I'd be worried that in the rare years we play Kansas in football a victory wouldn't be worth anything (and a loss would be crushing). On the basketball side I'd be worried that joining the Big 10 would actually raise their already extremely high profile and it would become a match-up we might lose more often than win. While the Big 12 offers to easiest path for expansion, none of the remaining teams offer enough to move the dial. It would be a move that screams of desperation and wouldn't even come close to countering the SEC moves.
I'm in the camp of either:
(1) Do nothing (don't expand that is - there are some vindictive options that I think are justified)
- Make sure the CFP doesn't expand from the current format of 4 teams. We aren't getting in unless we win the Big 10 anyway. If the remaining Power 5 conferences collectively keep the CFP limited, it will pour an Olympic sized swimming pool of cold water on both ESPN and the SEC.
- To add maximum pain, convince the Big 12 to let OU and UT out of their Big 12 obligation immediately. I have a sense the extra TV games resulting from a 12 team field was a major element of ESPN's push for SEC expansion, as an important additional source of revenue to cover financial expectations of this coup. The Longhorn Network is owned by an ESPN subsidiary, it's a money pit, and parent network is on the hook until 2031. They currently owe Texas $160M in differed payments. I'm starting to believe a secondary element of ESPN's push to bring Texas to the SEC is the opportunity to buyout the Longhorn Network as part of renegotiating the 2025 CFP contract (assuming they can hold on to it).
- No matter how good the SEC becomes, they aren't getting more than two teams in, and it's far from a given they can even get a second team in consistently. To get a second SEC team in, at least two Power 5 conferences have to be down enough that the conference champion is not worthy of a playoff spot AND there has to be a clearly deserving 1 loss team behind the SEC winner. This was a significant hurdle before adding a Top 10 and a Top 20 program to the schedule of their second place hopefuls. They've just made the road a lot harder for the old members.
- Where will the money come from to help cover the conference shares for UT and OU? Watch the discontent blossom as the remaining 4 years on ESPN's exclusive CFP rights aren't enhanced 1 penny. Watch the SEC scramble to figure out where the revenue will come from to cover two more programs without reducing the pie of the other 14 programs. The only way the SEC wouldn't be negatively impacted is if ESPN takes on an even larger financial burden by making them whole, years ahead of the potential financial benefits.
(2) Merge with the suitable programs in the PAC 12 for the start of next season. It's looking more like an inevitability that we're eventually moving towards a league structure that resembles the NFL. The Big 10 can get ahead of it and lock up a good chunk of the best remaining programs. Above all, block the SEC from an opportunity to be a coast-to-coast conference.
My preference is for #1 with a premeditated attempt to make this situation as painful as possible for the instigators of this fiasco. Any form of deterrent to additional SEC moves would be a good thing.