Alabama Football: Plans of Sooners and Longhorns take CFB on wild ride

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

There are three powerful football forces racing down three college football tracks. One may be close to losing control. Another is evolving in ways difficult to foresee. One more is so powerful it can choose its own path. Unlike many other CFB programs, Alabama Football has no reason for concern.

Most of the current attention is on the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns wanting out of the Big 12. The news surprised many, but multiple reports from college football insiders say the potential move has been discussed for more than six months.

The Texas A&M insiders were apparently not privy to those early discussions. The Aggies are not happy with Texas, Oklahoma and the SEC. When the news went public during SEC Media Days, it was apparently put out by the Aggies, attempting to forestall an imminent decision. Some Alabama football fans may disagree but it is hard to fault the Aggies for their reaction. One reason they came to the SEC was to escape the powerful influence the Texas Longhorns had on the Big 12. No wonder they feel jilted.

The fracas is broader than ill will between the Longhorns and the Aggies. Saturday night Chris Vannini reported there is an attempt to get the state legislature to require any state school to obtain legislative approval to change conferences.

On Saturday, Dennis Dodd reported some discussion has taken place about paying Texas and Oklahoma more to stay in the Big 12.

"Such a structure would grant the Longhorns and Sooners an additional half-share annually (1.5 shares each), bumping their payouts to approximately $56 million per year. The other eight schools would decrease their payouts accordingly."

A more fanciful than serious thought is if the whole thing is about money, aren’t there enough deep-pocket Aggies’ boosters to enhance a ‘stay in the Big 12’ fund for the Horns and the Sooners?

The dominance of Alabama Football drives some of the dissatisfaction

Not the whole thing but almost all the maneuvering is about money. Prestige is a factor. No doubt the Longhorns are also weary from Nick Saban making many Texas boys Alabama football players. A better chance at the future expanded Playoff field is another advantage from joining the SEC. There has to also be frustration. A few seasons back, the Sooners gave the Big 12 a chance to steady itself and become stronger. They have reasons to find the conference lacking.

The big engine of realignment is soaking up the national attention, but two more forces are possibly gaining strength or possibly imploding. The potentially imploding one is the NCAA. Too late to change the momentum, the NCAA is starting to admit what schools and others have long known – it cannot do its job. Once other conferences follow the SEC and four or five Super Conferences are created, the odds are high on a break with the NCAA.

Will whatever new organizing body evolves, will it be better at enforcing rules? It would not take much to be better than the NCAA.

The other powerful force is what comes from NIL and the ability of college athletes (and now pre-college athletes) to get paid. Many claim to know what will happen. Nick Saban says there is an unknown, still to be learned, and that makes the most sense.

If not suddenly, at least quickly, the world of college sports is changing. There is an old adage to explain why the NFL, unlike MLB, does not need minor-league teams. It is the NFL has them – FBS football programs.

But there is nothing minor about the world Alabama Football and many other programs compete in. It is big-time in every way. It is about more than the money. But the money shapes everything.

Next. Why SEC expansion helps the Tide. dark

Stay tuned. None of these changes are going away. How they come together could have massive impact.