Big Ten Expansion: Who's Staying and Who's Leaving?

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst IMay 11, 2010

Reports are surfacing that the Big Ten has made offers to Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame, and Rutgers to join the conference, with one other school to be offered if the others accept.

It is widely thought that Syracuse, UConn, or Pitt would be the other school invited. Representatives from Nebraska and Mizzou are denying that any offers have been made.

If the reports are true, it could be great news for BYU, since the Big 12 would be losing two teams from the northern division. The Cougars would be high on the list of schools to replace the Huskers and Tigers. If Colorado does leave for the PAC-10 that would be half of the Big 12 North moving on to other conferences.

The monkey wrench in all of this is what Texas and Oklahoma do. If the Big Ten is successful in drawing in Notre Dame then the addition of Texas would create the best conference in the country.

If Texas views the Big 12 as severely weakened by losing multiple programs they may be lured away by the big money available in the Big Ten. Imagine Ohio St, Penn St, Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Texas all in the same league. That’s some serious clout when it comes to TV and bowl contracts.

The SEC would also likely court Texas and Oklahoma along with Miami and Florida St from the ACC . Add those teams to the current SEC and you cement that conference as the best in the land.

If Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Missouri depart the Big 12, then that conference will be blown apart and who knows what would happen then. But if the the Longhorns and Sooners remain in place then they become the lynch pin for an expanded Big 12 Conference.

It’s becoming an intriguing game of cat and mouse as the conferences try to position themselves. Don’t be surprised to see one of the other conferences do something preemptive to try to get out ahead of the Big Ten. Stay tuned, this could get very interesting!