June 13, 2010

The Ticket City Locker Room Report

Q: (Mb2cotter) - One of the issues that UT will face after the upcoming season is whether or not Will Muschamp accepts an offer from any SEC schools. If it wasn't obvious before, one of the factors that have become obvious with conference expansion is that every conference in America wants Texas. Texas is everyone's prize and that has been repeated in the media over and over again for weeks now. What impact, if any, do you think this demonstration of UT's status, and its move to the Pac 10, will have on keeping Muschamp here should Georgia/LSU come calling?

A: Honestly, very little. This will be Muschamp's third season in Austin, so he knows what's he's working with the advantages it brings. Typically, coaches don't think like CEO's and that's always going to be the wild-card in this discussion. Only Muschamp knows the answers right now and he has never opened up on the topic, so we're all left to speculate.

Q: (JimsTexas) - Ok if the Aggies go to the SEC, they think in their sick minds it will hurt Texas and it give them the spot light they so desperately seek. Do you feel that the other teams, should we move to the Pac-10 will go along with Texas and blackball playing Aggies. I hate to see the long standing tradition of the series with the Aggies thrown away, but I feel it is the right thing to do. How do you feel about never playing the Aggies again and will they gain more by moving to the SEC than Texas will going to the Pac-10. Thanks

A: There's conflicting information on whether the Longhorns would or wouldn't play the Aggies moving forward. While UT sources tell me that it's a very real threat, I'm hearing A&M officials aren't buying it at all. In fact, I've had several people with A&M connections tell me that they expect the annual series to remain as is and that they believe that heading to the SEC will improve the rivalry.

If you're asking me what I think, yeah, I'd pull the plug on pure principles. If this is their way of giving Texas the middle finger because they can't beat Texas any other way, then the Longhorns need to punish them the only way they truly can - by ignoring them for a while. I'm not talking about a forever-ban, but I'd cancel all activities for the remainder of the decade. If they want rivalries in the SEC, then let them go find rivalries in the SEC. At that point, I'd get on the phone with Notre Dame and see if they would have any interest in an annual series, which I believe they would jump on at almost any price because it would really allow them a presence inside the state in recruiting. That would essentially be another middle finger to A&M because the Irish will battle the Aggies for future recruits more than the Longhorns.

As far as what they might gain, there's a clear upside and some clear danger. It's like a raw athlete from a small high school that has a lot of talent, but a string of other circumstances give him a low ceiling as well. He might be an All-American or he might flame out in a year. They are going from being in the top third of Big 12 revenue producers to the middle-to-bottom third in the SEC and that doesn't change if they suddenly are making the same TV dollars. It is certainly possible that heading to a new conference will create enough excitement within the program that those dynamics could change a little, but they are entering the belly of the beast at a very weak point in their history. They will get abused if start play in 2011 and it might be such a bad beating that their place in the conference will be firm from the get-go.

Q: (TexSaver) - Ketch, all this realignment causes my head to spin. I'm guessing all these changes begin in 2012. That means 2011 is going to be crazy. I know you like to give all the credit to Chip, but we at OB know that you are as much a part of this as Chip, so congratulations to you and the entire OB staff. You guys have been awesome.

No doubt this will cause the 2011 recruits to scratch their heads a bit, and I can't help but think that the one most affected is Aaron Green. Austin Seferian-Jenkins now has even more reason to commit to Texas than he already did. But I can't help but think that this negatively affects our chances now with Jermauria Rasco. Josh Turner, who knows how this affects him?. Malcolm Brown, you would think this would just solidify him to Texas.

Have you or anyone on staff had a chance to talk to any of these recruits in question yet? Have an awesome weekend.

A: I'm not sure that the changing in conference alliances is going to have a huge impact on the current 2011 recruits, at least the wide majority, although I do think the one that it impacts the most is Green. All of a sudden, the Huskers have gone from a school that roots in Texas to one that won't come within a 10-hour drive of playing a game in Texas for a very long time. You have to think that the Huskers, more than any team in this discussion, will be hurt by their move, but it was a trade they were willing to make.

It would be interesting to see what happens with the Aggies if they make a move to the SEC, but my anticipation is that it wouldn't be a game-breaker for 2011 because so much of their class has been decided and so many of the state's top players have made commitments with the Aggies not even in their rear-view mirror. Frankly, they'll probably need to win some games this season and maybe a bowl game if they are going to change what's happened to them over the last decade in recruiting. Mike Sherman is not a good recruiter. That's their biggest problem right now.

Q: (Chote) - Assuming we head to the Pac-10...

