahoma do not come in peace. This is a hostile Brisket Takeover, and we all know it. Our children cannot grow up in a world where pulled pork barbecue is inferior to beef. We’ve had them fooled for so long.

But, seriously, if Oklahoma and Texas join the cookout already in progress, does that mean Auburn and Alabama move to the SEC East with Georgia and Florida? Auburn, you should have been more careful with your wishes. The Brisket Takeover is coming, and maybe it’s all your fault.

How is it even possible to cook meat that long without it turning into a baseball glove?

And we thought maybe SEC Media Days was just going to be a peaceful family reunion after so long apart. Nope. Not even close. Maybe this is all a cry for help. College football is relapsing again into total conference realignment, and it needs serious counseling.

Don’t come here for intervention, though. This space today is only for the sickest of puppies, and all the puppies have now fallen off the wagon train somewhere out West and hit their heads really hard. It’s July, after all, and we’re about to entertain complete and reckless speculation of the highest order and a new epoch of college football as we know it.

A new SEC West: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

A new SEC East: Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

GOODMAN: The case for a 16-team playoff

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Sounds like a lot of fun, to be honest. That’s the thing about the Brisket Takeover. Buc-ee’s looks ridiculous from the outside, and then you go inside and it is, in fact, ridiculous, but then you spend $200 on beef jerky.

Texas wants a seat in the SEC? Come on, really?

“I bet they would,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said during his turn at SEC Media Days. “We got the greatest league in ball.”

And of course the report in the Houston Chronicle had to drop only a short time before Fisher stepped to the dais inside the main room of SEC Media Days. No coincidence there, right?

Well, Jimbo, maybe the Brisket Takeover is actually the thing that keeps the SEC on top if conference realignment is inevitable. With the playoffs expanding, it looks like another “paradigm shift” is coming. That’s what the late, great SEC commissioner Mike Slive used to say. He kept the SEC on top, and his great successor adding Texas and Oklahoma to the flag would ensure it forever.

Sure would like to see Texas A&M and Texas play each other every year again, right? Texas, I know y’all are bitter and stuff, but that game would have to be a part of this deal. And think of all the road trips to Austin to visit new Texas coach Steve Sarkisian. Anything for more games that add to Saban’s record against former assistants.

One request: can we call the Alabama-Oklahoma game the Jalen Hurts Classic? Hey, maybe the Brisket Takeover isn’t so bad after all. There are other barbecue options, of course. When they gave me one of those hot links sandwiches in Norman it was like hearing Johnny Cash for the first time.

GOODMAN: Greg Sankey, please stop quoting Bob Dylan

Sankey quoted Dylan to begin SEC Media Days, but maybe it should have been the Man in Black. From one of Cash’s classics, “Don’t take your guns to town”:

“Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics,” Texas said in a statement. “We will not address rumors or speculation.”

But they will try to entertain us with their gas station barbecue and summer drama at the family reunion.

Joseph Goodman is a columnist for the Alabama Media Group. He’s on Twitter @JoeGoodmanJr. His first book, We Want Bama: A Season of Hope and the Making of Nick Saban’s ‘Ultimate Team,’  debuts in November.

More from Joseph Goodman: Why Milo’s Sweet Tea chose Bo Nix

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