I was giving colleague Adam Rittenberg's Big Ten chat a read yesterday, and I came across this comment in response to an Ohio State fan asking for candidates to eventually succeed Buckeye legend Jim Tressel.
"Ohio State is too good of a job not to open up to the outside," Rittenberg said. "So many elite college coaches hail from Ohio, and you'd be surprised at some of the names that would be interested when Tressel moves on. Pelini is certainly one who might be talked about, along with Bob Stoops and maybe even Urban Meyer."
But a few minutes later, Bob Stoops himself (and oh yes, it was absolutely, positively, without a doubt the real, actual, physical Bob Stoops) chimed in to suggest that Oklahoma to Ohio State is a lateral move at best.
While that may be true in terms of football success and prestige, Stoops' biggest rival, Texas, is college sports' most valuable program. No. 2? The Buckeyes.
"Bob, I'd invite you to take a look at Ohio State's athletic budget," Rittenberg wrote. "Your opinion probably will change. Also, at Ohio State, unlike Oklahoma, you can actually make moves independent of what your archrival does. It was comical to me how Oklahoma was willing to follow Texas no matter what, as if it couldn't survive without UT. Imagine Ohio State doing that."
Valid points. Realignment changed the way a lot of schools might be perceived, and one thing we all learned is just how loudly money talks. But like Oklahoma and Texas, Ohio State wouldn't be too excited about parting ways with Michigan. Call it following the money, but Oklahoma was following tradition, too. And Texas wanted Oklahoma and friends there, too. Part of that was making sure they had regional rivals to play with in a theoretical Pac-16, and wouldn't have to jet to the West Coast for every road trip.
But Texas also has a lot of history with Oklahoma and the other three Big 12 schools in Texas. The Longhorns and Sooners were more attached at the hip, rather than the Sooners following. With the cash, Texas was obviously the big prize in this summer's conference realignment. But without schools like Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor that cash might not be as plentiful.