When will it be decided what bowl games we should be linked to? Could the Cotton Bowl replace the Fiesta Bowl as the "BCS"-type bowl?

When will it be decided how conference championships are to be organized (Between Texas, Arizona, and California Stadiums there are a lot of options)?

A: So much of this is being decided on the fly. Before those decisions could be made, bids would need to be accepted. If this Pac-16 deal takes place, it's going to take some time before all of the particulars are known. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Q: (Satisfy My Soul) - As I posed in a separate thread, will Texas press for a return trip by the Huskers in 2012 to Austin after they're in the Big10? It seems fairly obvious to me that they are dying to leave so they can get paid, but also so they don't have to come down to Austin in '12.

With a likely move to the PAC 10, is Texas' TV network dead?

A: I'd bet money that the Longhorns show up in Austin this season without making a fuss about the return trip, especially if they head off to a new conference themselves. What if Iowa State says they won't come to Austin for the same reasons? Should Texas do the same to Kansas State just because? I think there will be a lot of angry conversation in the coming months, but the athletic directors in the Big 12 won't go there.

Q: (ptrain37) - Over and Under time for Texas Football 2010(12 questions):

1.) WR John Chiles 5 Receiving TDs
2.) WR Malcolm Williams 5 Receiving TDs
3.) WR Mike Davis 3 TDs
4.) RB Chris Whaley 5 Rushing TDs
5.) DE Sam Acho 8 Sacks
6.) DE Alex Okafor 5 sacks
7.) DE Jackson Jeffcoat and Reggie Wilson 2.5 Sacks a piece
8.) CB Aaron Williams 5 ints.
9.) DT Kheeston Randall 15 TFL
10.) RB Tre' Newton 1,000 Rushing yards
11.) OL Mason Walters is a starter on the OL for 5 games(No injuries-just takes over the starting job)
12.)OL Thomas Ashcraft is a starter on the OL for 2 games(No injuries-just takes over the starting job)

A: 1. Under. I'll Chiles three or four.
2. Over. I think Williams will push for double digits.
3. Over. He'll get a few late ones early and by mid-season, his numbers will spike.
4. Under. He's going to have to prove that he's an impact player.
5. Over. Acho breaks double-digits.
6. Over. Okafor will have a break-out campaign.
7. Under. One might get there, but probably not both.
8. Under. Teams will be afraid to test him.
9. Over. This will be Randall's breakout season as well.
10. Under. Not sure I see a 1,000-yard back on the roster.
11. Under. I have to see him healthy first.
12. Under. He'll be the top reserve.

Q: (Weenhorn) - There's recently been a hint on some threads of a reduction in interest in/from Quincy Russell--any truth to it?

In 2012, what will be Texas' primary position needs from a recruiting standpoint? If we take 25 this year, how many ships do we have?


Is Prospecr High defensive end Mario Edwards (2012) interested in Texas and is he interested in Texas?

A: Here's the deal with Russell - he's just a little different than some recruits and a lot of it has to do with the fact that he plays a lot of AAU basketball, which means that his schedule alone beats to a different drum than most prospects that the Longhorns deal with. Everything I've heard about Russell is that he's very high on Texas (and vice versa), but he's not a fan of the early commitment. In a perfect world, I think he'd like to announce his decision on national television at the US Army game in San Antonio, which would occur in front all of his friends and family. Will it go that far? Maybe, but it's not a reflection of his interest in Texas.

The numbers for the 2012 class remain impossible to project, but it's going to be a much smaller class than the one that the Horns appear headed for in 2011. My best guess is that they might have to work within a 15-18 scholarship range unless there's more attrition because there are only 15 scholarship juniors in the 2011 senior class. A couple of those players could depart after this season, which could help the Longhorns squeeze under the 85-man limit with a 25-man class this year, but it takes away flexibility in 2012.

Finally, Edwards reportedly has an interest in the Longhorns and UT assistant Bobby Kennedy went by Prosper High School this spring, but we need to get an update on him soon.

Q: (Kmclain3) -I realize what A&M decides will affect this, but what do the schedules look like in the pac-16? I didn't realize until yesterday Pac-10 currently plays 9 conference games whereas everyone else plays 8. Does that philosophy stay in place so everyone would play 2 teams from the other division each year? Playing USC only once every 8 years (minus ccg's) seems odd.

How does the Pac-16's TV deal fare long term? I am excited about leaving the big xii but am not partial to any of the rumored scenario's - I see drawbacks to sec, big 10 and Pac-10, but I worry that in pretty short order, were behind the curve again in terms of TV dollars. The reported 20 mill per school gets us about to par with the sec and big 10 under their current agreements - but how much will they make when they expand - $30-$35 million? So what's the point?

