Texan Overtime Ep 01: The SEC Awaits

Jacob Campos, Evan Vieth, and Molly Jo Tilton

In the first episode of Overtime for the semester, new hosts Jacob Campos, audio producer, and Evan Vieth, Texan Baseball Reporter, chat about UT’s early move to the SEC and what this will mean for many of the teams across campus. They dive into their thoughts on Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball and Football’s impact post-move as well the possibility of new playoff schedules and division breakdowns. Join us next week to hear more from JC and Evan about the various sports across campus.

Reported and produced by Jacob Campos and Evan Vieth. Editing support from Molly-Jo Tilton. Music provided by Blue Dot Sessions. The full transcript can be found below:


*Upbeat music*

Jacob Campos: And welcome, welcome, welcome back to Texan Overtime presented by the Daily Texan Audio Department. I am Jacob Campos, and sitting on my left hand side is none other than the one and only Mr. Evan Vieth.

*Upbeat music and “Texas Fight”*

Evan: Hi, my name is Evan. I also am one of the baseball beat reporters for the Daily Texan, and I’m a sophomore journalism major and sports media minor. 

JC: Hi, and once again, I’m Jacob Campos. I go by JC. I am a junior here at the University of Texas, a radio, television, film major. I am a longtime Longhorn fan and I’m excited to be reporting on our sports for this semester in the digital form.

Evan: And speaking of that, for this first episode, what we’re mainly gonna be keying in on is Texas and Oklahoma’s moved to the S.E.C, which Longhorn fans have been waiting for since July of 2021 when it was first announced. So now Texas and Oklahoma will officially be moving to the S.E.C in 2024 in the summer of 2024.

The original plan was for the move to happen in the summer of 2025. Discussions happened and it’s looking like it’s gonna happen earlier, it’s now official. What the main, you know, agreement that had to happen between the Big 12 and the S.E.C. was a $100 million between Oklahoma and Texas will be given to the eight Big 12 legacy schools that are coming out of this deal a little bit worse because of their loss of revenue. So teams like Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, they’re gonna be getting a bit of money from losing revenue of the big teams, Texas and Oklahoma, leaving to the S.E.C., which is the main reason why now that it’s being moved up to 2024, which is a good compromise for it seems like the Big 12, seems like for Texas and OU, and one of the main things that JC will explain a little bit is also the TV deals coming with it. 

JC: Right, so, the reason that there was so much pushback going on was because of these TV deals, and that’s because in 2024, ESPN is set to overtake exclusive rights of the S.E.C., which in turn hurts Fox because they would be missing out on a whole bunch of UT and OU Games.

And that has proven over the past few years to be some of the more profitable games for Fox – it is some of their bigger games. So, they were kind of a little bit upset about losing that money. Now an agreement was made between the two, and while it is unclear, reports are saying that Fox is set to receive additional compensation or inventory.

Now this inventory we have now figured out is going to involve non-conference games. This inventory trade will include the OU and Texas games, but more specifically, it’s gonna be Texas games against Michigan and Ohio State. Michigan and Ohio State, to kind of make this a little bit more simpler, play in the Big 10. Fox owns all the Big 10 deals.

So, what was set to happen was that Michigan would be coming to DKR in 2024 and then Texas will be going to Ann Arbor in 2027 and that has now flipped. Texas will now be going in their first year in the SEC to Michigan 2024. That way Fox can profit off of those games ’cause that is now gonna be underneath the Big 10 games.

That’ll be a Fox game. Good for them. And then DKR in 2027, that’ll be the S.E.C./ESPN game. That’ll be an ESPN game more than likely. So both kind of teams came to an agreement and a deal, and it’s just overall a really big thing. 2024 is huge for the season, and we’ll let Evan talk more on that in just one minute.

Evan: Yeah. So, in 2024, not only is the S.E.C. being bulked up with two, in theory, good teams to come in, but the college football playoff will also be expanding to 12 teams, which is something that many fans have been asking for for a while. We’ll make it more competitive in theory, and also a better chance for schools like Texas and Oklahoma to qualify.

