I posted this on Frank the Tank, but they are more interested in conspiracy theories regarding how the Big 10 will get Texas, Texas A&M, USC, and Miami than anything else. There is a report out there that ESPN's conflict of interests between its programming contracts with the Big 12 and the SEC is slowing this down. If they give more money to the SEC to get A&M, that hurts the Big 12. Makes sense from a legal perspective.
However... stepping aside from the "world revolves around only the Big 10 and the SEC" for a moment... the next major issue is the Big East's television rights, which come up in about 1 year. So maybe it is the Big East that is causing this latest problem.
Recall that the Big East turned down ESPN’s generous offer to re-up at a significant price hike. The logic was that the Big East is sitting in a nice position to start a price war with Fox and CBS and ESPN because all three networks need inventory. Even Big East inventory. So, there was no reason for the BE not to hold off until 2012 and start negotiating fresh. Simple economic supply and demand.
So... ESPN could shell out more money to avoid that mess. But they probably figured they were already offering way too much money as it is relative to what they get back. They are already paying Cadillac money for a Ford Escort.
Unless…. uncertainty. If the SEC can get the funds to take Texas A&M, then there is the risk of the SEC getting the funds to take an ACC school. From there, the ACC can take a Big East school. Or West Virginia to the SEC. Or Louisville to the Big 12. And if the Big 10 decides to match the SEC, now the northern Big East football schools are all in play. So, all of the sudden, expansion puts a huge wrench in the Big East's plans. Will it even exist in 2012? Does the promise of future money outweigh the decision to just get a bigger pay day today? If so, well played by ESPN.
So… what does the Big East do? Do they decide that we better take what ESPN is offering because that will give teams a reason to not make the lateral move to the ACC? Or does the Big East wait until 2012 and see if it still has enough teams left and loyal to generate a bigger offer from Fox or CBS.
From ESPN's perspective, paying more for the SEC makes more sense than paying more for the Big East, right?
"Mr. Marinatto...you don't try to bully the bully. Sincerely, the true power brokers in college sports."