Big Ten Expansion. If Texas Why Not Florida?

Ron JonesContributor IFebruary 15, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback E.J. Manuel #3 of the Florida State Seminoles calls out a play in the huddle against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl on January 1, 2010 at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Florida State defeated West Virginia 33-21 in Bobby Bowden's last game as a head coach for the Seminoles.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

In a previous post: I saw the Big Ten going after the East Coast, which they still may do, but having the first volley of official rumors be about the University of Texas, I had to revisit my thesis because it looks like the Big Ten is going hard after cornerstones. This is a great diversion from a lot of the speculation that has included schools such as Iowa State, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh (States in which the Big Ten already have a dominant presence).  My thinking has always been that the Big Ten will not add any teams not named Notre Dame from the present 8 state region comprising the Big Ten. But Texas? My first thought was WOW, that's what I call going for the gusto.

Academically, Athletically, and any other you can come up with Texas is a perfect fit except geography, however it is not much different than Miami or South Florida playing in the Big East.  In fact it is my opinion that this is a good deal for the University of Texas and by extension the four schools of the old Southwest Conference that were left out of the Big 12.  Forgive the digression but I think that if Texas leaves for the Big Ten, the Texas legislature may require A&M be included in the deal.  Colorado (already being mentioned as a candidate for Pac 10 expansion) may see no reason to stay in a declining conference and the SEC taking advantage of a situation may try to grab Oklahoma.  I know that’s a lot of moving pieces but that could leave 2, 3, or 4 spots available in the Big 12 and I think that the Big 12 would die without a large presence in Texas.  The Big 12 would still have enough football muscle to warrant a BCS bid with Nebraska, Okie State & Texas Tech, but they would need to stay in DFW and Houston which could greatly enhance the fortunes of SMU, TCU, Houston, Rice, or maybe UTEP.

But back to Texas, let's not fool ourselves this isn't about rivalries, it is about cash, and the Big Ten is producing cash from a media standpoint at a multiple of 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 over the Big 12 (depending on the university).  The Big Ten Network along with a 10 year 1 Billion Dollar contract with ABC/ESPN dwarf the Fox Sports, Versus, ABC/ESPN deals of the Big 12.  Please correct me if I am wrong (Texas Fans) but as a see it, UT has no loyalty to the Big 12, if anything their history and rivalries, with the exception of Oklahoma, rest in the old Southwest Conference.  As an outsider looking in, Oklahoma and Texas A&M would probably be the only rivalries the ‘Horns would want to protect, which moves me to my next point.  There is a similar institution in Florida that I think would be a slam dunk for the Big Ten.

The University of Florida would be the ultimate catch in the state of Florida but I just don’t see that happening.  Almost 80 years of history in the SEC, great rivalries every week, phenomenal television deals and pissed off alumni and fans would exclude UF from the discussion but Florida State is another story.  Florida State could reasonable deliver the entire state of Florida for the Big Ten Network on basic cable.  FSU is a “tier 1” research university according to the US News, with a large student body, excellent football history, located in the fourth largest state in the union.  Furthermore, very similar to Texas, FSU was not a founding member of the ACC and I don’t think the fans and alumni would revolt if they left the ACC.  As long as FSU plays UF & UM every year the schedule could end up being better for the ‘Noles with the addition of OSU, MICH, PSU, WISC, IOWA, and possibly TEXAS.  This idea may be a stretch but since we are thinking outside the box then… If Texas why not Florida?