The Big 10, speaking of them, are also adding USC and UCLA from the Pac-12, which 2024 is kind of gonna be the start of the major conferences, S.E.C. and Big 10 really dominating college football. ESPN also is becoming the sole broadcaster for S.E.C. and Texas and Oklahoma likely will not receive the full amount of money from the ESPN TV deal that was distributed to the other S.E.C. schools in 2024, just because they’re coming in a little bit earlier than expected.

JC: Yeah. So for me, one thing that’s just crazy is according to that Sports Illustrated report, that ESPN TV deal is expected to basically give out each year, or not give out, but to, to divide upwards of $70 million to each school in the SEC conference each year. Mm-hmm. $70 million, Texas and OU are only gonna be giving up $50 million to make that move to be paid over the course of two years.

So, you gotta love this if you’re Texas. That’s such an exciting move. Now remember that a hundred million that we talked about, the majority is going to the eight legacy Big 12 schools, but I believe is set that like an additional amount. We’ll be going to those new four schools that are coming in, which is gonna be BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston. 

Evan: Yeah, definitely. 

JC: Now, along with that, the other thing that I was talking about in 2024 is once that S.E.C. move is official, there are a lot of people gunning to move to a divisionalist, nine game conference schedule for the S.E.C. That basically just means S.E.C. will be adding one extra league game each year, and we will now go into the system where there is three permanent schools. So like for Texas for example, there’ll be three permanent schools where they play each year, and then a rotation of six other S.E.C. schools. So you’ll be playing each team in the entire S.E.C. conference twice in a four year period, one away and one home game.

And I kind of wanna talk about that. Just because there has been some speculation – obviously nothing’s solidified yet – but there’s some speculation that that four for Texas would be Texas, OU, A&M and Arkansas. 

Evan: Yeah, and like we said, this is not a confirmed thing at all. The divisions are still intact as far as we know, but a lot of conferences have been clamoring about the con, the division schedule, because some teams are just so far apart from each other nowadays, like USC and UCLA, it might just be better to have little pods of teams.

Like you said, the one that would make most sense for Texas would be OU, A&M and Arkansas. And in my opinion, as a Texas fan, that would be the exact four I’d want. That is OU and A&M are two of our biggest rivals. And Arkansas’s a rivalry that goes back many years and that would be great for baseball, which we’ll get into a little later.

It’ll be great for football. I think Texas could be great at that for basketball. That’s just a great group of teams to go up against. And that would also make the football schedule a lot more fun because three competitive teams every year for Texas, guaranteed. And you’d get a chance to play all the LSU, Georgia, Alabama teams like that twice in a four-year period. 

JC: Yeah. And I mean, while it will make it a lot more fun, it’ll also make it a lot more difficult. Yeah. And another thing is it’s gonna make it, now it’s already basically impossible. Well, there’s no chance of getting into the stadium now in a reasonable manner if you, if you are a student, trying to get into that student section.

And with the college football playoffs expanding to 12 teams in 2024, obviously that’s just huge for Texas. Yeah. This now puts you in a good chance that if you can build up this program over the next few years, you will be putting yourself in a good position to be one of those 12 seats in the next, I would say I’d make the argument three years.

We can talk more about that in one second when we kind of examine what this means. But for me, there’s only good benefits happening here. Yeah. One thing I don’t love is that USC and UCLA are going to the Big 10 because now these guys are gonna be flying three hours across the country to play teams at 9:00 AM in the morning now sometimes. 

Evan: Yeah. Some very odd, some very odd timings will be happening for those games for each each coast. 

JC: Right. And you know what, Fox and ESPN stand to gain a lot from that. Definitely. So, there’ll be a lot of good moves happening for them on that end. And with that, we’re gonna kind of go ahead and transition into what this means for future outlooks, for Texas and OU, not only as football, but as a program as a whole.

