Just about every sports talk show, every sports internet site, and most newspapers have discussed or written stories about the Pac-10, the Big 10, and the Mountain West Conference expanding.
Can you believe the latest rumor you're hearing or reading about concerning the various conferences’ expansion?
Note: The key word is "rumor."
We've all read that the Pac-10 is on the verge of inviting Utah and Colorado. We've heard that TCU will be invited to join the Big 12. We've even heard that it is imminent that the Big 10 will soon become the Big 16.
Where do these stories come from?
Well, I for one am convinced that most of these stories we're hearing is nothing but nonsense.
Last summer, Larry Scott took over as commissioner of the Pac-10, replacing long time commissioner Tom Hansen. In December, Scott was asked about the Pac-10 expansion possibilities.
"Expansion is something we will take a look at," Scott said.
Let's look at that quote carefully. Scott said the Pac-10 would "take a look at" conference expansion, right?
But this is nothing new—he said the same thing in July before Pac-10 media day.
The Pac-10 Conference schools and administrators have resisted expansion in the past and all indications are they are still very entrenched with the status quo.
"There's a pretty high hurdle for us, academically, athletically, geographically," Scott said. "We're hard-pressed to really see how you improve upon the structure of the Pac-10 as it is with five sets of natural rivals in four states."
Does that sound like expansion of the Pac-10 is imminent?
Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany said last summer that expansion is not on the table for the conference.
"The issue has come up with our football coaches a couple times -- with the extra week and if we did expand, would we be more competitive?" Delany said. "I would say in some years they might be right. But has it enhanced the competitiveness of the ACC in football?
"But the point of it is, [expansion is] a very big issue, it's a fundamental issue and it's a back-burner issue right now," said Delany.
Does that sound like the Big 10 is on the verge of expansion?
Back in 2007, many were talking about the MWC expansion. Which schools made sense to invite to join the MWC?
Would it be one invitation to make the Mountain West a 10 team conference, or would they invite three teams to make a total of 12?
All of those "experts" who were supposedly "in the know" about MWC expansion said that the invitations wouldn't be going out until 2009.
Gee, it's 2010 and nothing has happened!
The only conference expansion that appears to make a lot of sense is in the MWC. Boise State would clearly add some clout with the BCS and the MWC quest for an automatic qualifier status.
Not so fast with the BSU addition to the MWC. In December, MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson said the MWC was "on track to earn automatic qualifier status with the BCS by 2012."
That's without Boise State.
"We feel we're leading at halftime," Thompson said. "...We've got to do it for two more years. We've had the two best years in Mountain West history the last two seasons."
Does that sound like the MWC thinks it needs to expand to accomplish their goal of receiving AQ status from the BCS?
In fact, it sounds like the MWC is confident they can reach the AQ goal with no expansion at all.
Not one single conference has actually stated that expansion is imminent. All the stories you read or hear today are nothing but pure speculation.
So I guess we should all take a deep breath and relax a bit.
When you hear the latest conference expansion rumor keep in mind that it's not breaking news.
It's more than likely "breaking speculation."