Tudor: Texas, ACC a good fit

Staff WriterSeptember 16, 2011 

Expansion talks include the possibility of Texas joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

FILE AP PHOTO/ERIC GAY

If the ACC attempts to boost its TV revenues by expanding again in the near future, there is no better school to recruit than the University of Texas.

And if the Big 12 loses top schools and dissolves, Texas has excellent reasons to consider the ACC.

Joining the ACC is among several options for Texas if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State leave and the Big 12 collapses, the Austin American Statesman reported Tuesday.

It's not out of the question that the school could stay put and use its clout to reinvent the Big 12 by helping to recruit from Conference USA and maybe the SEC. The Longhorns could go to the Pac-12 or take advantage of a lucrative television network and become an independent, like Notre Dame.

According to the report out of Austin, talks between Texas and the ACC have yet to reach a mature stage. But the overall uncertainty has reportedly led to action by at least one ACC school. The Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday that Florida State has formed an exploratory committee to evaluate its conference options, including a possible move to the SEC.

There are good reasons why the ACC would welcome Texas and why the Longhorns would consider joining the ACC.

What's in it for the ACC:

Attendance: Assuming in-league football schedules remain at the current eight games, four ACC teams would get visits from the Longhorns each season. For those four, the gate take would be a regular windfall.

Television revenue: Although Texas would keep its Longhorn Network ($15 million per year through the 2031-32 school year), the ACC would be able to use the addition of the school as leverage for getting more money from ESPN, which already has a 12-year deal with the league, reportedly worth $1.86 billion.

Bowl loot: The odds are solidly against the ACC landing a second big postseason bowl purse each season with its current lineup, but Texas would change that. At 10-2 - even 9-3 in some seasons - the Longhorns would be a popular choice for the top-dollar games.

Basketball: Not that the folks making decisions care a great deal, but Texas basketball is a long shot better than Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech, the past three ACC annexations.

Buzz: Texas football is always a hot topic. That was even the case last season, when Mack Brown's team finished with the school's first losing season since 1997.

Why Texas might want the ACC:

Image: For all of its missteps of late, the ACC still has a reasonably clean public image and would be an attractive academic partner for Texas.

TV markets: At least in theory, the ACC has direct access to television markets in Boston, Baltimore-D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg and all of north Florida in addition to the Carolinas and Virginia.

Location: If it comes down to a decision between the ACC or the Pac-12 for Texas, the travel distances would essentially be a push. At one extreme, there's a potential flight to Boston but at the other, there's Seattle and Pullman, Wash.

caulton.tudor@newsobserver.com

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