Miscellany

Conference Realignment is Back

It probably never left.

You know what I don’t want to do? I don’t want to have to write about another round of realignment. I was done with this and hoping that I would hang up my keyboard by the time this rolled around again. Unfortunately, I am not so lucky and here we are discussing the merits of Texas and Oklahoma reaching out to the SEC for possible inclusion.

I honestly don’t have the time to really figure out the in’s and out’s of what that means for them, but I would guess that Texas would have to ditch the one thing that they love, the Longhorn Network, because I don’t see how that plays out in the SEC (who has a contract with CBS and ESPN through 2023) but then moves to ESPN in 2024.

Regardless, Texas and Oklahoma are most likely done.

What does this mean for Texas Tech? That’s my primary concern. I am guessing that the idea of this has been discussed internally. There was always the thought that Texas would leave, probably independent because I think they think that’s who they are, so the reality of Texas leaving at some point and Oklahoma doing the same is likely.

Texas Tech will need to pivot pretty quickly and teams like Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU, and Baylor have value. Door #1 is to try to pair some of those teams with the Pac-12 who I think will be much improved with new conference leadership. That would seemingly include Texas Tech, but you never know.

The door #2 possibility would maybe be trying to get the Big 12 back and invite teams like BYU, Colorado State, Air Force, Houston, SMU, etc. I don’t think that moves the needle for television contracts as much because without Texas and Oklahoma, the value is essentially gone. There is value in live sporting events, but you don’t replace Texas and Oklahoma with any of those schools mentioned. Maybe Arkansas comes back as does Missouri as they’ll likely have zero chance of winning anything of note. Of course, this also presumes that winning athletic competitions is the reason for the move and that’s not really the case. It’s all about $$$$.

Texas Tech was never going to be able to control what Texas did, so there’s no one to blame and/or credit with the current situation. Kirby Hocutt could seek out other conferences, but the only possible locale would have been the Pac-16 and they weren’t really attractive until recently (again with new leadership) and the SEC wasn’t going to take Texas Tech as a solo entity. Regardless, it would seem that I don’t know what Texas Tech could do to be proactive other than keep lines of communication open on a regular basis with this as a contingency. Again, the thought that UT and OU would look elsewhere at some point was very likely. Hopefully, Hocutt and Lawrence Shovanec are prepared for what’s next.

And maybe that’s door #3, which is if Texas Tech gets invited to the SEC as well, but it seems as if Texas Tech is outside looking in at this point.

Buckle up.

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