The college football 2010 expansion scramble is on!
The Pac-10 is flexing their muscle for the first time in many years and I’m not talking about winning championships, I’m talking about dinero, mullah, the almighty dollar!
As I have mentioned previously, the Pac-10 will not expand unless it includes Texas or Colorado. Not Utah or BYU.
So what has happened since then?
To summarize all the rumors these past three days, the Pac-10 will take Texas, Colorado, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State.
But the Pac-10 needs to hear from those schools, specifically Texas, before the end of 2010 in order to be in a position to negotiate a new television contract for their college football programs.
This is beyond what I expected but it certainly is intriguing and prudent.
It’s prudent because Texas wants Texas A&M in ANY scenario available. The Big-10 didn’t bring Texas A&M to the table in prior rumors and that is why those rumors died down.
How did this all come about?
There were various variables that occurred simultaneously to bring us to this point.
The first of the two variables were the growing rumors of the Big 10 courting Nebraska and Missouri. This began to wear on Big XII members with anxieties running high the past several months.
The second of the two variables were the college football scheduling negotiations between the Pac-10 and Big XII concerning non-conference scheduling (similar to the basketball arrangement between these two conferences).
During the course of these talks the behind the doors flirting between Texas and unspecified Pac-10 officials the last four months came out into the open by openly suggesting a merger between the Big XII and Pac-10. The leaks from these negotiations morphed into six Big XII members joining the Pac-10.
Because the open rumor of Missouri playing patty-cake with the Big 10 took a toll on the unity of the Big XII, Texas became open to moving to the Pac-10 on condition that Texas A&M and Texas Tech came along for the ride.
The Pac-10 sweetened the pot and threw in Oklahoma and the Red River Rivalry and the rest is history. Colorado of course always being into play and Oklahoma State or another school coming in to round out the Pac-10 to the Pac-16.
And then all Hell broke loose (figuratively speaking of course).
A rash of emails from Ohio State officials began between them and Big-10 officials about Texas not wanting to join the Big-10 because Texas Tech was not to be invited.
Which then got Texas A&M officials all worried (why, I have absolutely no idea why because Texas won’t go anywhere without Texas A&M) and they began exchanging messages with SEC officials.
If your head is spinning you haven’t seen anything yet!
The 2005 ACC raid on the Big East will look like child’s play once the Pac-10 is done devouring the bulk of the Big XII.
How will a new Pac-16 look like? The Pac will split into two divisions. The six Big XII schools will form one division with Arizona and Arizona State (thus uniting former Border Conference rivals Arizona and Texas Tech) with the remaining eight Pac schools configuring the other division.
Say goodbye to the Big XII.
Why would Texas go to the Pac-10? Well money. Second of all Texas isn’t as southern as it used to be. It’s liberal. At least the administration is and they feel more at home with the Nancy Pelosi’s of the world rather than with “W”. It’s seems simple, but think about it. Austin is pretty liberal for a southern town and they would feel more at home with the Pac-10 than us southern folk.
With that said, he is my prognostications of how the conferences will look if the above scenario comes to fruition:
Big 10 invites the following to keep up with fellow power conference Pac-16:
- Nebraska (from Big XII)
- Missouri (from Big XII)
- Pittsburgh (from Big East)
- Rutgers (from Big East)
- Syracuse (from Big East)
The 12 school SEC can do whatever they want since they believe the world centers around them (which it doesn’t). Sober minds should prevail and an invitations should go out from the most likely to the least likely:
- Virginia Tech (from ACC)
- Virginia (from ACC)
- North Carolina (from ACC)
- North Carolina State (from ACC)
- West Virginia (from Big East)
- Maryland (from ACC)
- The remaining two will come from these three schools: West Virginia, Maryland, and TCU from the Mountain West Conference (TCU may be a wild card interchangeable with West Virginia and Maryland. TCU would also bring in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area AND the rich football recruiting state of Texas.
- Note: Florida will want to protect their recruiting pool, so Florida State and Miami won’t be invited. Same for Georgia, they won’t invite Georgia Tech to protect their Atlanta market. Same for South Carolina, they won’t invite Clemson. LSU won’t invite Houston, which has a large LSU alumni base. Kentucky won’t invite Louisville. Tennessee and Vanderbilt won’t invite Memphis. All for similar territorial reasons.
The ACC will be smarting from the SEC’s raid and so they may or may not respond due to the shallow pool of candidate schools available. But if they do respond here are the most most likely to least likely invitations:
- UConn (from the Big East)
- Louisville (from the Big East)
- Cincinnati (from the Big East)
- West Virginia (from the Big East) and Memphis (from Conference USA; if the SEC passes on them, but takes Maryland)
- East Carolina (from Conference USA; if West Virginia is not available and Maryland is not taken)
- The ACC will remain a 12 team conference unless of course it wants to go to 12. But considering the lack of solid candidates available (c’mon East Carolina?), I doubt they will want to grow further.
Which leaves us the the one team Big East, South Florida. The Big East football conference dissolves and South Florida jumps to Conference USA.
Which leaves an open BCS spot that should go to the Mountain West Conference.
Because the Mountain West Conference (MWC) has been doing much better in bowl games than the Big East the past few years. In addition they are on track to gaining the next BCS spot at the next BCS T.V. negotiations.
But the MWC will expand to solidify their claim, regardless if TCU stays or goes, to the vacant Big East berth by inviting:
- Kansas (from the Big XII)
- Kansas State (from the Big XII)
- Boise State (from the WAC)
- The MWC is very pragmatic. They could care less if they are a 9, 11, or 12 team conference. They want to solidify their claim to the soon to be vacant BCS birth first, worry about numbers later.
Which leaves the Big XII with just Iowa State and Baylor to fend for themselves. Baylor jumps to Conference USA and Iowa State jumps to the WAC.
The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) will breathe a sigh of relief and so will Conference USA. Both pick up Iowa State, Baylor, and South Florida. The MAC and the Sunbelt Conference remain in tact and the dust settles for at least another 8-12 years.
You say there’s another vacant BCS birth available? Yes there is if the Big XII dissolves. But who can legitametly claim that vacant spot?
The Western Athletic Conference comes the closest to it, but if Boise State jumps to the MWC they really don’t have much else to offer outside of Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada.
If the WAC is smart enough they should go after SMU, Houston, and Memphis of Conference USA and ensure Boise State remains. SMU is the next TCU. SMU also carries the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Houston brings in a mega-metropolitan area and an up and coming program. And Memphis brings in a solid basketball program with a brilliant young coach along with a large metropolitan area.