After months of posturing, Texas and Oklahoma have finally reached an exit deal with the Big 12 that allows them to join the SEC after the 2023-24 season. What is your initial reaction to the deal?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - My initial reaction is to laugh at reports that came out six days prior saying that it was basically dead and that Texas and Oklahoma were going to be able to leave early. Would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the offices of the reporters who wrote that initial story.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - We all like to posture, but finally we can get back to spending Black Friday as the Good Lord intended. I think it’s a net positive for the level of competition across several sports (shout out to my lowkey favorites softball and volleyball), while also adding a level of overall legitimacy of athletics on campus, in spite of all of the recent success.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - About damn time. Having to stick around in the Big 12 for two more years is like having to hang out with your weird cousin at the family reunion for an extra day. No thanks.
Cody Daniel (@) - Despite reports, Texas and OU sticking around until ‘25 always felt unlikely, and I’m personally glad they aren’t. And now, I think Texas is jumping into a superior athletic conference with far more passionate and electric fanbases, so I think across the board, Texas games are going to be a lot more enjoyable, regardless of the outcome. And to that end, the sooner the better.
Two noteworthy nuggets from the exit include 1) Texas and Oklahoma won’t have to pay an exit but will forfeit $100 million in revenue and 2) the Horns will now have to travel to Ann Arbor to play the Michigan Wolverines in 2024 - which will be broadcasted on FOX (Texas will host the Wolverines in ‘27 - the opposite of the original schedule for the series). Both seem…worth it?
Daniel - I’d be fine with it if I was calling the shots at Texas or Oklahoma. $100 million is a lot of money in the short term, but they will make that money back and then some in the long term once they get into the SEC. The suits and the fans alike wanted to be out of the Big 12 sooner than later and they achieved that goal by conceding to some necessary evils.
Gerald - I had no clue who was hosting the first game against Michigan, so that literally changes nothing for me. Call me a bad fan, but as long as Texas doesn’t get screwed with the 2024 SEC road trips in that year that literally changes nothing for me. And I would bet dollars to donuts that whatever revenue is being forfeited will be offset by revenue as Texas moves to the SEC.
Cameron - 1) An easy yes because Texas and OU will get that money back quickly through the SEC’s revenue sharing and 2) it was always going to be a tough game whether it was in Austin or Ann Arbor. I’d would imagine Alabama will not be on the docket in 2024 and hopefully neither will Georgia. But CDC and Sark have scheduled these games for a reason and don’t forget the playoff expands to 12 teams in 2024 so a win or loss won’t decide the whole season.
Cody - It’s not my money so I don’t care too much. Texas almost certainly could have afforded the buyout anyway, and whether it was next season or ‘24, Texas was going to Ann Arbor in the future. Moot points as far as I’m concerned.
Instead of joining the SEC in 2025, Sark and the Horns will make the jump to the best conference in football a year early. Talking about the gridiron only, is Texas ready for SEC football?
Daniel - They aren’t as far off as some will make you think they are. I’m not saying they will be competing for trips to Atlanta right out the gate, but they went toe to toe with Nick Saban and Alabama in 2022 despite being at a big disadvantage at the most important position on the field. Their biggest priority needs to be improving the overall talent and depth in the trenches on both sides of the football, as that is what will win games in the SEC. Since arriving in Austin, Bo Davis and Kyle Flood have taken some large numbers at their position groups and I think that has been done in anticipation of the upcoming move.
Gerald - Too early to tell. I think the raw materials are all finally in the right places, but will they develop to the level where they need to be? That vaunted 2022 OL/DL recruiting haul will be in its third year, which is the front end of where you want them to be age and experience-wise, while the influx of high-end skill talent in the most recent cycle will have a year under its belt. If Quinn Ewers does indeed move onto NFL pastures after this year (I have some more doubts than I did this time last year), then the OL development will become even more pivotal with Texas breaking in a new QB in 2024, likely one with a family history in the conference.
Cameron - It doesn’t matter now because they’ll have to be in a year's time. We’ve already seen them go toe-to-toe against some of the best SEC teams in the past few years, but let’s remind everyone that not every game in the SEC will feature Joe Burrow and Bryce Young. When I think of SEC football, I think of the war in the trenches and that’s where Sark has been focusing on in recruiting. I honestly don’t think the win/loss total will exponentially increase or decrease with the jump.
Cody - If you asked me right now, I’d say no. Let’s see how this year goes. I think the roster is transforming to set Texas up quite nicely, and we’ll see how that continues to come into form in ‘23 with Sark set to have his best roster top-to-bottom. But that said, the coaching – particularly Sark’s playcalling – limited Texas at times, so I’m curious about his growth there and whether or not he can be ready for the SEC as a head coach of his own program; not as Alabama’s OC. If he’s not, it doesn’t matter all that much if his roster is.