Thursday, June 17, 2010

Interesting Take From An Unexpected Source

I don't typically go to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle for cutting edge football analysis, but the internet being a funny thing led me directly there.

The tectonic shifts in the college sports landscape turned out not to be so massive after all. Just a couple of tremors, as it turns out. And here's the truly ironic -- and potentially damaging -- aspect to those who follow and love the MWC. The aftershocks might hurt it the most.

In the span of five days, it certainly looks like the MWC has gone from a position of strength and prosperity to one where its future is now, like the recent weather, cloudy and rainy.

When Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State chose to stay with the Big XII, the first conference to feel the instant flop sweat was the Pac-10. Like the MWC, the Pac-10 was practically gloating late last week after announcing that Colorado had made the jump west.

That was the first step, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said, in what would be the formation of the super power Pac-16. Come on in Texas, Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and A&M, the water's great over here.

It appears, however, that the western superpower found its kryptonite -- money.

The remaining Big XII schools came up with a plan to offer Texas so much money there's no way it could refuse to stay.

Take the majority of the conference's revenue sharing pot? Sure.

Start your own TV network and keep all the money? Why not?

Go ahead, build a bigger gap between the rest of the league when it comes to money. That's OK, we see the light.

What this conference shakeup has proven is who has the most power in the college sports landscape right now -- the Longhorns.

What somehow seems to be overlooked in much of this is that this leaves the WAC moribund from a football perspective. As a D-I conference it is difficult to argue that they are even better than the Sunbelt any more. Sagarin's final ratings for 2009 put the WAC at 65.52 and the Sunbelt at 58.28 but the difference between the two was almost entirely due to Boise State. The few remaining WAC schools with any kind of football credibility - Fresno St. and Nevada - are likely weighing their options carefully now. It's hard to believe that only 11 years ago the WAC had 16 schools.


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