Texas has played the politics of expansion very well so far.
They've made it appear that they truly wanted to save the Big 12.
They managed to bully Nebraska into making the first move so as to remove themselves from the blame for the Big 12's demise.
They found a way to get themselves unattached from Baylor.
They knew Oklahoma and Oklahoma State don't have enough recruits to excel without being in the same league as Texas so the Longhorns have been able to effectively treat OU and Ok. State like their own personal puppets knowing they will go anywhere the Longhorns do and be thrilled about landing somewhere (unlike their Kansas brethren having to sweat it out).
And, of course, Texas Tech is just ecstatic to be along for the ride. After all, has any other school been so openly mocked as to be referred to as the "Tech problem" and everyone nationwide knowing exactly who that means?
But Texas A&M has put a bluff together that really has the Horns bumfuzzled. The folks in Austin can't figure out if A&M is really serious about going to the SEC or not. And the Longhorns appear less than eager to pull the trigger without them. Word is now that the Horns are listening again to what Commissioner Beebe has to say about the new projected TV deal.
So what has A&M done that has the Longhorns in such disarray. It all boils down to recruiting. First, A&M would have an obvious recruiting advantage over Texas for the first time ever. They'd be able to tell their target recruits that all their games will be closer to home AND in the nation's premiere conference...you know, the one that sends more kids to the NFL than any other conference.
But that's not all. Texas was taking a small risk by opening up their borders to all the PAC-10 current schools who currently don't play in Texas. But it was a small risk because those schools would still only play in Texas once or twice a year and are otherwise very far away. And the recruits that might be lost to PAC-10 schools could be made up by snagging some California or Arizona kids that currently aren't looking Texas way. So this was effectively a wash...when Texas A&M was also coming along to the PAC-10.
But with Texas A&M opening the doors to 12 other SEC schools to recruit the fertile grounds of Texas alongside all the new recruiting going on from the PAC-10 schools that will now be playing games in Texas...well, let's just say that this has caused Bevo some heartburn.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Texas isn't going to still be the first choice of Texas high school football players. And I'm not saying that Texas won't get their fair share of five star players. But they might have to jump through a lot more hoops and fight off a lot more suitors for them. And they'll lose a few.
Will that matter given the abundance of talent? It most certainly can...if it's the right player. Consider this. Let's assume that instead of this happening now, it happened a decade ago instead. And let's further assume that the SEC had built pipelines into Texas by the time Vince Young was coming out of high school. And let's say that because of these pipelines, he went to Florida or LSU or 'Bama or Georgia instead of Texas.
Most people believe that if not for Vince Young, Texas would still be waiting for that elusive first national title since Darryl Royal. So, yes, that one kid can make a HUGE difference. And having to win him in the future when right now he is currently almost a Longhorn by default is something even powerful Texas has to think about.
That's why they are back at the negotiation table. They may decide that they can go forward even with Texas A&M going their separate ways. Or they may yet convince A&M to go against their own best interest and follow the Horns out west. But that appears doubtful right now given that the A&M people are thinking more with their heads and less with their hearts and thus correctly see this as not really a good fit.
The truth is that Texas AD Dodds is not really the driving force behind this move. The current UT President graduated from Cal and he is the one wanting this to happen. But he is not Texas born and bred and his wishes shouldn't chain a university, or much less five universities, to a conference that really isn't a good fit for them.
UT has been around for a long time but Presidents come and go. A&M doesn't want one guy's misplaced wet dream for the Longhorns to affect their own beloved school for decades to come. Nor should they. So they're doing their best to get enough Longhorns to stand up to this UT President. Let's hope they are successful. But one thing is certain. The outcome should be very interesting.