History is revised once again along with a shout out for the MWC...
A few weeks back, former SEC commissioner Harvey Schiller told the Paul Finebaum radio show that Texas was close to coming on board with the Southeastern Conference 20 years ago during the SEC's last period of expansion.
Now, the man who succeeded him atop the SEC throne tells a much different tale about Texas's interest back then as the Longhorns now look as though they'll be linked with programs further west than east.
Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer on WJOX's "The Roundtable" in Birmingham, Alabama:
"At that point in time, I don't think there was a great deal of interest by Texas. At that time, as you recall, they were in the old Southwest Conference and they were trying to hold that conference together in some form. Of course when Arkansas pulled out and joined the SEC, the Southwest Conference sort of dissolved..."
"It was at that point, they began to have negotiations with the Big 8 and, as a result, you found the merger and the founding of the Big 12. And I think Texas was a primary mover, had a desire to form that conference at that particular time, and so they were more interested in that then they certainly were in joining the SEC at that time."
There should have been follow up questions on this topic but, alas, they went unasked. Anyone's notion that Texas wouldn't join the SEC because of lower academic standards must be forgetting that Texas has been a part of the Big 12 Conference. Check out the most recent rankings of universities according to U.S. News and World Report. Not a perfect metric, but there isn't a measure of a university's academics that is.
The median ranking for the SEC is 108. The median for what was the Big 12 is 92. The top 3 of the SEC could be considered "better" with the Big 12 having no school approaching Vanderbilt's reputation.
The Pac-10 has a formidable starting five, before a continental shelf-like drop to the 2nd five.
Just remember that when Texas bolts to the Pac-10 instead of the SEC, that it had more to do with the hope of comparable TV revenue without the nasty side effect of a bloodbath on the football field.
As USC begins its slide back into the abyss, Texas is poised to rule that roost if it can convince the pointy heads out west to let it keep its own locally negotiated television money.
Out of the Big 12 rubble could come a Mountain West with a higher peak. Kramer's take on the MWC is simple:
"The conference that might emerge out of this is the Mountain West Conference to a degree because if the Pac-10 were to end up with the schools out of the Big 12, you'd find some of those schools left out: the Kansases or Kansas States as I understand it and some of those schools might end up in the Mountain West. And you might find it emerging as a significant conference on the horizon as opposed to where they are today."
Not exactly earth shattering to those in that region who connected those dots long ago, but it now also comes from the mouth of a former power broker sitting on his porch in Alabama. Which shows that the sentiment extends beyond the Mountain West footprint. Which, considering the limitations of that conference's reach because of its television deal, is a good thing for the MWC.