Follow the money was an underlying theme in the Watergate scandal a generation ago.
In the present world of college football, which is being torn apart by transfer portal and Name, Image and License issues involving hundreds of millions of dollars of dollars, it has become a mantra in the offices of the Big 12 which is in a state of flux.
The Big 12 may have come up with a solution, which would turn this hybrid conference into a more conventional Super 14 team league for one or two seasons, with a mixture of old and new teams.
But why make it a temporary move?
Why not close a deal in which Texas and Oklahoma become anchors of a 14-team Big 12 super conference?
First the good news.
The Big 12 announced a record payoff of approximately 42.5 million for each of its 10 schools.
But that is a league which includes Texas and Oklahoma, both who are committed to the Southeastern Conference, starting in the 2025 season.
The Big 12 is also committed to adding BYU, UCF, Houston and Cincinnati, again starting in the 2025 season
In a perfect world, those moves would have taken place already or be set for the start of the season.
But there was a matter of buyouts required from each of the departing schools who would have to break contracts to leave their leagues early.
In the case of UCF, Cincinnati and Houston, who are leaving the American Athletic Conference that number is in the $27 million dollar range. BYU, as an independent in football has no buyout clause.
In the case of Oklahoma and Texas, it is closer to $76 million dollars which the Big 12 wants for an early departure from its two signature schools.
Hardly chump change.
The realignment issues are also clogging the playoff expansion system which was focused on moving from 4 to 12 teams.
Again, a money issue which climbs into the billion dollar range.
The Big 12 which is also looking for a new commissioner to replace Bob Bowlsby, who is retiring, has been reluctant to make any compromises.
If the Big 12 wants to be progressive, getting someone from outside the conference such as Colorado athletic director Rick George or Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne would be a major move forward.
In fact, it seems likely that for at least next season, it is ready to embrace a 14 team league, with both Texas and Oklahoma, as well as BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF, as well as the remaining Big 12 teams.
In the latest 2022 pre-season power rankings, the Big 12 would be a major player, with 8 teams in the Top 40, a total which would match the ACC and Big 10 and trail only the SEC, which has 11 Top 40 teams.
Such a structure in the Big 12 should give factions opposing the move to the SEC in Oklahoma and Texas some leverage.
With those 14 teams, the 42 million dollar payout should increase.
It also should be noted that Oklahoma and Texas are leaving the Big 12 as the unquestioned leaders of the pack.
NO ONE is suggesting that Oklahoma or Texas will come close to say that Sooners or Longhorns will have such a role in the SEC.
Oh, they will make more money in the SEC--lots more, perhaps as much as $70 million per school
And it will take some major negotiating for a 14-teamBig 12 to get $43 million per school.
But there are ways the original Big 12 schools can get that much immediately with newcomers getting increases over an extended period of time.
And for a pair of schools such as Oklahoma and Texas, who have been treated as a royalty and pretty much gotten their own way on every major issue, life in the SEC could be ego bruising at best.
Wouldn't being part of a 14-team Big 12, in which they remain as the prime attractions be worth preserving?
Keeping an expanded package that favors Texas and Oklahoma in a new super conference set up seems more feasible.