Is there a fear in Belmont the Pac-16 puts us in a familiar situation with a dominant south division and sub-par north due to USC's sanctions? Do those sanctions cause us to look harder at big 10 or sec?

Thanks for keeping us all in the loop and congrats on a HUGE week for OB's!

A: I think the scheduling questions are another issue that would likely be ironed out in detail a little later after they finalize the league, but if you're one of the Big 12 schools worried about travel to the Great Northwest, a rotating schedule of two games that rotate in a four-group rotation would ensure each school that they would only have to make one bi trip every other year. The same would be true of the schools from Oregon and Washington.

My expectations of a Pac-10 TV contract are that it would generate significantly more money than the current SEC deal, if for no other reason than Fox Sports' thirst to become a bigger player in college football. I also don't buy for a second that ESPN would sit by on the sidelines for a league with so much TV market pull. My guess is the number starts at 25 million per and they could negotiate the deal to expire when the current SEC deal ends, so that they don't lose future leveraging.

Finally, I think everyone would view a Pac-10 West as a significant upgrade in quality compared to what they've been dealing with in recent years. A division with USC, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon and Washington has a chance to be very salty.

Q: (caldonna) - First, a hearty congratulations to you, Chip, and Jason for a superlative job covering the beginning of the end of the Big XII. Your work was really non-parallel and was most likely the envy of your colleagues.

How far off am I on this (condensed) theory of the collapse: when the conference was first formed 14 years ago, Nebraska was in the middle of its run of winning championships and making bail for its starters and Texas was in a down period. Lord Osborne probably didn't even notice the Longhorns until the first Big 12 Championship game. Now, after fourteen years, one (ONE!!!) conference title and a 1-8 record against the Horns, and a belief that the balance of power has tipped deeply in favor of the South Division, Nebraska has bolted for the "greener" pastures of the Big 10 (although I don't know how much better they'll fare against Michigan, M State, and Ohio State). How far off am I?

Second, schools like Texas and OU will thrive regardless of the conference. Can you predict how will Tech, A&M, (maybe) Baylor, and Okie State fare in the new conference? Better? Worse?

Finally, Kevin, Kerry, or David?

A: I think you nailed a big part of Nebraska's decision. After getting pummeled for a decade-plus, Nebraska ran for cover, but it doing so they've upgraded their lot in life. They might be bitter chickens, but they aren't going to be fried and served at Church's any time soon.

Second, I'm of the opinion that the emergence of a Pac-16 Conference has a chance to be great for Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State because they'll be able to spread their athletic brand beyond the regional fences they've been restricted to all these years. That helps the school in every facet, including recruiting. Baylor is going to be in real trouble if the Big 12 completely dissolves and I couldn't begin to guess where they'd land, but outside of a BCS league is a real possibility.

Finally, I really didn't et into pro wrestling until after David's, so I was always a Kerry guy - first and foremost.

Q: (MaestroHorn) - (1) I don't care what conference the high powered, big money alums of any of the schools care about, I want to know what our current recruits and recruiting targets think about all this.

(2) If Oklahoma follows A&M to the SEC (long shot, I know), are they in effect pulling the ultimate double cross of Texas? To quote the movie In Harm's Way, "Skyhook in Reverse"

(3) Are the University of Texas Academic powers only seeing us aligned with the PAC-10 from an academic prestige point of view (Cal and Stanford) or is this a 100% athletic department profitability issue?

(4) Texas in the PAC 10 makes for an very, very exciting conference in swimming, volleyball, softball, and tennis.

(5) What the hell happened to the "dead period" of college football where nothing happens of interest until August?!?! I feel tension like next week is National Signing Day.

A: 1. Every recruit or parent that I've spoken with in the last 72 hours about the developments in conference realignment have all been very supportive of a move to the Pac-16 and some have even expressed that they'll feel disappointment if the move isn't made. It's early to say that the expressed opinion is a strong consensus, but I haven't heard a single dissenting opinion.

2. Yes, that would be an even bigger double-cross than A&M heading to the SEC, if that is indeed what happens.

3. I can assure that the Longhorn decision makers are taking everything into consideration at this point - athletics, academics and everything in-between. From an academic standpoint, I think Bill Powers would probably be in favor of the move because of the academic prestige of the schools in the conference.

4. Yes, a Pac-16 conference would be a super power in quite a few sports, especially in a lot of the non-revenue sports.

5. The idea of a true dead period has been…well… dead for a while. At least the dead period hasn't been interrupted with cars driving into apartments like last year… knock on wood.

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