All the way back in February, I wrote a post taking a jab at Frank The Tank's theory as to why Texas was in play for the Big 10. And with apologies for quoting myself, it was in the comments of that thread that I actually fleshed out my own argument:
Where, in my view, this line of thought runs off course is in misidentifying the status quo. The status quo is not "the Big XII as we know it," which you’re right, may not last all that much longer. But that’s not the interest Texas is protecting. The Big XII is a means to an end, and its existence is incidental up to and to the extent that it is the chosen structure through which Texas serves that end. That is, the status quo is not the Big XII as it exists today, but rather Texas’ extremely advantageous position, generally, which the Big XII as it exists today merely enables.
The problem with Texas jumping to the Big 10 is that Texas’ goal can’t be reduced to finding a home in which it neatly fits. You only concede your advantages when it’s more profitable for you to do so, and here, Texas’ incentive is to insulate itself from egalitarian relationships. The status quo is for Texas to remain the undisputed king of an extremely (almost unfairly) rich bloc of territory. And it remains in our interest to stay out of — and thereby forego the benefits of — a stronger, superior confederation, when doing so means weakening that base position in the home territory.
You have to look at it from the Texas perspective even more than you already are. When you look around and evaluate your position, we simply aren’t burdened by the costs of being in a weaker association. Conversely, there are real reasons to guard jealously our advantageous position.
So the starting point isn’t "the Big XII as it currently exists" but "Texas' exceptional position as it currently exists." That’s the context to evaluate whether it makes sense for Texas to become a smaller, more equal part of a bigger, more dynamic family.
It might, if the entire sport were headed towards four 16-team super-conferences, be forced to make that hard choice, but unless and until it is, it’s going to serve and protect its entrenched position.
As it should.
The only thing surprising about the ultimate outcome of this round of realignment was the dramatic manner in which it unfolded in public. But the bottom line result? I can't say I find this at all a surprise.
Today we find out the details of the revamped Big 12. This is your 10 a.m. CT press conference open thread, which you can watch broadcast live at the UT athletics site.