Evan: Yeah. And as we’ve talked about, Texas just won the Director’s Cup. They’re one of the best programs in the country for all sports. Oklahoma, another great school for that. And we’ve talked a little bit about football. It just means that probably now the playoff has about two teams from the S.E.C. will usually be getting in with a 12-team playoff. We could see as many as four or five teams from the S.E.C. making it, which would stand well for Oklahoma and Texas because Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida are already very strong contenders right now. And then you give them an extra two more spots at a chance to get in…

That’s just great for Texas and OU, who are both trying to rebuild their programs from a bad year last year for Texas, a bad year this year for Oklahoma in two years’ time, these are probably two teams that were gonna be gunning for a spot in that 12-team playoff. 

JC: Oh, absolutely. And you know, yes. A bad down year for OU, but that was their first year with their head coach. We didn’t do much better our first year with our head coach, Steve Sarkisian, but Texas and OU are still in the top 10 consistently every single year in the nation in recruiting. So, moving into the S.E.C., we’re only gonna benefit. We have always competed, I believe, you know, like on the recruiting level with Alabama, A&M, and Georgia.

But now I really feel like there is just gonna be completely equal solid ground for Texas and OU. I think the people that stand to gain the most from this is gonna be Texas and OU. I want to know your opinion, Evan. I really think that this move to the S.E.C. It kind of hurts A&M and it hurts Georgia and Bama just a, not, not a lot because they are established as perennial contenders. But if you’re A&M, you’re not loving this move and you are a little upset because you are gonna, I feel like, long-term, this is gonna hurt you a little bit. 

Evan: Oh, if I’m A&M or Arkansas, if these are the pods that become what happens, I wouldn’t be happy with this move. I mean, A&M was one of the schools that was sort of thinking about blocking this.

But you’re right. When it comes to recruiting in Texas, which is one of the most important, important states to recruit from teams from all over try to poach from Texas. The main teams that are taking from Texas are Alabama and A&M and the recruits that you can think of that you really wanted to come to Texas.

Evan Stewart is the main one from recently that stands out to me. He went to A&M. That’s kinda the big Texas school that got him because of the S.E.C. That’s not the only reason these recruits come to A&M but it’s one of the main factors. And if you have Texas competing at the highest level of football at this time, this will give students who want to come very much an incentive to come and say, ‘Hey, you’re playing against the best teams like Alabama, Georgia, LSU, A&M. You can come here and be an NFL player within three years.’ And that’s really big for Texas. Also big for Oklahoma. To have them completely take over Oklahoma and poach into more of Texas recruits. 

JC: Right. And Texas was very guilty of poaching OU and A&M recruits this last year in just the last off season. So we’re gonna start to get poached too as well, which is, it’s a little bit exciting I personally, I love it. I think this is fantastic. 

Evan: Recruiting will be very fun. 

JC: Recruiting will be so much fun. And we are gonna get back to that idea of Texas and Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day. And you know, hopefully the Red River won’t undergo any changes.

Evan: I doubt.  

JC: I would hope not, 

Evan: I don’t think so. 

JC: I don’t see any reason why ESPN would want to change that, because that’s clearly one of the best games every year. It always draws in a great national audience. I think that Texas just stands a lot to gain from this move. So, by moving in that year early, it just, there’s, there’s only good sides on the benefit for Texas. Obviously, there is gonna be a little bit of a learning curve though. As you make that transition. S.E.C. ball is a little bit more competitive than Big 12 ball. 

Evan: More defense. Definitely. 

JC: Lot more defense and the rosters are a little bit deeper in the S.E.C. So, Evan, you know, 2023 is set to be a good year for Texas football. It’s set to be an up year. What are you thinking post 2023? Those next three years, ’24, ’25, ’26. How are we feeling about Texas? 

Evan: I mean, I definitely agree that 2024 will be that, that tough transition. You’re, you’re gonna be coming up against Alabama who’s starting to rebuild, if you can even call it that, their program. They didn’t make the playoffs, so they’re rebuilding. And that’s just a team that’s perennially the best in the country. Georgia is now looking like they’re gonna be the exact same, and then teams like LSU and Florida are getting right back in the swing of. It’s just gonna be tough this first year, adjusting to the play style, adjusting to the teams.

