Big 12’s New TV Deal Shows Brett Yormark’s Strength

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Third quarter

Yormark hits the mark

Word got out on Sunday that the Big 12 (21) has a media rights agreement with ESPN and Fox, and it results in increased revenue per team over the existing contract. Getting more money despite the loss of flagship members Texas and Oklahoma — and doing it quickly, as uncertainty rocks the college landscape — is a great development for the league. It confirms the confident rhetoric of new commissioner Brett Yormark since taking office in July and refutes some of his critics who have questioned whether a complete college foreigner is what the conference needs.

Among the comments to The Dash when news of Yormark’s hiring broke:

“What’s his name again?” asked a Big 12 sporting director. “Does he know anything about our company?”

“I don’t know that name,” said another Big 12 AD, after a pause. “I guess we’ll do some good gigs?” Just because you don’t know someone doesn’t mean they won’t be a good choice. But now is not the time to do a lot of on-the-job training.

And this from outside the championship: “I would like to be optimistic, but it’s a disaster in the making.”

One of Yormark’s first tasks as commissioner was to navigate the new media rights agreement.

So far, no disaster. Yormark accelerated the timeline for a media rights deal, outpaced the Pac-12 by locking it down, and sent a clear signal that the league is viable for the long term. Yormark has made it clear he’s joining with the overriding goal of filling the league’s coffers with more money (“The Big 12 are open for business,” he memorably said), and he did.

Meanwhile, the process of transitioning away from an Oklahoma-Texas power base continues surprisingly well on the football field. Last year’s Big 12 championship game was a thriller between Baylor and Oklahoma State. This year’s title hunt is, for now, led by undefeated TCU (8-0, 5-0 in the league) and Kansas State (6-2, 4-1 in the league). The depth of the conference is impressive.

So what does this mean for the rest of the Power 5 conference landscape? A number of things:

This should increase both the urgency and the optimism of Commissioner George Kliavkoff and the Pac-12 (22), which loses USC and UCLA in 2024 and was pitted against the Big 12 in a fight for survival. This fight has some merit but also some hyperbole attached. (The commissioners did their part to fan the flames by chirping one after the other.)

While there’s a perception that Yormark’s quick work stems from the Big 12 having more to sell than the Pac-12, the reality is that both leagues should end up cashing in despite the upcoming departure of key members. Media rights fees are rising in the college athletics industry, as evidenced by the massive deal the Big Ten made over the summer and what the Big 12 just agreed to. The Pac-12 is likely to announce a deal (soon) that goes heavily into alternatives to linear TV, which is a trade-off for consumers, but it should help generate enough revenue to keep the league on a steady footing. tied with the Big 12. .

If so, both leagues have a chance to stabilize and survive without raiding each other. Which would be a good thing. Next, we’ll see if one (or both) will dive into the Group of 5 leagues for additional members.

If it happens this way, the only lever that can turn everything upside down remains Our Lady (23). If he can maintain his independence while reaping a significant boost in revenue when his deal with NBC expires after 2024, the earth won’t shake. If that changes, everything goes back to crisis mode.

The conference that should be wary of an increasingly restive membership is the ACC (24). Its 14 football schools are seeing increased revenue across the board as they are still stuck in a contract that doesn’t expire until 2036. If leagues that were presumed to be on life support for the past 15 months suddenly report more money per school than the ACC – and it will be for more than a decade to come – which won’t sit well in places like Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina.

So far, no one has been able to find a way to change the ACC status quo. ESPN has no interest in changing that contract, and the league has no interest in reducing what would be a massive exit fee for any member looking to bail. The league is having a pretty good season of apex football, with Clemson in strong contention for the college football playoffs and North Carolina still in the mix as well, but there are some irritations over the long-range forecast.

As the Power 5’s Lesser 3 jockey for the position, it’s worth remembering that a growing chasm remains between them and the revenue kings, the DRY (25) and Big ten (26). They’re currently leading the way on the court – check out the early CFP standings on Tuesday night for confirmation – and they’ll end up being even further ahead in the bank.

The November games that will shape the playoff race

Realistically, the CFP field has been reduced to 13 teams – the group of Power 5 programs that have one loss or less. This list: Clemson, North Carolina, TCU, Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi.

Here’s how they’ll pull apart further over four memorable weekends over the coming month:

November 5 (27)-It’s a huge day in the SEC, with first place on the line in both divisions. The headliner is in the East: Tennessee (8-0) at Georgia (8-0), a clash of unbeaten who have shown little weakness so far. West has its own compelling matchup in Alabama (7-1) at LSU (6-2), as Brian Kelly tries to beat the King and establish himself in Baton Rouge.

The undercard: Clemson (8-0) at Notre-Dame (5-3), a delicate road test against an unpredictable opponent who does not lack talent.

The potential trap game: UCLA (7–1) at Arizona State (3–5). The Sun Devils have played a little better in recent weeks, winning two of their last three games. Not likely, but it could be a Pac-12 After Dark Special.

November 12 (28)— The headliner: Alabama at Mississippi (8–1). Talk about a tough double for the Crimson Tide – they come out of the annual slugfest with LSU, then travel to Oxford to face a dangerous team that will have open date advantage to rest and prepare. Is the country ready for Lane Kiffin to be the guy to give Ole Miss his first appearance in an SEC Championship game? It could happen.

The undercard: TCU (8–0) at Texas (5–3), North Carolina (7–1) at Wake Forest (6–2), and Illinois (7–1) at Purdue (5–3). Tough road challenges for a trio of aspiring CFPs against some very good opponents.

The potential trap games: Louisville (5–3) at Clemson, Missouri (4–4) at Tennessee, Georgia at Mississippi State (5–3). These three playoff contenders will come out of great games and can’t afford a hangover against tricky opponents. The Cardinals have revolved around their season; the Tigers pushed Georgia hard and just upset South Carolina on the road; and the Bulldogs will try to convince Georgia to submit.

November 19 (29). The headliner: The Pac-12 takes center stage with two matchups, Utah (6-2) at Oregon (7-1) and USC (7-1) at UCLA. The league has cut divisions and will take its top two teams for the conference title game, and all four are in the mix. Three are still in the running to give the Pac-12 its first CFP offering since 2016.

The undercard: Illinois against Michigan (8-0). A game that absolutely no one was talking about before the season is now both a potential playoff eliminator and a preview for the Big Ten title game. This could be smashmouth heaven, with two big running backs hammering defenses that don’t back down.

Potential trap games: Ohio State (8–0) at Maryland (6–2), Georgia at Kentucky (5–3), TCU at Baylor (5–3), Ole Miss at Arkansas (5–3). It wouldn’t be a shock to see one or more Playoff dreams derailed that day on the court of an unranked opponent.

November 26 (30). The headliner: Michigan at Ohio State. It’s just the most impactful game of the regular season. The loser of Tennessee-Georgia probably has a better chance of surviving in the playoff than the loser of this game.

The weekday undercard: On Thanksgiving night, Ole Miss and Mississippi State do their Egg Bowl thing; on Friday, North Carolina State visits North Carolina and UCLA plays in California. The Golden Bears, UCLA’s forlorn partners in the same state education system, would certainly love to ruin the Bruins’ season.

Saturday’s undercard: Notre Dame at USC. Great rivalry game that could raise national championship stakes for the Trojans for the first time since the Pete Carroll era.

Potential trap games: Oregon at Oregon State (6–2); South Carolina (5–3) at Clemson. The Beavers are capable of derailing the Ducks. The Gamecocks would likely need some real BeamerBall development on special teams to end their seven-game losing streak against the Tigers.

MORE DASH: Melee in the big house | Six CFP Q

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