Photo courtesy of Patrick Meredith/Texas athletics
Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC has always felt more like a fantasy when talked about.
Many didn’t actually think it would ever happen, but it did. This news has completely turned the college football world upside down, and it has already solidified itself as a potential turning point in this sport’s history.
Many people love it, but many don’t. Here, we take a look at this move from multiple point of views.
Here is the first edition of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
If you are a sucker for some SEC football, this move is good for you. On the surface, it looks like it will be a lot of fun. Just for a second, take out all the off-field and political implications this move will have, and think about the magnitude of what is happening on the gridiron. Many people already consider the SEC the best conference in college football, and for good reason.
Whether it’s winning national championships or the sheer amount of draft picks, there is almost nothing the SEC doesn’t dominate in. You already have bona fide contenders in this league like Alabama, and Georgia. You also have teams like LSU, Florida, Texas A&M, and Auburn. Those are the teams that won’t compete for a national championship every year, but have the ability to make a run any given season.
Now, two of the most iconic brands in college football are headed to the SEC. The biggest winner from this all is… well, the SEC and Commissioners Greg Sankey. There have been rumblings of expansion coming, and the league just made a huge splash.
It doesn’t matter how you look at it. Whether it’s about money, politics, or just the level of play on the field, the SEC just flexed it’s muscles and pulled way out in front of everyone else.
Texas and Oklahoma Growth
Texas and Oklahoma should be immediate beneficiaries as well. Oklahoma could go out and compete for a national championship in the SEC right now. Would it be difficult? Absolutely, but it has the reputation and talent to do it consistently.
Also, if anyone tells you Texas will struggle to win in the SEC, don’t listen to them. This is Texas — one of the most iconic brands in football. Have the Longhorns been winning at the level they should be? No, but they have shown flashes.
That Texas logo alone will bring recruits from all over the country. Now, they are in the SEC, which presents a huge opportunity. For example, let’s take a look at Missouri. After going 8-5 in the Big 12 in 2011, Mizzou decided to move to the SEC. Experts everywhere said it would not and could not win.
Well, Missouri won the SEC East in two of its first three seasons. How was Missouri able to accomplish such a thing? By joining the SEC, it got better at everything and was able to take advantage of its opportunities. Now, imagine that type of growth at a program with the prestige and resources of Texas.
The NCAA’s Reputation
There are a lot of positives, but make no mistake, this is a two-sided sword. This seemingly new trend of forming super conferences might bring the NCAA to its knees. For a lot of people, that isn’t a bad thing.
The NCAA has been making decisions that makes fans and even some programs irate for years, but it has seemed a lot worse in recent years. There are many people that believe the NCAA might be coming to an end and some of the premier programs in college football will form their own governing body. That would be deadly to the NCAA’s reputation, and might result in its demise.
For the NCAA, it’s bad. For average college football fans, you can pick your side.
The Potential Death of the Big 12
Unless the conference can pull something off, the loss of Texas and Oklahoma could kill the Big 12. As said earlier, this is Texas and Oklahoma. It doesn’t matter where you are from, you recognize those colors and you recognize those logos.
From money to on-field success, the Big 12 has been carried by these two programs. Respectively, there is not another team in this conference with the value of Texas and Oklahoma. Since the Longhorns and Sooners decided to jump ship, other programs have been rumored to start following suit.
Conferences across the country are in contact with these teams and actively attempting to poach them away. What could save the Big 12? Could it be adding two more money makers? Or could it be merging with another conference?
But it isn’t looking good for the Big 12.
Group of 5 Football Conferences
Super conferences are coming. All that means for Group of 5 football conferences is that it will be difficult to hold onto their large market teams. With the recent moves from the SEC, other conferences will absolutely have to make corresponding moves when expansion rolls around.
What is the American Athletic Conference going to do when Power 5 conferences approach teams like UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston? What about the Mountain West when somebody wants to come in and take Boise State? Money talks in this game, and if more powerful conferences can poach the big boys from these weaker conferences, it is going to leave them searching for answers.
Big 12 Conference Games
Most people believe Texas and Oklahoma won’t leave until 2025, but it could happen well before then. Regardless, Texas and Oklahoma have at least one more year in the league. Things are going to get ugly — real ugly. The boos from thousands of fans will be deafening when the Longhorns and Sooners visit opposing schools — even more than they already are.
There will be some dirty hits, some rude remarks at press conferences, insults from fans, you name it… and it will probably happen. After all, Texas and Oklahoma leaving is going to potentially kill the conference. Can you be mad at Texas and Oklahoma for leaving? No, but you also can understand why opposing schools will be upset.
Texas A&M and Texas
If you think Texas A&M is going to welcome Texas with open arms, you are wrong. After all, one the reasons Texas A&M joined the SEC was to be the premier program in Texas. So far, that has worked out.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher is finally getting the ball rolling on the field. The Aggies just missed a playoff berth, and being the only SEC school in Texas has done wonders for their recruiting. Since joining the league, Texas A&M has taken huge strides as a program and it is finally starting to show on the field.
Now, here comes Texas. Regardless what you believe, it should be common knowledge that Texas is the premier program in Texas; it isn’t all about wins and losses.
This move makes things a lot more difficult for Texas A&M. All that built-up anger will eventually boil over, and it is going to be fun to watch when it pours out onto the field.
The Big 12 isn’t going down without a fight. The conference came out last week and essentially said that ESPN has been urging members of the conference to leave. In the letter, the Big 12 demanded that ESPN stopped damaging the conference.
Who knows is any of this is true, but if ESPN is actually involved in the downfall of the Big 12, then things are going to get ugly.