In the Southeastern Conference, the phrase "It Just Means More" represents the 14 teams.
Well, for now at least.
Conference realignments happen all the time. Teams that building rapport and revenue want more exposure. Their records might struggle for a year or so, but the spotlight will drive in recruits.
Which will drive up ticket sales. Which will drive up revenue.
What do Texas and Oklahoma, two of college football's premier programs, need a conference realignment for? Is this conversation really happening again?
Yep. This time though, there's traction.
Mere minutes before Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher took the stand at SEC Media Days, the Houston Chronicle dropped the bombshell of the afternoon. Who cares what Clark Lea of Vanderbilt had to say, this became frontline news.
Sorry Clark, better luck in Year 2.
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Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC about joining the football powerhouse. When asked for comment, commissioner Greg Sankey said that they're focused on the 2021 season.
He also didn't say no.
The Big 12 has come under the spotlight for failing to expand to a full dozen teams. They've played at 10 since 2011, when two other programs left following the departures of Colorado and Nebraska in 2010.
The two names: Texas A&M and Missouri. The location: The SEC.
What did Fisher have to make of the news when asked in Birmingham, Ala.?
"I bet they would," he giggled.
Naturally, who wouldn't want to play college football's top conference.
"Listen, we've got the greatest league in ball," Fisher followed up. "That's the choices they make or what they do, I don't know, but I don't know how I feel about it. I'm just worried about A&M. I control what I want to control here."
Losing Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12 is all but a death sentence to the conference, but it's not all set in stone. Admittance to the conference requires 11 of 14 votes from other programs.
Best believe the Aggies will vote nay at the board meeting.
"We love being the only school in the state of Texas in the SEC," Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said on The Paul Finebaum Show. "We're going to maintain that position, but we're also going to make sure that we're a leader in college athletics and we'll see what the future holds."
Leaving the Big 12 and coming to the SEC can have mixed results. The Aggies defeated then-No. 1 Alabama on the road in their first season. They haven't defeated them since.
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Missouri went to the SEC Championship in its second season as winner of the East. They've had more .500 seasons or worse than winning campaigns.
Only entering Year 9 do the Aggies have it figured out. Under Jimbo Fisher, A&M went 9-1 in 2020, and looks to be the only threat to taking on Alabama for the SEC West.
Mizzou? Check back in midseason under Eli Drinkwitz.
“I will tell you there’s a reason why Texas A&M left for the SEC because of how things were operating and we are going to be diligent in our approach to protect Texas A&M,” Bjork said, still processing the news a short time later. “I know how we feel about our position and who belongs in the SEC.”
Maybe by the name 'Southeastern Conference', the Longhorns and Sooners don't belong.
By revenue, they certainly do.
Everything comes down to money when it's all said and done. The Big 12, still a prominent conference, reported a revenue of $409.2 million for the fiscal year 2020. That roughly divides to $38 million per team.
The SEC? A mere $729 million in total revenue during the 2020 fiscal year. The payout? Roughly around $45.5 million. And those numbers are expected to grow with the new TV deal with ESPN after CBS' contract runs out in 2023.
The Big 12's TV contracts with ESPN and Fox will expire in 2025. The Longhorn Network's deal with ESPN goes through 2031.
Oklahoma should at least be combatant against opponents no matter where they land. They've won the Big 12 six straight times under Lincoln Riley and Bob Stoops, going to the College Football Playoff on three different occasions.
As for Texas? Maybe Steve Sarkisian is the answer. His last stop before going to the Forty Acres? Helping Alabama win its 18th national title.
The question now is the timeline of when this could all play out. Out in the public, both sides could be working fast to work out a new deal. The Big 12 will do what it takes to keep both programs, while SEC schools converse amongst themselves and wonder.
With the CFP talking of expansion, the SEC wants to be well represented. Last year, four schools (Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida) would have made the cut.
This year, it could be four again. Would it be if Texas and OU crash the party?
Based on recruiting numbers, overall personal revenue, and name recognition, Texas and Oklahoma would fit right in. The Aggies might not like it, but a quadruple payday would entice 13 other programs.
After all in the SEC; It just means more
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