(NOTE: This post was composed a while back, before Steve Patterson was hired as Deloss Dodds's replacement. I have no idea how he answered his interview questions, nor do I have any inside information regarding conference realignment or potential moves. I just thought this was an interesting thought experiment that would likely stir the proverbial pot.)
Let's talk conference realignment because why not? I read somewhere
the other day last week last month a long time ago that one of the first questions the UT BOR ought to ask should have asked potential AD candidates is their opinion on conference realignment, because (and I'm paraphrasing here) "anything is better than the Big 12." I'd like to examine that assertion.
First: Anyone who says the Pac-12 is the best choice is clearly not motivated by the outstanding football. Using cumulative wins from 2000-2011 (the only stat I could find that didn't require me to do math or go back to Google and start over), teams from the Pac-12 and the SEC grade out as follows (from most to fewest wins):
- LSU, Oregon
- Florida, Southern Cal
- Georgia, Utah
- Auburn, Oregon St.
- Tennessee, Cal
- Arkansas, Arizona St.
- Mizzou, UCLA
- S. Carolina, Stanford
- Alabama, Colorado (Alabama is the Colorado of the SEC! That's priceless.)
- aggie, Washington
- Ole Miss, Washinton St.
- Kentucky, Arizona
(Mississippi State and Vandy don't get to participate because the SEC has too many teams.) Now put on your predictive fan emotion cap and go down that list objectively and answer this question: On any given Saturday, which team would you rather watch the Longhorns line up against?
- LSU v. Oregon is a legit toss-up, but I'm awarding LSU the win based on proximity.
- Florida > Southern Cal (pending the
USCFlorida coaching decision).
- Georgia > Utah.
- Auburn > Oregon State.
- Tennessee = Cal, I suppose, although again UT-east has the proximity thing going for it. (I could conceivably favor the Cal matchup here just because of the bad blood they still have because of the infamous MackBrownRoseBowlShaft.)
- Arky > ASU
- Mizzou > UCLA because 66-3.
- Stanford > S. Carolina
- Alabama > Colorado
- aggie > Washington
- Ole Miss > Wazzu
- UK / Arizona who cares
So, if I'm adding those up, let's see, that's ten in favor of the SEC, one clearly in favor of the Pac-12, and one toss-up. If you want to see the best football, you head southeast, not west.
Second: What's that, you say? What about the B1G? Well, let's have a look and add them into the mix, shall we?
- LSU, Oregon, Ohio State
- Florida, Southern Cal, Wiscy
- Georgia, Utah, Nebraska
- Auburn, Oregon St., Michigan
- Tennessee, Cal, Iowa (PSU before wins vacated)
- Arkansas, ASU, Michigan St.
- Mizzou, UCLA, Purdue
- S. Carolina, Stanford, N'Western
- Alabama, Colorado, Rutgers
- aggie, Washington, Minnesota
- Ole Miss, Wazzu, Illinois
- Kentucky, Arizona, Indiana
Their stupid conference name notwithstanding, the B1G offers a few compelling alternatives here.
- I could watch UT v. Ohio State without any sense of opportunity lost with respect to games against LSU and/or Oregon, but here again, LSU likely wins out based on proximity.
- Florida > Southern Cal > Wiscy
- Nebraska > Georgia > Utah because 9-1
- Michigan > Auburn > Oregon St.
- Tennessee = Cal = Iowa, but all are less than PSU when they return
- Arky > ASU / Michigan St.
- Mizzou > UCLA > Purdue
- Stanford > S. Carolina > N'Western
- Alabama > Rutgers > CU
- aggie > Washington > Minnesota
- Ole Miss > Illinois > Wazzu
- Kentucky = Arizona = Indiana
Adding up, that's eight clearly in favor of the SEC, two clearly in favor of the B1G, and one clearly in favor of the Pac-12. Once again, southeast is the direction you're looking for.
Third: Don't talk to me about academic affiliations. The University of Texas is not going to suddenly get all stoopid because they can't get into the cool kids' club with the rest of the B1G schools. (I don't know if the Pac-12 has a similar academic affiliation like the B1G, but the point remains.) We're also not going to suddenly drop all standards because we start hanging with the dregs in the southeast.
There's something to be said for stepping into a new situation and immediately being the smartest kid in the room. (Vandy might adjust it's pocket protector and give us some shit, but I'm confident our stellar combination of brains and brawn will shut them the hell up. Plus I saw on the Godzillatron last week that we apparently invented the warp drive or something, so there's that.)
I am in favor of going where the football is good. Football makes money, and money provides lots of other benefits to the school. We're not geographically located in the southeast, but we're a hell of a lot closer to the southeast than we are to the west coast or the northeast. I hate to follow the aggies in anything, but in this case,
I'd prefer I hope our AD candidates candidate answer answered, "Southeast, comma stupid."