Game Time: College Football Realignment: FINAL PRS Ratings (Sort of)

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The Day After...everything was pretty much the same
As the day began on Monday and rumblings of a last-second, desperation effort to keep the Big 12 together were beginning to gain traction, if the various schools involved had Facebook pages, their relationship statuses would have looked like this:

"University of Texas: In a relationship with the Big 12."

"Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State: Married to the University of Texas."

"Texas A&M: It's complicated."

The Aggies' desire to go try and play at the highest level of competition in college football was eventually quenched, as various mysterious power brokers -- like a SHITLOAD of them -- reportedly worked tirelessly to keep what remained of the traditional conference landscape of college football intact.

According to ESPN.com...

The source said the people involved were business executives, conference commissioners, athletic directors, network executives with ties throughout college athletics, administrators at many levels throughout the NCAA membership and a "fair number of them without a dog in the hunt."

I mean, damn, if I had that many people working on my marriage, I might actually still be married. (Truth be told, a $20 million TV contract would have been enough for me to sign on for another 15 years or so. Somewhere, my ex-wife probably disagrees, but I digress...)

So now Dan Beebe, a guy who was one University of Texas decision away from being the most well known "college sports consultant" on hotjobs.com, is all of sudden the guy who held it all together....for now. I mean, am I the only one who looks at all of the flirting that went on, all of the back room conversations, the Near Miss (and yes, if it was as close as Chip Brown was reporting it to be, then the Pac-16 concept's sudden death gets its own proper noun), and thinks that this whole thing might be built on quicksand, especially if what's being reported about this Big 12 TV deal is true -- that it's based on consultants and network executives expectations and is not signed?

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Is it over, or just Hour 9?

Call me crazy, right now this thing feels like a season of 24 where Jack dismantles a nuclear bomb, kills a few bad guys, and finds out who the mole is -- all events that seemingly resolve storylines -- and yet you look up and it's only Hour #9. Usually at this point, as minute 58 of the episode ticks down, Jack gets a phone call from Tony Almeida or someone who is either Chinese or Middle Eastern warning him that "it's not over yet." And then we get to watch Jack rip ass for another fourteen hours.

That's a little how this feels. For now, I'll assess final Pendergast Realignment Strength (PRS) rankings for all parties involved. Remember, PRS ratings are a totally, completely subjective score (scale of 0 to 100) of how much college football "hand" each entity has at this moment in time when it comes to being enriched/confused/swallowed up by the current college football landscape. So here we go....

SEC -- Was apparently really, really close to finally breaking into the Texas recruiting turf by wooing Texas A&M in as a 13th member, but ultimately the Aggies chose to stay at home. I said all along that the SEC adding anybody would be like the Yankees going out and trading for a high-priced arm -- do they make you better? Sure. Do you need them? Absolutely not. Bonus points for SEC fans that they can make fun of Texas and Texas A&M for being "scared of the SEC." They love doing that. PRS RATING: 99.6

TEXAS --
If this whole process did nothing else, it reinforced Texas' place in the college football universe in business terms. They're every bit the independent that Notre Dame is (and then some) in terms of the clout they bring and the autonomy they have. The difference is that Texas has the burden of a bunch of cousins and relatives that they have to help subsidize -- like I said last week, Texas is Vincent Chase in Entourage. Assessing their situation, they're still a big fish in a familiar pond with smaller fish that they know, and they get their own $5 million per year aquarium! (The aquarium is the future Longhorn TV network, in case you needed an explana-- ...never mind.) PRS RATING: 99.2

NOTRE DAME -- As I watched Texas struggle throughout this process with trying to do the best thing for themselves while simultaneously dragging along all of their relatives and watch all of the different factions forming within and between the conferences, all I could think was "Do all of you see now why Notre Dame values their independence?" Put it this way -- we all have friends who are married right? Some even happily, God bless them. But are any of you super-jealous of your married friends BECAUSE they're married? Conversely, raise your hand if you're married and you're jealous of a LOT of your single friends....yeah...there you go....go ahead, get 'em up....it's cool....now, look at all those hands. THAT'S why Notre Dame isn't giving up their independence. That and money. Next. PRS RATING: 91.2

Quick side bar, Notre Dame-related -- I think it's funny how everyone talks about the Irish having "their own network" (it's actually not "their own," it's called NBC and they program a lot of other shit, but whatever)...and now the deciding factor in Texas keeping the Big 12 together is the Horns' ability to have their own network (like an actual Longhorn Network) and there's no criticism at all. Don't get me wrong, Texas should get everything they can -- this is America, after all -- but I think it's funny that Notre Dame gets frowned upon for "their own network" that's not even theirs, and Texas is lauded for their "forward-thinking approach of getting their own network." Maybe I'm the thin-skinned one, what the hell...

BILL SELF -- From Friday to Monday, Bill Self went from playing rivalry games with BYU in the Mountain West to remaining the most storied, successful program of what is now, top to bottom, the strongest basketball conference in the country. Seven of the ten teams that remain in the Big 12 made the tournament last year. This week's events resulted in an underrated home run for the Big 12 basketball-wise -- they shed two donkeys in Nebraska and Colorado and get back to a true 18-game round-robin schedule. PRS RATING: 86.4

MACK BROWN/BOB STOOPS -- Since its inception, the Big 12 has staged fourteen conference championship games. In eleven of them, one of the participants has had national title game possibilities going into the game; in FIVE of those games, that team lost (and Texas came within one second of losing last year). Coaches like conference titles, but they love national titles. When one gets in the way of the other, that's bad. Mack Brown and Bob Stoops have been vocal about the detrimental FOOTBALL effects (which are separate from the financial gains, of course) the conference title game has. A ten-team league means no conference title game, it would seem. PRS RATING: 84.7



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