<Bama Hawkeye - Bumped from the fan posts for showing that everything old is new again.>
Back in the early 1990's, the Southwest Conference was disintegrating due to years of greed, infighting, the Death Penalty imposed on SMU, and the loss of a long standing conference member. With Arkansas jumping to the SEC, the Texas schools needed a new conference to call home, and the Big 8 needed to expand their footprint into more homes to compete with the recently expanded Big 10 (Penn State) and SEC (Arkansas and South Carolina).
Fast forward to today. The Big XII is on the verge of disintegrating due to greed, infighting, the loss of TWO members, but no death penalty (although NCAA sanctions do come in to play, and I'll explain in a bit). To me, there are a lot of similarities to this merger and the Big 8/SWC, and a 16 team Pac-10 with a Texas-centric merger could have disatrous effects on the Pac-10.Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott has been given a lot of kudos for opening the door for for Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and posssibly Texas A&M (although it looks like they might be going to the SEC). Colorado has already joined the fold. However, I think that Commissioner Scott has a rattlesnake by the tail, and if he's not careful, it will turn and bite him. Let's look at a logical divisional breakdown, and one that has been mentioned in just about every article I've read about it.
Pacific Division (Original Pac 8 Teams):
California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Washington and Washington State
Marky Mark DIvision (New Kids on the Block):
Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Texas A&M (or other)
When the Big XII formed, there was an 'anchor', or power team in the North, Nebraska, and an anchor/power team in the South, Oklahoma (Texas had been lost in the wilderness for a few years, kind of like Michigan is now, heh heh...sorry). The Big XII made two mistakes with this--not counting on one of the anchor teams to falter, and separating Nebraska-Oklahoma with no provision made for a yearly meeting. When Nebraska faltered under Frank Solich and then Bill Callahan, it was easy for the competitive balance to switch to the south region, with the administrative power soon to follow. An uneasy alliance soon became untenable once the Big 8 saw that power had shifted from their traditional seat of power to Dallas, and what everyone thought was a great idea at the time is now on the verge of imploding. Like the Obama presidency (I keed, I keed).
I see a lot of similarities with the Pac-16 merger. Let's face it, when you have power teams like Texas and Oklahoma, with not a lot of counter-balance, you don't have expansion, you have a merger.
But Ted, you say, USC counters Texas. Yeah, until Thursday, when the NCAA went all Michael Corleone on USC. A two year bowl ban was no big deal, but losing 30 scholarships is HUGE. It will adversely affect USC, and when combined with the underwhelming presence that is Lane Kiffin and the possible no-penalty one year sit out transfer of juniors and seniors, it will take USC several years to get back to parity with Texas and Oklahoma.
Two questions beg in all of this: Can someone fill the on-field USC void? UCLA? Cal? If so, for how long? Even if there is a team that assumes USC's power mantle, even temporarily, can they avoid the in-fighting and distrust that eventually shifted power out of the traditional geographic region that killed the Big XII? With a team that has the clout Texas does, it's only a matter of time before they start to flex their muscle and try to start dictating how things should be, if an opportunity presents itself.
Long term, I don't see this ending well. This will not destroy the Pac-16, because unlike the Big XII, they were an established conference with years of tradition before
Cousin Eddie the Texas family moved in, and it won't be one of the Pac-10 teams that will be leaving the conference, so it will be relatively easy to go back to 10 or 12 teams.
The Pac-10 splits revenue equally, and I can see a scenario where if Texas isn't getting the revenue they thought (or were promised) with a merger, they might look for greener pastures (get it?--greener for money, pasture because of cows, man, when you got it, you got it, lol) elsewhere. According to the Mercury News, Pac-10 schools get approximately $8 million/yr in revenue, or less than half the Big 10. A 16 team super conference with the population centers of California and Texas, it would undoubtedly go up--a lot, but will it be enough to satiate Texas?
But maybe Larry Scott has a deal set in place that distributes revenues better than Dan Beebe does, and maybe Texas will give up on their idea of a Texas TV Network, and agree to a Pac-10 Network. If he can pull that off, he could very well be able to keep the peace. But Texas enters in to the Pac-10 merger with a Jerry Jones attitude of maximizing their own revenue stream, and a screw everybody else mentality.
Why does anyone think that will change?**
**If by some reason Texas joins the Big Ten, consider it changed, immediately and forever. :)