Fear of Oklahoma Sooners Only Reason Texas Would Consider Leaving Big 12

J. Robert ByromCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts during the Citi BCS National Championship game against the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Which team are you least scared of the Oklahoma Sooners or Ohio State Buckeyes?

Texas has denied talking to the Big Ten despite the growing evidence that a discussion took place.

However, chances are, all Texas did was listen and lets face it they would be fools not to listen to anyone offering them millions.

While money has been listed as the biggest reason to make the jump.  It does not hold up to closer observation.

First of all, the extra $8 million the Big Ten is offering mostly comes from money generated by the Big Ten Network. While the Big Ten was and is the forerunner for this idea and they deserve immense amount of credit for doing it first, in five years every major conference will have their own network and will be making around the same amount of money based on their population.

Population brings me to my second point, while revenues remain high now for the Big Ten network and their network would probably be the biggest money maker for the next few years, the population of the U.S. is moving south and quickly.

In five to 10 years chances are that the Big 12 and SEC will likely be much more profitable as states like Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia continue to see growing populations.

Of course, the shift southward could change but there seems little reason to believe it will because most of the northern cities losing population were built on industrial jobs that seems to become fewer and fewer as time goes on. 

So, it is safe to say that the extra money the Big Ten has right now due to their network will be short-lived and surpassed as the other conferences start their own.

Another reason the money doesn't add up is that Texas would automatically take a loss by losing the Red River Rivalry. That game pays both Texas and Oklahoma an extra $3-5 million a year and that number has grown rapidly over the past decade. With both teams being BCS-caliber nearly every year, the number should continue to climb.

Then there is the A&M game which makes much less but could always be moved to a neutral site to add another million of two to the coffers.

Some say the games could be salvaged but it goes against Texas scheduling strategy. Texas has never been known in the BCS era as a tough scheduler and keeping those two games would make their schedule a gauntlet year in and out. 

Plus A&M and Oklahoma have added some pretty tough foes over the next few years and may be gun shy about adding a second, or even third tough non-conference game to their schedule. Especially after the tougher schedules shot them both in the foot this season.

There also may be an emerging rivalry with Nebraska coming. While this rivalry is a newborn, it could turn into a huge money maker if Nebraska continues to improve and gets a strangle hold on the Big 12 North Division.

The money generated by this game could rival what you could generate with the A&M game. Of course, Nebraska is just speculation at this point.

Plus, no matter which in conference rivalries you would be able to generate in the Big Ten, you would always play second fiddle to the Ohio State/Michigan.

Then there is travel, it is obvious that it is much cheaper to go a couple hundred miles than over a thousand which the games would be in the Big Ten.

Travel expenses would likely double or triple for conference games because equipment is usually driven to games not flown. Thus, those expenses would have days added to them as far as fuel cost and manpower. While that wouldn't add anywhere near $8 million to expenses, it would take a big bite out of that pie.

When you look at the whole money picture, the added travel expenses, the declining midwest population, the growing southern population, the loss of rivalries and all BCS conferences starting their own TV networks, Texas may even take a loss by switching conferences.

If not this year, especially in the years to come when the Big 12 has their own network and the population of the mid-south grows as the midwest's shrinks.

On top of that Texas makes approximately $90 million a year, no Big Ten school comes close to making that. So one, $8 million, if you don't consider extra cost and revenue lost is only around a 9% increase. 

If the money flows so freely in the Big Ten why isn't any school there making that much money. 

So, If it isn't about the money, what is it about?

Could it be which conference would be easier to dominate?  

While Texas has made huge strides in shifting the Big 12 power away from Oklahoma down across the Red River the past few years, It remains a fact that the conference has as a whole been dominated by Oklahoma since its expansion.

Oklahoma has Six Conference titles in the past decade, three times more than Texas' two. OU has managed to get to the BCS title game four times to Texas' two. Both have a national title and Texas has won four out of the last five against OU but there is little doubt Texas is second fiddle in their own conference when you look at the numbers.

Trust me, when you are filled with Texas pride, you cannot stand being behind anyone, especially a school and a state that is believed to be inferior by every ounce of that pride. 

Meanwhile, Ohio State has dominated the Big Ten even more so than Oklahoma has the Big 12. Ohio State has a national championship and three trips to a national championship game in the BCS era.

So, really if you believe you can dominate the Ohio State Buckeyes, you can dominate the conference and guarantee trips to the national championship.

The Ohio State Buckeyes have not fared to well against out of conference top-caliber opponents since their last championship, well except for Texas which they have played close three times, losing two.    

Because the money argument just doesn't make much sense when you really look at it it comes down to which conference do you have a better chance of dominating? 

And the answer to that question comes down to which team are you more scared of the Oklahoma Sooners or the Ohio State Buckeyes.

If you do think that you would rather go up against the Buckeyes, are you going to let that fact run you out of your home and find a new place to play.

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