The View from North America (VFA) has been thinking long and hard about this college football realignment and if we're honest, we're a little bit sad.
Sure, it's the quickest way to clean up the joke that is the BCS, but it's also sad that we're going to see smaller schools get cut out while the biggest revenue ones dominate. It's simply not cool. Pittsburgh and Syracuse moving to the ACC makes it a better basketball conference but are people going to care more about Pittsburgh and Syracuse football, I doubt it.
The move by Oklahoma and Texas to the Pac-12 was meant to be the end of the Big XII. It was meant to be the death of college sports and the start of the domino. But there was one problem. The domino never moved. The Pac-12 is happy with staying at 12. Why? The Longhorn Network, stupid!
For the record, we at the VFA hate The Longhorn Network. It's simply ESPN trying to get their feet into high school sports and they were prepared to burn themselves orange for the privilege. After all, Texas is one of the best places for high school football (we'd love to see a game between the best of Texas and the best of Florida, to determine this, by the way).
Now, this network is becoming a cancer. Texas and Oklahoma were all ready to move to the Pac-12. Larry Scott, the conference's commissioner, was all ready to have them. It would have been a coup for Scott, and a coup for the 12 other sides. I mean, how could you not drool at the mouth thinking of a repeat of USC vs Texas or Oregon vs Oklahoma?
But there was one major blocking—and that was the Longhorn Network.
So what do you do? Well, Oklahoma could still go to the Pac-12. Larry Scott can say that he's not looking for any more grooms, but the one in crimson and white would make a pretty damned good one for his conference's credibility. We'd like to argue that it's better than Colorado or Utah (no disrespect, guys).
And then you leave Texas on its own. Texas goes independent as the Big XII burns. They keep the stupid Longhorn Network, which no-one watches anyway. They keep the $300 million. They have their home games screened like Notre Dame does on NBC, and they put together a big schedule like the Irish does. And more importantly, they continue with the Red River Shoot-Out and perhaps even the A&M game.
Texas gets money and profile, and college football gets a bit of peace. Could you ask for anything better than that?