If 16 team superconferences are created, don't be surprised if the conferences petitition the NCAA to go to 13 games with 10 conference games. This would allow the creation of 4 team pods where a team plays 3 games with teams in their pods and then 2 games with teams in other pods and 1 rival from any of the 3 other pods. A 13th game and 10th conference game would allow conference to generate even more money (a la NFL hoping to go to an 18 game schedule).The NCAA will allow it because with 9 game schedules a lot of the sisters of the poor schools are losing out on big paychecks that keep them afloat because less games available. 13 games would allow 3 OOC games with 1 or 2 competitive games and 1 woodshed game. With a 13 games schedule the season would start a week earlier and most of those games would be woodshed games. It could be called preview weekend, see your team have an almost preseason game against a sister of the poor team. Then Labor Day weekend you would have a lot of great games.
Things have gone quiet on the SEC expansion front in recent days. While the league has worked behind the scenes to find a 14th member to possibly pair with Texas A&M, all chatter has been coming from the Big 12 side of things.
Commissioner Dan Beebe said he wants A&M to stay (while also suggesting that he might force the school’s hand with a deadline). Big 12 mega-boosters like T. Boone Pickens have asked A&M to stay. Panicked economists attached to Baylor University have cranked out numbers showing that if A&M leaves for the SEC, the entire state of Texas will go the way of the Roman Empire. And even folks attached to the University of Texas have publicly stated that they desperately want the Aggies to stay put.
While all these statement have been bubbling up on the surface, Texas and ESPN have actually been back in the kitchen cooking up new plans for the Longhorn Network — the cable channel that started kickstarted A&M’s escape plans.
The NCAA ruled last week that high school games could not air on college or conference networks for fear that such broadcasts would give said school or league a recruiting advantage. On Monday, the NCAA will discuss the matter further with representatives from multiple networks and multiple schools, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
But Texas and ESPN are already planning to get high schoolers onto the Longhorn Network in another way — highlights. During a news conference yesterday, a representative for the network said that UT and ESPN plan to show high school football highlights on their co-owned channel.
In other words, “We really want you to stay, A&M… now how ya like these apples?” In addition, it was announced that the network would carry two Big 12 games this season, another of the original sticking points for A&M.
Consider this to be passive-aggressive behavior on a collegiate level. And the Longhorns’ actions are speaking a lot more loudly than their words.
In response to all of this, an Aggie official said only, “Our recent conversations are reflective of our ongoing concerns.” Indeed.
If Beebe holds his league together this time around, he should know that it will be even more flawed and fractious than it has been for the past year. Of course, if he can deadline A&M into staying, he also knows he can up the exit penalty by tens of millions of dollars before the Aggies actually do depart.
And they will depart. It’s just a matter of when.
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