Texas has something the Pac-12 wants, and it may be what saves TCU | Opinion

·4 min read

There is so much anger, and hurt, from the coaches to the administrators from the remaining eight Big 12 schools at Texas and Oklahoma that none of these people are going to get over this for a while.

This was Deception 101, and all of these people who consider themselves colleagues and friends feel betrayed.

Expect both Texas and Oklahoma to each pay the Big 12 $80 million, which allow those schools to break their contract with the league. Expect both to be in the SEC by this time next year.

On Thursday night, the Big 12 held a conference call with the eight universities still committed to remaining, and the prevailing topic is why Texas and Oklahoma feel the need to leave.

“I don’t get why they are doing this,” one source said who was on the call.

Threatening a person’s livelihood is no joke, and what Texas and Oklahoma are doing could cause irreparable harm to a lot of people.

People from TCU to West Virginia to Texas Tech are never going to forget this, and while they don’t have the answer they want they all need to figure out what comes next.

The answer may rest out West.

Since winning the Rose Bowl in 2011, TCU’s student enrollment from California has exploded so much that the joke around campus is that TCU stands for “Texas California University.”

That does not mean the Pac-12 wants TCU, or any other school from the Big 12’s leftovers.

This is TCU’s prayer, but just because it is that doesn’t mean that the idea isn’t without merit.

The Big 12 could possibly expand, but adding teams from the American Athletic Conference doesn’t add any more value for a potential media rights contract, which is ultimately what this entirely about.

TCU’s hope is that the Pac-12, or maybe even Big 10, want in on the Texas market, and sends an e-vite.

It’s a long shot, but it could happen.

One source indicated TCU, and a few others schools, have already reached out to some Pac-12 people to see if there is any interest.

Of the Power 5 conferences, the Pac-12 has struggled the most in terms of visibility, and competitiveness. The league recently changed leadership and hired George Kliavkoff as its new commissioner to replace the embattled Larry Scott.

This week, Kliavkoff told The Mercury News about potential expansion, “I consider the Pac-12 an exclusive club with a high barrier to entry.

“I love the schools and the teams we have today. We are not actively seeking to poach any teams from any conferences. But we’d be foolish not to listen if schools call us.”

His phone is likely already on fire.

The Pac-12’s media rights contracts with ESPN and Fox expire in 2024, and despite the conference’s lack of success at the top, the league will always remain an in-demand property. It has the biggest college brands in the western half of the United States.

It’s a question of whether the conference is lured by the thought of having a footprint east of Arizona and Colorado, and an exposure into Texas’ coveted central time zone.

Of the Pac-12’s big concerns over the last few years has been the late start times for its games, which its leaders have felt limited the exposure of their programs to those major media markets and population centers on the East Coast. Simply put, 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. kickoff and tip times in are a killer for the crowds back East.

Would adding a TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech or Oklahoma State be worth it for the Pac-12? The league has one private school already, and adding two more feels like a reach.

Every single remaining member of the Big 12 has parts that are appealing, but all come with concerns. That’s why they are where they are.

The Pac-12 has no school with any religious affiliation. Baylor is the biggest Baptist university in the world; TCU was founded by the Disciples of Christ, but the school has distanced its relationship with the church over the last 20 years.

Plus, neither the Big 10 nor the Pac-12 has to expand. Both leagues may be perfectly content where they sit with 14 and 12 members, respectively.

TCU can only hope that when they call one of the leagues, it doesn’t go straight to voice mail.

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