Conference Shakeup: Where Things Stand (For Now Anyway)
There are only three official moves thus far: Colorado has departed the Big 12 and joined the Pac-10, Boise State has fled the WAC and joined the Mountain West, and Nebraska has bolted from the Big 12 to become part of the Big Ten. That's it, in terms of concrete movement. However, with two teams already departing the Big 12, the league's future is very clearly in question.
And things are only getting started.
Texas will conduct a meeting with its Board of Regents Tuesday and the fate of the Big 12 hangs in the balance. According to myriad reports and sources, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are doing whatever Texas does. A move for the four to the Pac-10 is likely. From there, Baylor's fate likely lies with the decision of Texas A&M. Does A&M follow Texas to the Pac-10 or forge its own path to the SEC -- where it prefers to go? If the Aggies go east, Baylor can round out the new Pac-10 at 16 teams. If the Aggies can't cut the cord, they will be team No. 16 in the Pac-10 and that will effectively leave Baylor out in the cold.
Speaking of which, if this all goes down, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State are also out of luck. Missouri was once thought to be part of the Big Ten expansion, but now the Mizzou brass is singing a different tune -- meaning it has likely been given the cold shoulder by the Big Ten. What lies ahead for these four teams? The Mountain West, perhaps, but Kansas' basketball program might steer it toward greener pastures (the Big East? SEC? ACC?).
Next, we're left looking at the Big Ten's response to the newly-powerful Pac-10 (plus some). Does the Big Ten put the pressure on Notre Dame? Will Notre Dame cave due to fears it will be left out of the potential four power conferences of 16 teams each? If the Big Ten does add Notre Dame, that leaves the count at 13 teams. Do they grab one or three new schools -- from the Rutgers, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Syracuse, Missouri, Kansas group, perhaps?
Does the Mountain West or even Conference USA make a play for the lingering Big 12 leftovers (Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor)?
Stay tuned. Things are getting interesting and it's only the beginning.