I don’t think Texas and OU are really gonna sweep through the S.E.C. right when they come in. I think, like you said, 2025 is the year to maybe look out for where you say these players have gotten a year of S.E.C football. The ones who started in the Big 12 as freshmen will now be juniors and will know exactly how the play is. They’ll be ready to develop and that’ll be great for a player like, you know, Arch Manning maybe, or any kind of recruit that’s coming in in 2024/2023 and has to kind of get over that learning curve. So that’s what I would say. I don’t think the first year is gonna be instant success for Texas, but the 12-team playoff does make it easier for that to happen.

JC: Oh, absolutely. And I’m, you know, I’m thinking of ’25-’26, if we can give that 12-team field. And if we don’t get the first round bye, because in this new playoff format, the top four teams do get a first round bye. But those remaining eight teams go head-to-head and those games are on campus. Imagine, you know, 2026, maybe even 2025, a Texas home college football playoff.

Evan: What a game that would be. 

JC: That would be absolutely incredible. 

Evan: DKR would go bonkers. 

JC: It would, DKR would go bonkers. I really think the only people that stand to lose from these big levels are A&M. But also, I think that this is gonna hurt the ACC.

Evan: Or just any, any, any smaller conference now. 

JC: Any Power Five conference that isn’t the Big 10 or the S.E.C.

Evan: Yeah. ACC Pac-12 and Big 12 are definitely hurting revenue wise. Competition wise. Recruiting wise from all of this. 

JC: Oh yeah. I mean, lowkey like hats off to the Big 12 commissioner for making sure you get those four teams in and to make sure that Texas and OU was gonna have to pay just a little bit. Because they knew eventually they were gonna leave, so at least they were able to get some more out of it.

Evan: So yeah, that was well done by them. And they got the four best teams I think you could have picked for football outside of the Power Five. 

JC: Oh, absolutely.

Evan: So, huge props to the Big 12. They’re gonna keep trying to be competitive and they probably will be that third best school for football. We’ve talked a lot about football, I want to talk a little bit about some other sports. Basketball is one in general I definitely wanna talk about because this is probably very, very good for Texas basketball’s chances at becoming a top tier team, but also a lot less competition in theory in the S.E.C. in 2024/25.

JC: I would say in theory, yes. There’s been a lot of really good S.E.C. teams this year. As far as college basketball goes, it is one of the best years we’ve seen in a long time. I believe is now the ninth number one seed this year was upset, when Alabama fell to Tennessee. Yep. There was just a lot going on in college basketball this year.

Alabama has now established itself as a program on the upswing. They’ve got their coach signed to a long-term deal now. Tennessee’s having a great season. 

Evan: Oh yeah. Best defensive team in the country right now. 

JC: And you know Kentucky’s gonna come back. 

Evan: Yeah, they will be back. 

JC: Kentucky’s having a down year, they will be back. Obviously the Big 12, in our opinion and in the opinion of many people in sports, is the deepest conference in college basketball this year. So I, I think you’re right. Texas should be able to go in there and they should be able to make some noise pretty early on. As far as college basketball goes, I don’t expect us to miss a beat.

I don’t expect us to miss a beat, and I would make the argument that it gets a little bit easier because those home environments aren’t as hostile as going to Lubbock or going to Allen Field House to take on the Kansas Jayhawks. 

Evan: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think, I think it’ll be easier to play on the road in the S.E.C., but I will say we talked a little bit how this is gonna increase A&M for probably every sport. A&M’s just gonna be back to the number one or number two rival. In football I think Arkansas is definitely gonna be that other team that we’re gonna like look out for. 

