Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Latest On Expansion

Between USC getting hammered by the NCAA and all of this expansion and conference realignment, college football has never been so prominent in the month of June.

Rumors on expansion have been running rampant, and it has been tough to sift through everything.  But I tried my best.  Here is what we've got.

- Nebraska is leaving the Big-12 and joining the Big-10, effective for the 2011 season.
- Colorado is also leaving the Big-12 and is joining the PAC-10, tentatively effective for the 2012 season

The PAC-10 is also trying to court Big-12 South members Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M.  That would give the PAC-10 a total of 16 teams.  They would reportedly form two divisions.  One would consist of those five teams along with Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State.  The other division would consist of USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State.

However, Texas A&M and the SEC may be throwing a wrench into those plans.  Texas A&M prefers the SEC over the PAC-10, and the SEC seems open to taking them.

Meanwhile, the Big-12 conference commissioner is doing everything he can to keep the remaining 10 members of his conference in tact.  However with a conference needing 12 members in order to hold a conference championship game, it does not appear that this option is financially tenable when compared to the option of leaving for another conference.   However, the commissioner is doing all he can to sell this angle.

Suddenly, Texas A&M and the SEC hold all the cards.  Even if the remaining schools in the Big-12 want to stay put, Texas A&M's decision could dictate what happens.  If they pull the trigger and decide to bolt for the SEC, then the others would certainly take off to the PAC-10.

Oklahoma is the source of many rumors as well.  They also appear to be considering the SEC in place of the PAC-10, and it has been reported that the SEC is pursuing them.  

What about the Big-10?   After all, they started this whole thing.  They added Nebraska last week to give them 12 teams.  They now have enough to host a conference championship game.  Are they going to stop at 12 though?   Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, UCONN, Missouri, and Maryland continue to be rumored additions to the conference.

The SEC and Big-10 could have a bit of a standoff.  Aside from Texas A&M and Oklahoma, the SEC may be looking to expand further, possibly to 16 teams.  If they do, they'll almost certainly be looking east in efforts to expand their television empire.  Teams like Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Miami will be rumored additions.  However, the SEC does not want to openly raid the ACC or Big East.  But if the Big-10 strikes first and the ACC or Big East is in shambles, the SEC will have no problem adding teams at that point.

Mostly what we have is a lot of rumors and an unsettled situation.  But expect a lot more to come this week.  The biggest thing to watch is what the Big-12 South schools, especially Texas A&M, decide to do.


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