Will the Big 12 Or Pac-10 Expand to 12?

Schmolik@@Schmolik64Correspondent IIJune 15, 2010

Hello, college football fans!

Recapping what happened so far (if I can):

The Big 12 had meetings a few weekends ago hoping to bring commitment to the conference but things didn't go so well. Rumors were that Nebraska and Missouri were interested in joining the Big 10.

Then there was a reported offer from the Pac-10 to take Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Colorado. This offer (if it was official) had two responses:

  1. There was talk about Texas legislatures demanding that Baylor would be included instead of Colorado.
  2. The Big 12 and/or the schools involved then issued an ultimatum to Nebraska and Missouri to commit to the Big 12 and forget about the Big 10 or they would accept the Pac-10's offer.

The Pac-10 last Thursday then invited Colorado by themselves meaning only five spots were available from the Big 12 South, and Baylor was most likely out of the Pac-10 deal.

Meanwhile, Nebraska and the Big 10 were working on a deal all week and hammered one out on Friday, moving Nebraska to the Big 10 and forming a 12 team conference.

The Pac-10 seemed to be in the making, but Texas A&M (and Oklahoma according to some reports) was also interested in the SEC. It appeared that Texas had no interest in the SEC which threatened Texas and Texas A&M to be in different conferences.

The latest is that Texas re-committed to the Big 12 and most of the major partners (A&M, Oklahoma, Ok St, etc) plan to stay in what currently is a 10 team Big 12 (while the Big 10 has 12, go figure). The Pac-10 is left with 11 teams. This means neither conference can have a football conference championship game.

So now if either the Pac-10 or Big 12 want that football championship, they will have to add one (in the Pac-10) or two (in the Big 12) extra teams.

This brings us to Utah.

Utah has been rumored to be getting an invite to the Pac-10. But now that the Big 12 has 10 spots, maybe the Big 12 can grab Utah and BYU to go up to 12 (rumors are the Pac-10 has no interest in BYU).

If the Big 12 can offer spots to Utah and BYU, would Utah choose the Big 12 with BYU (but no Colorado) or the Pac-10 with Colorado (but no BYU)?

I have a feeling that the Pac-10 will offer Utah a bid shortly but now the ball is in the Big 12's court. It would seem that the Pac-10 makes more sense geographically and the Big 12 was just saved from extinction, but if the Big 12 offers a chance to stay with BYU, would that tip the scales in favor of the Big 12? Colorado's joining the Pac-10 would mean that the closest Big 12 schools to Utah and BYU would be the Kansas schools.

But does the Big 12 want to go back up to 12 or stay at 10? They can't play a conference championship game but they can go back to round robin in football and double round robin in basketball.

In addition, the conference championship game can cost an undefeated team a chance at the BCS title game (as Texas almost lost last year). On the other hand, I would imagine Jerry Jones would have some interest in not allowing the Big 12 championship to be cancelled.

Should Utah accept the Pac-10, then the Big 12 could still invite BYU but would have to find another team to make it a dozen. Do they stay in-state, and invite one of the former SWC schools (maybe the Texas legislature gets involved), or go outside of Texas (not many schools out there - maybe Memphis, Colorado State, New Mexico?)?  BYU and Memphis would be geographically mismatched but does the Big 12 use travel partners like the Pac-10 does?

Now, assuming the Big 12 stays with its proportional revenue sharing, it won't be splitting 12 equal ways instead of 10. So, it may not be as objectionable for Texas and the others to cut two extra slices if the slices aren't necessarily the same as the others.

Should the Big 12 get Utah and BYU, the Pac-10 doesn't really have many remaining good options for #12. Everyone is saying Boise State but academics is an issue there. A wild card could be TCU if the Pac-10 is willing to admit a religious school. If you can't get Texas themselves, at least get someone in Texas (and they are right in Fort Worth in the middle of the DFW market). Maybe Colorado State as a partner to Colorado?

The good news for those against super conferences, assuming the Big 12 and Pac 10 remain separate—there isn't much chance of either conference willing to expand to 16. Without Texas in play, there isn't much chance the SEC will expand either.

The Big 10 could still become a super conference (especially if they are trying to either get Notre Dame and/or cause the Big East to fold). Should the Big East be vulnerable, I can see the ACC trying to expand northward to gain a footprint in the Northeast. Who knows, if the ACC strikes first, maybe the Big 10 will counter (just like when the Pac 10 struck first and the Big 10 then countered).

If the Big 10 was trying to get rid of the Big 12, they failed (of course I said that might not be a bad thing ). Then again, they could always offer a bid to Missouri and we'll see if the Big 12 survives (but then again that could once again send Texas to the Pac-10 or SEC).

The Big 10 clearly chose the wrong conference to go after. Who knows, maybe the BCS will have seven conferences now instead of six. Had the Big 10 gone after the Big East and the Big East folded, there would be six and maybe five if the MWC could not get a bid.

I always preferred an Eastern expansion of the Big 10 as opposed to a Western one. If you wanted to remove a conference from the BCS, why go after a conference of 12 with Texas as opposed to a conference of 8 with no real strong member to hold them together? In addition, with the Big East staying put, Notre Dame has a fairly strong conference in its other sports and has less reason to join the Big 10.

Not to mention the addition of Nebraska further isolates my Penn State as the only Eastern school in the Big 10. Instead of renewing rivalries with Pittsburgh and/or Syracuse (and maybe even Notre Dame), we're left with a bunch of over 1,000 mile plane rides to Lincoln.

Would I like to see a Penn State/Nebraska football game? Of course. But what about the other sports? Penn State vs Nebraska in basketball?

Maybe the Big 10 still has interest in expanding east and/or pursuing Notre Dame. I hope so. Then maybe Penn State (as well as Ohio State and the Michigan schools) can have more rivals in their own time zone. We'll see.


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