Doubling back to profile our first two SB Nation Conference Re-Draft draft picks ...
School: University of Texas at Austin
Colors: Burnt Orange and White
Mascot: Bevo & Hook'em
Location: Austin, TX
Varsity Sports: 18
Football Stadium: Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium (cap. 100,119)
Basketball Arena: Frank Erwin Center (cap. 16,400)
On to the vitals:
TV Revenue Potential. Texas has its own television network launching next month and has more money than everyone outside of the Ivy League. The number 1 overall choice in the SBN Conference Re-Draft was a no-brainer.
Academics. Texas ranks 45th in the latest USN&WR rankings, making it one of the highest ranked public schools in the country.
Co-eds. See above.
Weather/Desirability of Destination. If you've ever visited Austin, you know that this is one great college town. Other than 100,000s of Longhorns fans descending on campus on Saturdays, Austin is also known for its live music scene, 6th Street and delicious BBQ. Austin is easily one of my favorite road trips for this fictitious conference.
Historic Success. Texas has won 49 National Championships, 39 in NCAA-sanctioned sports. Those titles include four in football (most recent in 2005), 19 swimming & diving titles and six baseball titles, second only to USC's 12.
Finally, to get readers a bit more familiar with the pick, we asked the Barking Carnival dudes six questions on the Texas Longhorns:
Commissioner: Tell us more about your football and basketball program, in 300 words or less (grad school essay style).
Barking Carnival: Longhorn Nation spans the globe, boasting the largest alumni base and more than 50,000 active students and 3,000 faculty. UT's endowment only trails Harvard, with more than $20 billion in assets. Texas football delivers more revenue and gross profit than any program in the country, clearing $65 million on $93 million in receipts in 2009-2010. With 5 national championships, three of the most notable Heisman winners (Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams, and Vince Young); and a commanding all-time series lead against rival Aggies and Sooners, Texas Football has established a brand that few programs can match. With other living icons such as Darrell K. Royal, James Street, Deloss Dodds, and Bevo (#13); the Longhorn roll call is a who's who of college football. Despite all those resources, UT suffered a 35 year drought between football titles until some alien named Vince Young simply refused to refuse to lose to somebody named Matt Al-Einart.
It's tough playing second fiddle in a college football town that has no pro sports teams, but Rick Barnes rescued Texas basketball from decades of mediocrity and turned the Longhorns into a consistent top 10 program over the last decade. They reached the Final Four in 2002 with TJ Ford and a rag tag band of defensive hustlers before running into the Carmelo Anthony / Gerry McNamara high-low buzzsaw. A final four, three elite eights, and five sweet 16's offers a fine resume but with the loaded rosters Barnes has reeled in, early exits have left our unyielding fanbase wanting more hardware. But that's encoded in burnt orange DNA.
Surprisingly to most outsiders, Rick Barnes and Mack Brown aren't even the two best coaches on campus. Not when you're sharing real estate in the Bellmont athletic center with the Zen master, Augie Garrido. College baseball's all-time winningest coach, Augie has won 5 NCAA titles over four decades at Cal State-Fullerton and Texas. The fictional affiliate University of Texas @ Omaha exists because of the table set by Cliff Gustafson and the feast that Augie has delivered.
Commish: What is your school's best non-revenue sport? What is that program's defining moment / crowning achievement?
BC: That other revered coach is a man few outside of Austin have heard of: Eddie Reese. He has led the UT Swimming team for 32 years, bringing home 10 NCAA titles over that span on the backs of Olympians such as Ian Crocker and Brendan Hansen. If you asked which coach in Austin had won an NCAA title in four different decades you would assume think Garrido, but it's Reese. When Mack, Rick, and Augie have all faced their struggles over the years, Eddie Reese is one of the first guys they would go to.
Commish: What excites you most about joining this conference?
BC: Hot tang. Next question. Actually, there are a lot of compelling factors that set the Pack 12 Head and Shoulders (ad deal in the works) above our five conference foes. Namely, dominance in both football and hoops. With UCLA, Duke, Texas, and Wisconsin, you have four of the top 15 hoops programs in the country. Then you have a geographic diversity that circumnavigates the country, bringing in six of the top 15 media markets. Every pick so far ranks among the top 65 academic institutions in the country and all have steered clear of NCAA sanctions so mysteriously beloved by some of our conference brethren. Except for the 1980's when everyone cheated.
Commish: If you are in Austin for a football game, what's the #1 local spot -- bar, restaurant, attraction -- you have to visit before you leave?
BC: The default would be Scholz' bier garten given its central location to tailgating south of the stadium. But if I'm watching a road game I'm heading to Black Sheep Lodge for fried cheese curds, great burgers, hot tattooed waitresses, and an impressive array of craft beers.
Commish: Which conference road trip are you most looking forward to and why?
BC: Washington. I've always wanted to tailgate on the back of Cedric Benson's 80 foot yacht, primarily because you have free reign after he inevitably gets arrested.
Commish: Last one. If you could pick one rap song that captures what this conference is all about, what is it?
BC: Jay Z & UGK's Big Pimpin ... spendin cheese. Third coast, holla.