Oliver Luck May Be Replacing DeLoss Dodds As Texas Athletic Director

Bob Levey

At face value I will admit that this has very little to do with the Bearcats, and as such is a weird topic for discussion on a Bearcat centric site such as this one. But this could wind up having an impact on the Bearcats, possibly.

This could matter for the Bearcats in two ways.

First is conference expansion. The working theory at the moment goes that the only power conference that could need to expand at any point in the near future is the Big 12. However, because Deloss Dodds and Texas did not want to expand there was/is no expansion. Oliver Luck occupying Dodds seat could change the calculus.

As you would expect the rumors are flying indiscriminately out of the great state of West Virginia. If you choose to believe them the narrative for expansion goes something like this. The Big 12's television partners are unhappy with the Big 12's current media footprint, and they want to see new and bigger markets added to said footprint, preferably in the east. And they, Fox Sports in particular, want more inventory. After all there is only so much inventory that a 10 team conference can provide. There are 112 SEC football games every season, if the SEC goes to a nine game conference schedule that number jumps to 126. Compare that to the Big 12 which has 90 games a season. In theory expansion solves both problems, it gives them more inventory, and potentially a lucrative conference championship game. It will also get them into new media markets, if they choose wisely.

Thats the working theory behind Big 12 expansion, and the rumors that go with it. Cincinnati is generally thought to be one of the next schools up to head west, provided the last ditch efforts of the Big 12 to lure someone like Clemson or Florida State run afoul of the ACC Grant of Rights, and they probably would. But that is still a long ways off. There are a ton of things that have to happen between now and the BIg 12 moving towards expansion, and there is no guarantee that Oliver Luck will actually wind up in Austin.

If Oliver Luck does take that Texas job I would be far more worried about losing Whit Babcock to West Virginia. I don't know if Whit would be at the top of the list in Morgantown, but he is probably on it. He has been on the job a little over two years. The Big East blew up basically the day he got the job, and long after UC had any sort of chance to position themselves as an option for poaching conferences. In the intervening time he has extended Mick Cronin's contract, made a huge splash by getting Tommy Tuberville to come to Cincinnati and managed to get an expansion for Nippert Stadium funded and, in December, off and running. The New Nip is the crown jewel of the Bearcats attempts to latch on to one of the last golden parachutes available. Likewise it is the crown jewel of Babcock's resume for any prospective employer, which might just happen to be one of his former employers.

The wheels, they could be turning. Could be.

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