Tennessee in basketball really is gonna be interesting for me – both UT schools. We just recently played them at Tennessee, lost to them this year in basketball. They have our former coach. It seems like kind of a rivalry that’s just bound to happen because they seem like one of the teams along with Kentucky, even Auburn or Florida can kind of come back up, that will be, in theory, competing a lot in the next 10 years, even if this year specifically could be a down year, not for Tennessee specifically. This, this is just gonna make competition lower, lower, because the Big 12 is so deep and every team can beat every team in the Big 12. 

But it should also mean that Texas looks to become more of a powerhouse school that wants to be the number one or number two in their conference every season. And I would be all right with that after a while. It does get a little tiring losing to Baylor in Kansas every year. 

JC: A little bit. Yeah, just, just a little bit. And I’m pretty excited to not have to go back to Lubbock every year. Yeah, yeah. Uh, ’cause they have had our number the last few years winning three of the last four games, so that is exciting.

On the basketball end. I can, I can make the assumption we’re both pretty excited. Yes. 

Evan: Yeah. Yeah. That will, that’ll be exciting for me. On the baseball end, which I’ll obviously as the baseball writer wanna talk about this upcoming weekend is the start of the season for Texas baseball. On the day we’re recording this, there only one day away from playing on Friday, and I’ll be in Arlington for that game, but, that’s three S.E.C. schools that they’ll be playing.

And the S.E.C. has four of the top five teams in the country right now, I believe another two or three more in the top 10. It’s just the best conference for baseball easily. Tennessee. LSU, Vanderbilt, some of the best schools. A&M’s got a really good program this year.  It’s gonna be really, really tough for Texas to sustain their ability as the best team that Big 12 into the S.E.C.

JC: I mean that, that’s, you said it yourself, you said it best there’s there has to be drop off there. The S.E.C. is just such an incredible conference and we’ve struggled against them when we have played them in the NCAA tournament over the past few years. Texas has consistently been, you know, one of those higher seeds as you go into the baseball tournament and into the NCAA tournament through super regionals.

People expect them to make it through super regionals quite often. I don’t know if that’s gonna be the case anymore, because you’re gonna have a very tough conference schedule. So it’s, it’s gonna take a lot and it’s gonna take Texas compiling now a stronger recruiting class. Definitely. But also we would benefit from S.E.C. transfers. So that’ll be interesting to see if we can still get transfers coming into the Texas Baseball program. 

Evan: This, this year in particular, they had many transfers coming from the California schools. Porter Brown came from TCU, but Coach Pierce is gonna have to work really hard in that transfer portal, in my opinion, like you said, because these S.E.C. schools just build better recruiting classes and it’s nothing against Coach Pierce. It’s just hard to outbid a team like LSU for some of the best players in the country, team like Florida for just some of the best players in the country. Baseball probably will take the biggest hit out of every major sport, in my opinion. 

JC: You know, who won’t though? Is the Texas volleyball school. Texas volleyball is actually just gonna be a little bit easier. Unfortunately for us though, once we do leave the Big 12, UCF, Houston and BYU were all top 20 teams. And Florida was the only top S.E.C. powerhouse last year. Texas volleyball, they aren’t, they aren’t losing the stuff. 

Evan: No. It, it’s gonna be about the same as it was in the big 12. You know, TCU was the only competitive team, so in my opinion, that’s about it for what we have to say about these teams. Volleyball is probably still gonna be good, but I think that’s it for us. 

JC: Yeah, I think that will do it for us today. Now as it calls out, just a brief recap. Texas officially 2024 season right after, in the summer we’re going to the S.E.C. Who knows what happens to conference realignment. There’s still a lot of speculation going on about that. Fox and ESPN have come to a TV agreement deal to allow for this move to happen. 

*Upbeat music plays*

College football is changing their play of format in 2024 as well, and USC and UCLA are heading to the Big 10 that summer as well. Gonna be a busy, busy summer. That’s gonna be all for us today and for the Daily Texan. I’m Jacob Campos.

 Evan: And I’m Evan Vieth. 

JC: Have a great evening, y’all. We’ll talk to you next week.

*Music fades*