FAYETTEVILLE — Some love the thought of Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC while others strongly oppose it, but according to two sources the ones against it better prepare to accept it.
The Big 12 released a statement Sunday concerning the Longhorns and Sooners.
But, as noted, a pair of sources indicate both Texas and Oklahoma have one foot out the door and another closely behind. The SEC is headed to becoming even stronger than it was. First, it was Arkansas and South Carolina starting play in the expanded SEC in 1992. That was followed by Texas A&M and Missouri in 2012.
But adding Texas and Oklahoma is the SEC’s biggest double addition yet. Those were the two schools in the Big 12 that were probably the pair they could least afford to lose.
Arkansas head football coach Sam Pittman was asked about the possible expansion by the SEC while at the Media Days on Thursday.
“I’ll be honest with you,” Pittman said. “I really haven’t thought about that much. I’m so nervous about the schedule we have coming up and all that, I haven’t paid much attention about it.
“I will say this: I know we’re going to play Texas this year. We play them September 11th, and we’re very excited for that. I apologize, I really haven’t thought about it much.”
But Pittman has been quoted many times saying Arkansas is exactly where it needs to be as far as conference affiliation. Missouri’s Eliah Drinkwitz also commented on the strong rumors of Texas and OU heading to the SEC.
“I’ve been trying to tell people everybody wants to play in the SEC, man,” Drinkwitz said. “If you can attract a couple of really good schools to come play, that’s great. I immediately called my athletic director and told him that if the commissioner changes and adds two games to our schedule, I think we all understand that Mark Womack is going to put both Texas and OU on Mizzou’s schedule moving forward. So we’re ready for any challenge that is thrown at us.
“No, in all seriousness, control what you can control. That’s all speculative. This is talking season, as a coach once phrased it, and speculative season, and gives you all a lot of things to do. But what we’re worried about is converting third downs and scoring touchdowns. They ain’t on our schedule this year, and if the commissioner decides or our presidents decide that’s what it will be in the future, then hopefully Missouri employs me long enough to see that.”
Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher tried to have a little fun with the suggestion Texas and OU were wanting to join the SEC.
“I bet they would,” Fisher said.
But then became more serious when asked his personal thoughts on it happening?
“I don’t know,” Fisher said. “I’m just worried about A&M, you know what I mean? Listen, we’ve got the greatest league in ball. That’s the choices they make or what they do, I don’t know, but I don’t know how I feel about it. I’m just worried about A&M. I control what I want to control here.”
On Monday according to ESPN, Texas and Oklahoma in a joint statement notified the Big 12 they will not renew the grant of media rights when they expire in 2025. But this doesn’t guarantee the two schools will stay in the Big 12 until 2025. They may choose to just pay the $75-80 million penalty for leaving early. Also there’s plenty of speculation the Big 12 will dissolve before 2025.
My sources indicate the Big 12 is dead if and when OU and Texas leave. As noted earlier, that is the two schools they couldn’t afford to lose.
Some have speculated the two won’t get the required number of votes from SEC presidents and chancellors to allow them to join. But considering the increase in money the SEC would enjoy with the addition of those two don’t bet on them not being allowed to make the jump.
By all accounts this is happening and once this all became known and not in secret negotiations does anyone really think there’s any turning back now for OU or Texas?