SEC Expansion: Alabama's Nick Saban Insults Texas Longhorns, Current Big 12 Structure

As the Big 12 falls apart, the desperate continue to grasp at straws.

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SEC Expansion: Alabama's Nick Saban Insults Texas Longhorns, Current Big 12 Structure

While Nick Saban did not directly address the Texas Longhorns, the meaning behind some surprising statements made this week aren’t exactly unclear. The head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team took the chance to comment on the addition of Texas A&M to the SEC as well as address the changing landscape of NCAA football. In the process, he presented his feelings on the current state of the Big 12.

In some comments over at the Capstone Report, Saban describes his feelings on the league. "I feel every conference should provide equity and fairness for its league," Saban said. "I think if there is an inequity for the members of the league, then I think the members should have the right to do something else. I don’t know the specifics of the Big 12 and why people are leaving that conference, but that is just my opinion."

The inequity that Saban is undoubtedly referring to is the idea that the Longhorns control the entire Big 12. They have their own television deal versus a Big 12 one and the rest of the league has to bow to the national power and draw of the Longhorns. In other words, every other team is in orbit around the University of Texas in the Big 12 and they have to be okay with it. It’s no surprise to Saban, then, that Texas A&M is leaving.

Even with so many powers in the SEC, the structure there is definitely more balanced than the Big 12 has ever been and Texas A&M should enjoy life in the SEC for that very reason. The kickback for people like Saban is the deeper ties into the rich recruiting soil of Texas that A&M brings along with them. The demise of the Big 12 can only help a conference like the SEC at this point, even if it doesn’t offer up any more teams for their expansion.

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Let's Stay Together: Big 12 Reportedly Hopes To Stay 12-Team Conference After Texas A&M's Exit

The back and forth of the Big 12 drama is reaching soap opera proportions at this stage. First everyone is jumping ship. Then T Boone Pickens is predicting the league will stay together. One minute, Oklahoma is exploring their options, then suddenly a lawsuit is going to keep everyone together. In the latest development to come along, a “high-ranking official” from the Big 12 says the goal is to actually keep the whole thing together and stop the bleeding.

The New York Times reported last night that, "The general feeling right now is we want to do everything that we can to keep the Big 12 together in as close a form as we can to the current configuration," a high-ranking official at a Big 12 university said. "We need stability and a longer-term commitment from the big guys so we can become 12 again down the road."

That’s news to the multiple sources and analysts who have been predicting a quick downfall of one of the NCAA’s power conferences given the Jenga-like foundation the league currently sits upon. If one more piece, even a small one, ends up leaving, then the whole thing could come crashing down. And with everyone in me-first mode, it’s hard to see how everyone will still come together.

Yet if that happens, the Big 12 needs to act fast and get everyone on board, including new potential players like Brigham Young, SMU and Houston. It’s not enough to stop the bleeding, but the Big 12 needs to create some positive momentum as well. They won’t be able to add a program like A&M, but even just running the numbers back up for the sake of competition would help. When a league is limping with 8 or 9 iffy members, it’s an obvious target for the vultures to circle around.

It’s clear that Texas A&M is out at this juncture, and the league might lose several more — collapsing in on itself in the process. But for any purist who wants to see the Big 12 continue to stand, the quotes coming from the Big 12 last night present good news and a dim hope at the very least that the league might stay together.

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Big 12 Breakdown: Kansas, Kansas State Might Be Left Out To Dry By Exit Of Texas A&M, Oklahoma

Until now, the major conferences have consisted of the haves and the have-nots. The SEC has always brought Vanderbilt along for the ride. Northwestern is typically in the bottom of the Big Ten. Conferences have powerhouse legends who recruit the best athletes possible and stay atop the standings year after year. Then they also have the teams that use the accessibility to the powerhouse to recruit their own players. But times are a-changin’ right in front of our eyes.

The current drama surrounding the Big 12 and the movement of Texas A&M to the SEC brings a new picture into focus — one in which the powerhouse title switches to the conferences instead of the individual school. The SEC is now the powerhouse and schools far and wide want to be a part of it. And what it leaves in its wake is a path of have-nots who have no place to go but down since the schools that were once powerhouses have been sucked up into power structures instead.

This leaves schools like Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State in the lurch. The Jayhawks certainly look good with their basketball program, but their football program is a bottom-dweller. Overall, the three schools are among those that ESPN’s Pat Forde called the “undesirables.” And they might be left with no place to go but down.

Certainly the non-power brokers have to be worried at a time like this about their own athletic futures. While KU will continue to be a basketball destination, the other sports are sure to go down. Even Jayhawks basketball may suffer if they jump to a less than desirable conference for their affiliation. The rich will continue to get richer while those without will find their stock falling.

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