Quandre Diggs subtweeted Mike Gundy, and all of Oklahoma State athletics. Welcome to the offseason.
The actual tweet is embedded below, though a screenshot is included in case the original mysterious disappears.
We can go to whatever conference we want, but them on the other hand… https://t.co/pTMYzvet16
— Quandre Diggs (@qdiggs6) March 22, 2016
CFB Huddle typically shies away from “news” “stories,” rehashing Twitter conversations. SHOTS FIRED! ETHERED! GET YOUR POPCORN READY!
However, former Longhorns and current Detroit Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs’ tweet speaks to a few issues far more interesting than a simple subtweet.
Firstly, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy’s assessment of the Longhorn Network isn’t wrong. LHN was an unmitigated disaster from the outset, ill-conceived in almost every way.
ESPN struggled to get the channel onto distributors, in part because the demand for a single athletic department just doesn’t exist. Keep in mind Notre Dame football only occupies NBC airwaves for 3.5 hours six or seven times a year, not around-the-clock for 365 days.
Were interest in Texas football enough to drive consumer demand, generating enough content from a single athletic department is next-to-impossible. Original content vexes the successful SEC Network, another ESPN property, and it encompasses 14 universities.
When ESPN attempted to leverage its near-monopoly on broadcasting rights by putting a Texas Tech game at Texas State on LHN, TTU athletic brass threatened to cancel the date altogether.
The channel never stood a chance. Texas made it out well, though.
ESPN paid UT a boatload of money and invested $300 million total, but couldn’t recoup losses on 40-cent per subscriber fees. That’s not Texas’ problem, though. It got its money upfront.
Quandre Diggs’ tweet is an interesting allusion to the circumstances that led to the disastrous Longhorn Network.
Longhorn Network was the candy bar at the Target checkout line, the Big 12 was a frustrated parent and Uncle ESPN swooped in to assuage a Texas tantrum.
Threats of departing for the Pac-10 in 2010, amid Nebraska and Colorado’s exits, forced the Big 12 to acquiesce or risk joining the Southwest Conference as a footnote in college football history.
Texas leaving the Big 12 for another conference, whether it be the Pac-12, Big Ten or SEC, never really subsided on the internet. Even if LHN failed, Longhorn sports — and especially Longhorn football — are prizes for any conference.
However, the suggestion that Oklahoma State wouldn’t pique plenty of interest is off-base. Texas A&M, perhaps the most alienated by LHN, found more prosperous opportunity in the SEC.
Oklahoma brass vocalized disapproval of Longhorn Network from the start, and David Boren reiterated his stance just a few weeks ago. With the SEC sitting at an unwieldy 14 teams, make no mistake: It would welcome the established football brand Oklahoma provides, and the sky-high potential of Oklahoma State, to bring its numbers to 16.
That’s just me spit-balling, however. Texas and Oklahoma State still share a conference for the foreseeable, and thus have to play each fall. Every time they meet, the tension builds more and more.
You may remember Charlie Strong’s testament last spring that the 2014 Cowboys “weren’t very good.” That came as part of a painfully long trial against UT after Strong hired away offensive line coach Joe Wickline.
The subsequent meeting last fall was marred by several officiating miscues, which the Big 12 Conference later acknowledged.
Add this latest war of words to the mounting acrimony between the two programs. I guess it’s SHOTS FIRED! after all.