COLUMN: Sooners and SEC may have beneficial relationship
Merrill Jones, The Oklahoma Daily
Redshirt senior quarterback Blake Bell tosses three touchdown passes in the second half to rally the Sooners for a 31-28 win against SEC conference rival Ole Miss at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.
The game puts the Sooners one win away from meeting Florida for the SEC title in two weeks at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Seems far-fetched? Not anymore.
In fact, I’m in favor of it. Let’s look at the real picture here. If Missouri and Nebraska take all that Big 10 money and run, who is going to fill that gap and balance the North? If Colorado heads off to the Pac-10, that could make three from the North division and everyone knows that Texas will follow suit if the Big 12 starts to collapse.
Everything depends on how the Big 10 decides to expand and how the shockwave will ripple across the country. The Big 12 knows it is at the heart of all the expansion talk for all the wrong reasons.
As the Big 12 spring meetings opened Wednesday, commissioner Dan Beebe seemed to be almost begging for the conference to stay together.
Football head coach Bob Stoops said recently that OU is an attractive commodity either way to bring in schools for the Big 12 or for a move to another conference. President David Boren thinks the university is going to be in the Big 12 for years to come.
The reality is that the picture looks bleak for the Big 12 unless Missouri and Nebraska turn down millions of dollars to stay in the conference, and the conference is able to lure four high-powered schools of their own.
Who could we possibly get to replace them or add to the conference? TCU? Utah? Boise State? Geographically, there is only one possible addition or replacement.
I’m grasping at nothing and so is the Big 12. Moving us from Texas divisionally would be a disaster and as big of a rivalry as it produces, neither side of the Red River is going to be willing to give up the tradition of Dallas in October.
That only gives us one real option that I think we will have to take if it is offered, and it leads us to a quite lucrative landing spot and potentially a major step for OU; the SEC.
The SEC has nearly $3 billion in television contracts and has considered creating their own network.
The SEC is the most visible BCS conference on TV. Where is the harm in that? Imagine the extra revenue that would come to Norman from out of state, as the passionate fans of the SEC made their maiden voyages to Norman. I don’t see an issue with the additional funding that would be brought in.
Not only that, the likeliest scenario that brings us to the SEC includes Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Adding us to the west division of the SEC and having us meet up with Arkansas, LSU and the two Mississippi schools, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
For the Sooner fan concerned about the travel, have no fear, the furthest trip to the south is actually roughly 50 miles closer than the trip to Boulder and Colorado and equal distance to Ames and Iowa State.
I do think we would have early struggles adjusting to a new brand of athletics in the SEC, but in the end I think it could be the best thing that could come from a Big 12 conference implosion.
Imagine playing the Gators or the LSU Tigers here in Norman on a regular basis, or being able to meet up with Nebraska in a late season out-of-conference game with national championship implications at stake.
Just imagine: After Bell’s third touchdown pass with 2:12 left on the clock, the Sooner Nation begins the familiar “SEC! SEC! SEC! SEC!” chant throughout the stadium in Oxford.