1. We got out. Thank goodness we got out.
One of the main national storylines from this week was about Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby presenting data to conference members that suggested that a Big 12 champion would be slightly more likely to make the playoff if the conference expanded to 12 teams again and reinstated a title game. It was based on thousands of simulations and may in fact be correct (so hard to say because of the assumptions you have to make about the Playoff committee). Bowlsby and others in the conference have been hitting the pavement hard, talking about how the conference cannot stand still (which it's really good at doing), how it needs to figure out its TV situation so it doesn't fall way behind other conferences, etc.
Fine. It might make some level of sense for the conference to expand, and it definitely makes some sense to look into a network. But any sort of To Do list for these things includes a line that goes something like "...and then the league needs to convince Texas to turn the LHN into the Big 12 Network." It's like the old "Step 2: ??? Step 3: Profit!" joke. I have yet to see a compelling reason why Texas would be compelled to do such a thing. Texas appears to feel the same.
With a super majority of eight schools needed to vote in favor of expansion from 10 schools, Texas is pressuring TCU and Texas Tech to withhold votes, leaving the conference one vote short of reaching that necessary 75-percent threshold.
The reasoning? There's a supposed reluctance to expand because it could further pressure the Longhorns to give up the Longhorn Network. According to sources, league-wide pressure to fold the LHN into a conference network that went public in the form of comments from the Oklahoma president and Oklahoma State head football Mike Gundy would even result in Texas continuing to earn more money than the rest of the schools.
The Big 12 is offering Texas a bigger share of a Big 12 Network pie to make it happy. A) That's so incredibly sad, and I'm so glad Missouri got out. B) Why would Texas do even that?
"This promises to be an interesting month as the Big 12 prepares for a meeting of athletic directors at the end of May to discuss the conference’s future concerning expansion and a possible television network. I still see no willingness on Texas’ part to fold the Longhorn Network into a Big 12 network, even if the league gives the Longhorns an extra $15 million share to cover its LHN income, because, the Texas source said, "we would get the same money, but lose our branding and having our own channel? Not very compelling. If we get rid of LHN, it will be to change conferences, in my opinion."
For some reason, Texas is supposed to give up LHN out of the goodness of its heart because it's good for the Big 12. Texas knew LHN wasn't good for the Big 12 when it was created, and while the venture has been a financial nightmare for ESPN, it's still been great for Texas. Why would they give that up? Maybe something amazing happens, and they do just that. For the sake of other Big 12 members that I like, I hope that's the case. But I don't see why UT would do that.
2. Nine in a row
MUtigers.com: #14 @MizzouSoftball Makes It Nine In A Row, Defeating South Carolina, 5-2
The Trib: MU softball team stays hot, wins ninth straight
Mizzou is now 38-12, 13-9 in SEC play. The RPI could be in single digits at the end of the weekend. A good SEC Tournament could actually produce a top-8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. I didn't think these things were possible two weeks ago. I figure the best odds are still that Mizzou finishes in the range of a 10-12 seed, but still ... peaking at the right time is a very, very happy thing.
3. Today's schedule:
- 8:24 a.m.: Mizzou tees off in the third round of the NCAA Shoal Creek women's golf regionals. The top 6 advance, and Mizzou was in the hunt for a little while yesterday but faded terribly down the stretch. The Tigers begin the day 15 shots off of sixth.
- 2:00 p.m.: South Carolina at Mizzou Softball
- 4:00 p.m.: Mizzou Baseball at Mississippi State. Tanner Houck pitched a beauty yesterday, but Mizzou still lost its 10th straight away from home.