George W. Bush & The Longhorn Network: Austin's Miserable Failures

More people probably watched this LHN interview with NBA players T. J. Ford (C) and Kevin Durant from the mostly vacant stands at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium than on LHN. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

During former President George W. Bush's second term in office, a bunch of Democrats set up a "Google-bomb" to link the terms "miserable failure" to President Bush's official White House biography. Mostly this was in response to the ongoing Iraq war where the "weapons of mass destruction", the official justification for the war, were never found. Yet the war lingered on for years at an immense cost in terms of lives lost and a rapidly growing budget deficit.

Whether or not you agree with that assessment of America's 43rd President, it's clear that another product of Austin now deserves the title of "Miserable Failure."  It's not subject to political whims...even Texas fans hate the fact that their favorite team now has games televised on a network virtually nobody can watch. ESPN and Texas recognize that things aren't going well at the Longhorn Network, and are taking any and every step they can to push the Longhorn Network. Against Big XII policies, ESPN has transferred ABC's rights to the Kansas/Texas game to LHN so that a second game will be on their network. Meanwhile, ESPN and Texas officials continue to try to find ways to get Texas high school games on the network.

All that has led to renewed instability in the Big XII Conference. Texas A&M has already announced their plans to withdraw, and is likely heading towards the SEC. Oklahoma seems to be headed towards the Pac-12, and taking Texas Tech and Oklahoma State along with them. And in the biggest irony, Texas seems to be ready to abandon the albatross that is the Longhorn Network to join the Pac-16 as well.

But wait...isn't that, quite possibly, the answer to salvaging the Big XII? Simply put:  the Longhorn Network is an abject failure for both ESPN and Texas. No cable company is willing to subsidize ESPN's absurd deal with Texas, and the instability that LHN has created makes life difficult for Texas.  So rather than slink off to the Pac-16 as an excuse to cut their ties with ESPN, it's blatantly obvious what the correct answer is.  ESPN and Texas should simply abandon the deal with the Longhorn Network, and shut down the broadcasts immediately.  If ESPN wants to salvage some of their investment in infrastructure, turn around and call Dan Beebe and create a new Big XII Network using the resources already sunk into LHN.

I don't know if the Big XII can be salvaged, but the sooner that Texas and ESPN cut the cord on the Longhorn Network, the better for everyone concerned. A&M hasn't signed onto a new conference, and Oklahoma's decision hasn't been made yet either.  Can the arrogance that is the University of Texas yield to the realization that their creation has been a complete miserable failure and end it before the Big XII is effectively destroyed and everybody (including Texas, I might add) is damaged?

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