Texas athletic director Steve Patterson is a man with a plan, and Patterson laid out his plan for the Longhorns future in a recent interview with Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman.
The usual suspects were on Patterson's to-do list, including more distribution for the Longhorn Network, improving the department's graduation rates, maintaining the amount of donations to the Longhorn Foundation, etc.
But one item stood out more than the others: Playing a big-time football game in Mexico City or another international location.
That's right—Patterson wants to expand the Texas Longhorn brand internationally, and the reason Patterson gave Bohls was simply financial.
"As Rockets exec, he once learned there were more millionaires (4 million of them) than there were Houston citizens," Bohls wrote. (Subscription required)
UT's Patterson didn't say he wants a game specifically in Mexico City, just wants to explore neutral sites there, elsewhere.— kbohls (@kbohls) January 29, 2014
Although Patterson's vision to play in Mexico City or at another international location is merely on his wish list, it is interesting to speculate who the Longhorns could land as an opponent across the border.
Playing college football in Mexico City is not something that has been done in recent history, but playing internationally is something more and more teams are doing. Penn State and Central Florida are scheduled to open the 2014 season in Dublin, Ireland, and Notre Dame played Navy in Dublin in 2012.
The Longhorns opponent would need to be more than just your average Joe and probably an out-of-conference team. A big name opponent could bring in a big time crowd, and the Longhorns have a handful of big-named opponents on their future schedule.
|2014||North Texas||BYU||vs. UCLA (Arlington, TX)|
|2015||at Notre Dame||Rice||Cal|
|2016||Notre Dame||UTEP||at Cal|
|2020||at Notre Dame|
|2023||at Ohio State|
After looking at the non-conference opponents, two teams look to be the perfect fit.
The Fighting Irish are no stranger to playing internationally. Notre Dame played Navy in Dublin for the first time in 1996 and then again in 2012.
The Longhorns and the Irish will kick off the 2015 college football season September 5 and are scheduled to do so in Indiana. But kicking off the season internationally would be a slam dunk for both teams, which hold the No. 1 and No. 2 spots of Forbes' most profitable college football programs.
Texas and Notre Dame are two of the most polarizing programs in college football, and their merchandise sales prove it. The Longhorns have topped the Collegiate Licensing Company's top selling universities and manufacturing lists for eight consecutive years, while the Irish have placed in the top 15 since 2009, according to the CLC's archived rankings.
University of Southern California
The Trojans and the Longhorns have not met on the gridiron since 2006, but that game was one for the record books. The 2006 BCS National Championship between Texas and USC was arguably one of the best national championships in college football history.
And what would be better than the Texas vs. USC rematch to take place internationally?
The two teams are set to face off in 2017 and 2018, and the games will likely bring in a wide array of viewership.
Regardless of whether Texas will play Notre Dame, USC or another university, Patterson's goal on extending the Longhorns into an international program shows his vision expands further than what Texas fans are accustomed to.
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