*Several people have asked my thoughts about Brett McMurphy’s ESPN report that Memphis “is not among the schools being considered” for Big XII expansion at this point.
(*At least 1 or 2).
Here are a few thoughts:
- My first reaction, like a lot of Memphis fans, is denial. How can this be true? What happened?
- Geoff Calkins has already answered most of those questions over at the CA.
- By the way, if you’re a conspiracy theory type person, you can parse McMurphy’s words and come to the conclusion that the Big XII has already decided to add Memphis. After all, why would the Big XII need to consider Memphis if they’ve already decided to add them? They wouldn’t. I didn’t consider walking my dog this morning. I just walked him. I do that every morning.
- Do I believe that? Absolutely not, but it’s a little odd that the U of M president (David Rudd) wouldn’t confirm that Memphis has been eliminated. I assume Rudd was probably just allowing time for the bitterness and hurt to sink in.
- Back in reality, at least one part of the ESPN report makes no sense. McMurphy wrote:
“Sources told ESPN that offering to accept less revenue might have actually hurt Memphis’ chances. The league, sources said, is more interested in teams that can strengthen and add value to the league as opposed to schools that need to be ‘propped up’ by the league.”
How does having a ton of money available from boosters translate to the need to be ‘propped up’ by the league? It doesn’t. This is a shot taken at Memphis by McMurphy’s anonymous source and alludes to the perception problems that come from stories alleging that FedEx was going to pay off the Big XII to Memphis.
- Similar PR damage was done many years ago when Memphis based writer Gary Parrish of CBS Sports wrote that Memphis was using FedEx to buy its way into the BIG EAST, though eventually that effort paid off when Memphis was accepted into that league.
- Speaking of the BIG EAST, remember when UCF, SMU, Houston, Boise State and SDSU were all announced / added and Memphis was left behind? I do. It was a gut punch, a lot like the one Memphis took last week.
- The lesson: be patient. Whatever 8, 9, or 10 schools eventually get left behind in the AAC will be fine for a few years. They’ll still be on ESPN all the time, and they’ll still have access to the CFB playoff and access bowl. There may even be expansion (Boise? SDSU? Western wing?) that makes the AAC the undisputed 6th best league.
- Lack of TV money will hurt, but the whole TV and conference landscape could and probably will change more in the next 5-10 years than it did in the last 50. By the time 2025 rolls around, the AAC could have a deal with ESPN, and a deal with Netflix or Twitter. Nobody knows what things are going to look like.
- One thing is for sure with decentralization (cord cutting) of programming – the days of Iowa State making the same Tier 1 money as Texas and Oklahoma, appear to be numbered.
- My point: the Big XII is about as stable as the BIG EAST was when Memphis was trying to get on board there. Not very. This is crushing news in the short term, but long term it’s not the death blow some people will make it out to be.