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Thursday, February 11, 2010
Should UT consider going to Big Ten?

By Richard Durrett


There is a report in the Lawrence Journal-World that the Big Ten has had "preliminary exchanges" with Texas about joining the conference. Part of the article:

“There have been preliminary exchanges between the Big Ten and Texas,” the source told the Journal-World on Wednesday. “People will deny that, but it’s accurate.”

Travel costs, in terms of money and fatigue, make Texas seem on the surface like a stretch, but TV revenue would more than make up for the fatigue factor.

Getting TV sets in the massive state of Texas tuned to the Big Ten Network would qualify as a home run for the Big Ten.

Texas already receives the most TV money in the Big 12 because of its frequent national network appearances, but the source said Texas still thinks it can get a better deal for itself and is considering forming its own state-wide TV network.

So it's easy to understand the lure from the Big Ten's perspective. But what about Texas? The school already makes the most money in the Big 12, as the article notes. They could maybe make even more. But this also doesn't make sense for plenty of reasons:

* The Big 12 is a top conference. It's not like leaving a lesser conference for one of the big boys.

* Texas has natural rivalries with Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

* While nothing, it seems, can derail the Longhorn recruiting train, kids do want to play teams near them. I know the geographic argument isn't quite as strong now as it was 10 or 20 years ago, but family and friends can attend games closer to home, can't they? Playing Oklahoma, OSU, A&M and Tech has a certain appeal for kids in Texas. Sure, playing Michigan and Penn State would be fun, but it's not the same for a Texas kid, is it?

* It will cost Texas more money to travel the greater distances, too.

There's no doubt that landing Texas would be a huge coup for the Big Ten. But I just can't see Texas leaving the Big 12. Can you?

(But if they do, would TCU be a natural fit for the Big 12?) BTW, here's Adam Rittenberg's take on the Big Ten blog.