How was it left to me to write the post on the imminent college football conference expansion/realignment?
Today's news is that Nebraska will, in fact, jump ship to the Big Ten and become its 12th member. Math professors everywhere are crying into their pocket protectors, and the rest of the college football world is left reeling...and scrambling.
The next domino to fall appears to be the addition of six teams from the Big 12 to the Pac 10 - Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. The major consequence of this move is the death of the Big 12.
From there, you'll find rampant speculation about the SEC adding teams in order to prevent the Pac 10 from becoming the dominant football conference and about further Big 10 expansion, and eventually the downfall of either the ACC or Big East and the consolidation into four "mega-conferences". Nobody's explaining exactly how one of those conferences will implode, though - which makes me think that it's just puffery by columnists who need to find something to write about, so they make it up.
The better questions, to me at least, are as follows (in no particular order):
1. Is it really in the best interest of the Texas Six to move to the Pac 10? That's a long way to travel for all of those schools [other than Colorado]. Further, if their goal is to ensure that they're part of a major/BCS conference, it would seem that they could just as easily stick it out with the other five Big 12 members (Mizzou, Baylor, Iowa State, KU, and Kansas State) and then add a few teams...perhaps Utah, BYU, TCU, and the like. Now I understand that the Pac 10 schools are sexier than these possible additions to a still-existing Big 12...but I find it curious that nobody seems to be seriously considering such an option (or even writing about it).
2. Assuming the Texas Six bolts...what happens to the Missouri Five? There's all sorts of consternation at these schools - especially at KU - about having their big-time programs being left in the lurch. This should be particularly concerning to KU, KSU, ISU and Baylor, because Missouri, at least, has been rumored as a possible Big 10 expansion candidate, and because these four don't have a natural geographic home among the other major conferences. I say: why doesn't the Mountain West snap these up? The MWC is already considered the next-best conference after the BCS, and geographically the addition makes sense. The MWC might even be able to make a play to replace the Big 12 as the 6th BCS conference.
3. If the Missouri Five don't latch onto the remaining BCS conferences or the MWC - what the hell happens to them?