They don't "need" the Longhorn Network, and would probably be better off in the long run if they were able to avoid taking it. If it is successful it will just encourage a bunch of schools to start up their own single team network, partner with ESPN, and force it on providers during Disney renewal negotiations.
You're thinking of this in a broad sense, not in a micro sense.
The reason why Texas has a network is because ESPN is paying them 300 million dollars over a 20 year span ($15 million per year).
ESPN is not going to pay any other university anywhere near that kind of money, with the exception of Notre Dame.
The other big universities such as Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Alabama, USC, Stanford, etc. are already in binding agreements with their conference networks.
And yes, Stanford is a big program. They have of the biggest athletic department budgets in the country (Top 5).
They have as many sports teams to fund as any other university in the country. Just look at their athletics site, and you'll see they have almost 40 men's and women's sports to fund.
Therefore, Notre Dame may be the only university within the next 10-20 years that can start a network and partner with ESPN.
ESPN is not going to pay Oklahoma 300 million, or even 100 million. Oklahoma is not Texas in terms of fan demand and TV ratings, etc.
Nebraska even brings in more football revenue per year than Oklahoma does. Look it up if need be. Nebraska is always in the Top 7, and usually in the Top 5 in that category nationally.
As a result, DirecTV shouldn't worry about schools starting up networks. It costs a ton of money to start up a network, and a lot of risk.
ESPN isn't sharing that risk, unless the reward could be high (as they assumed with Texas).
It's the conference networks that DirecTV needs to worry about, not Longhorn Network and their 35 cents per subscriber.
In fact, DirecTV and ESPN have already come to a verbal agreement within the package deal for Longhorn Network, that was one of the first ones done as it is one of the cheapest things in the entire package.
It's the more expensive content from Disney/ESPN that DirecTV is taking more time on in terms of getting the right deal.