New Texas athletics director Steve Patterson has been on the job nearly three months now, which means the honeymoon phase has come to a close and it's time for the idea man to drop some ideas on the table.
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman sat down with the head 'Horn for something of a "State of the Program" address on Tuesday. Among his ideas:
- Expand the Texas brand into untouched but lucrative markets, such as China.
- Grow the department's annual revenue from $170 million to $200 million.
- Expand the Longhorn Network beyond Time Warner, AT&T Uverse, Verizon Fios and a smattering of small providers.
- Find a place to move the Texas basketball program beyond the antiquated Frank Erwin Center.
- Trim the fat on a department that has ballooned to nearly 400 full-time employees.
- Explore the possibility of playing a football game in a foreign locale such as Mexico City.
To be clear, the idea is still very much in the exploratory stage and is far from finalized.
Should the Longhorns go through with it, they'd be far from the first college football team to venture across the border. The NFL staged international preseason games from 1986-2005, including trips by the Dallas Cowboy to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in 1998 and 2001. The League currently stages an annual game in London.
On the college level, Notre Dame and Navy opened the 2012 season in Dublin, Ireland, and Penn State will face Central Florida to open the 2014 slate in Dublin as well. Coca-Cola sponsored a regular season college football game in Tokyo from 1977 to 1993, and Toronto hosted the International Bowl from 2007-10.
Google Maps lists Austin as 935 miles from Mexico City, roughly the same distance away from Ames, Iowa. It seems, then, that Patterson's largest hurdle would be schedule-related. With one neutral site game on the slate annually in Dallas, could Patterson make room on the schedule for another?