It was reported by Nicole Auerbach of Athletic that PAC 12, Big 10, and ACC are about to announce an alliance that Auerbach says is “not just about programming.” Of course, absent from this equation is the besieged Big 12 and this fact places the future of the Texas Tech football program in even more uncertain territory.
What Auerbach’s article (which is behind a pay wall) does not specifically set out the terms of the alliance between the three conferences, implies that the three leagues agree to vote together on all issues (such as the expansion of the College Football Playoff) in what appears to be a move to try to counter the current SEC power. But what Texas Tech fans want to know is where the Red Raiders will fit into the new college football landscape. And right now, it’s an assumption of anyone.
Some optimistic fans choose to believe that this alliance will drive the conferences involved to expand. And that reasoning makes some sense.
If the SEC is really trying to form a super conference and break away from the NCAA to be its own entity, as many theorize, it would be appropriate for other conferences to try to block any further expansion of the SEC by absorbing as many quality programs as possible.
Right now, the SEC doesn’t have enough equipment to form its own super conference, and pulling out the most attractive options for a new expansion would seem like the best way for Big 10, ACC, and PAC 12 to block a SEC power play.
In that scenario, Texas Tech would be in good shape. Of the remaining programs that could be attractive for a major conference, Tech should be at the top of the list, given the university’s presence in Texas and the central time zone, both areas that are incredibly appealing to others. conferences.
Also, could this alliance push the SEC to consider a new expansion beyond Texas and Oklahoma? It is conceivable.
If this college football monopoly game becomes a race to add teams, Texas Tech could be in the cat bird seat. Perhaps this scenario would find Tech to be courted by more than one major conference and would certainly be the best case scenario.
Now, some may say the idea of Texas Tech getting a seat at the SEC table is nothing more than a pipe dream. But keep in mind the financial benefits for SEC’s main media partner, ESPN, in case the Big 12 dissolves.
Taking over from the SEC’s television partner from 2024-25, ESPN will manage the NCAA’s most powerful conference for ten years. According to the report, this deal will cost ESPN and its parent company ABC about $ 3 billion, which is a huge bill for an entity that has had financial problems recently.
Therefore, the dissolution of the Big 12 would be in ESPN’s best interest. If the league retreats, the purchase that each school would owe to the conference, which will be well north of the combined $ 140 million, would be void. And make no mistake, the money for the purchase would come, in some way or another, from ESPN.
Plus, the money ESPN owes the Big 12 for the rest of its media rights deal was also out of the books. Therefore, finding a way to facilitate the final destruction of the Big 12 may be in ESPN’s best interest and this could work in Tech’s favor.
However, the pessimistic Texas Tech football fan sees this report as a sign that the big conferences are still not including any of the remaining eight Big 12 programs. No doubt this would be disastrous for the Red Raiders.
If that alliance is enough to convince the three conferences that they have the collective strength secure enough that they don’t need to expand, the Red Raiders could be left out of the cold. What’s more, the Big 12 in general might be looking outside.
If a revamped Big 12 ended up being Tech’s best choice, the fact that the conference wasn’t part of that alliance would be potentially devastating for the Red Raiders and the league. It could mean that the conference would not be able to schedule teams from the three conferences involved in the alliance and, more importantly, it would mean that the Big 12 would have almost no voice in how the game of college football changes. This would make the Big 12 no better than a Group of 5 conference, a reality that would have major financial ramifications for its member institutions.
Ultimately, all of this feels like a reactionary move by PAC 12, ACC, and Big 10 to try to prevent the SEC from taking over college football. And somehow, the consequences of these moves will have a major impact on Texas Tech’s football program. But whether this impact will be positive or negative remains a mystery.