TAMU to SEC: What About UTSA?

Brent Zwerneman, TAMU beat writer for the Express-News and Houston Chronicle has the latest.

Dr Saturday on the latest Aggie to Southeastern Conference with loads of links.

This is ever-changing. As Doc Sat mentioned, this story went from fairy tale, wishful thinking rumor to damn near certainty in less than 72 hours.

Here is the quick and dirty:

A&M’s regents moved up their August 22nd meeting to Monday, the15th. The House of Reps in Texas will meet on Tuesday. Also meeting is the SEC heads over the weekend.

Barring some last minute maneuvering by Dan Beebe, who is known for his last second conference-saving prowess, it is looking like the Aggies will be playing SEC football come Fall 2012.

Like last year, that means a chain reaction effecting the entire nation begins. The WAC, UTSA portion is what we are concerned about. Houston is being considered,http://blog.mysanantonio.com/aggies/2011/08/aggies-out-uh-in-for-the-big-12/ if only through the strength of a self-recommendation. http://blog.chron.com/cougars/2010/06/letter-from-houston-area-lawmakers-to-big-12-officials/

That isn’t to say they are a good fit. Dave Ubben thinks it won’t happen.

Dan Beebe has even mentioned that the Big 12 (9) will not be expanding. That is not to be taken as gospel. Dan Beebe is not the most powerful man within the conference, despite holding the title of commissioner. DeLoss Dodds is looking at 20 names:

Local sports talk host Mike Taylor summed that up thusly:

I tend to agree given Dodds’ quote at face value. No doubt they are just being good conference members and doing research for a league-wide meeting *wink*. That said, twenty names is a lot and makes it extremely difficult to gauge the direction of college football.

Credentials for new members are not based solely on wins and losses, but distance, money, television markets and most likely: the Texas Legislature. As Chip Brown learned: The lawmakers in Austin are important enough to require maneuvering by the A&M Board of Regents. There are many in the state legislature that don’t want this to happen and may still make it difficult. Like in 2010, all the Texas schools will undoubtedly seek to make known their desires and stakes in the matter. The two most politically powerful university systems will now square off while strategically powerful backers of Baylor, Tech, Houston and others hold key votes on the matter.

Where does that leave UTSA? Well, there are really an exhausting number of possibilities if that twenty names thing is real. Even if he is bluffing like a jilted boyfriend/girlfriend would by proclaiming “I totally have like, so many other [chicks/guys] that want to date me anyway” , it still is really up in the air.

Looking at the likely scenarios is most prudent.

Guide:
Likelihood: Why they are in the conversation
Relevant stats and info: Reasons, financial and otherwise, for adding or ignoring the rumor.

U of Houston
Likelihood: Mentioned by outgoing A&M as a good replacement.
Relevant stats and info: Seating capacity of 32,000, relatively little support for a city as large as Houston. There are a lot of former Louisianans living in Houston which may split the viewing audience between the Big 12 and SEC. The lone strength of the Houston bid may be mitigated by that one fact.

TCU
Likelihood: The favorite of media types and very obvious
Relevant stats and info: Seating capacity of 47,000 and renewed interest in the program. Despite the good news, TCU only has around 10,000 students enrolled and most detrimental, is located in Big XII country. The Dallas-Fort Worth market is already home to Big XII HQ, has a large Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor alumni base and hosts the annual clash between Texas and OU. There is precious little to be gained from adding TCU other than a tougher schedule and perhaps a slight prestige boost. TCU is not as rich (endowmently speaking) nor nearly as politically powerful as Texas A&M. They also recently committed to the Big East.

UTEP, SMU, Rice
Likelihood: Texas schools so they come up as possibilities.
Relevant stats and info: UTEP is closer California than Dallas. SMU faces the same problems as TCU. Rice faces similar problems to U of H but with a lesser team.

UNT
Likelihood: They are in Texas
Relevant stats and info: New Stadium (Apogee Stadium)! New coach, large enrollment and equally large alumni base. UNT bid suffers poor support (measly endowment) and the location. It is in the DFW area.

UTSA
Likelihood: Texas team!
Relevant stats and info: Nearly the same enrollment as UNT, large stadium, lots of pre-support. Lots of excitement. Big city from which to draw revenue. Problem here is the obvious: it is a new program. Tossing such a fledgling into the grinder that is the Big XII (9) would be program suicide.

Other Rumors:

This is where UTSA factors in. The SEC will likely add a 14th team and some say even all the way up to a mind-boggling 20 teams. The likely candidates (or the ones that are tossed around as possibilities) are Miami, Florida State — has reportedly been in talks for months http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/Florida-State-joins-Texas-A-amp-M-in-the-SEC-rum?urn=ncaaf-wp4902 — Oklahoma and Okie State, Virginia Tech ( said they’d politely decline ). The Pac-12 might be re-interested in the Big 12 south sans Aggieland, too. Likely sticking point? The Longhorn Network.

Don’t forget about the Big Ten (12). They’ve already mentioned they’d like to expand some more. Last year the first (big) mover was Neb/Colorado. They smaller conferences made their moves after*. After A&M makes the switch, the Big East will take a stab at the remaining conference members of the ACC and vice-versa. They’ll also look to pick apart the CUSA.

*I know BYU, Boise, and Utah moved also and when.

My concern is that the WAC will be so picked over and helpless that it fails and/or turns into the Sunbelt. After the Super Conferences funnel take in an even larger portion of the pie how much will be left for the smaller conferences?

Fearless Predictions:

I’ve already started this blog out with a terrible lowball first game attendance prediction. Good news: I’m human. You needn’t fear me. Bad news: I’m still pretty awesome. You probably should fear me.

Here goes:

A&M moves to SEC. SEC makes a run at an ACC team (either Va Tech, Clemson, Fla State or Miami). Depending on how many they poach, ACC starts poaching from CUSA/Sunbelt (East Carolina, Troy, MTSU or one of the FIU/FAU). Sunbelt/WAC either merge remaining teams or some combination of the remaining organize themselves.

The BiG 10 (12) will only look at former Big 12 North teams. Texas goes independent.

There. Nice and general-like to give myself room to say I was right. Like an awesome guy would.

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Most likely this article will be outdated and useless about halfway through Saturday. Check back for more updates and we’ll be most definitely talking about this on the podcast on Tuesday night. You can email questions and suggestions to podcast[at]cokerchronicles.com. Put “podcast” in the subject line so we know it is a question and we don’t miss it.

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