So the first move has been made in the conference expansion dance as Nebraska cozies on up to Big Ten after checking them out from across the room for the last month or so. The other desirable members of the Big XII look to be bolting too as Chip Brown from Orangebloods.com reported shortly after the Nebraska decision was officially handed down. We trust Chip Brown because he's been the most spot on reporter in all of this conference expansion talk.
Speaking Chip's trust worthiness, it looks like California is getting their way by the league inviting Colorado instead of the Baylor Baptist Bears into the conference. An LA Times source has also signed on to confirm this report. (H/T Ralphie Report)
The dancing has begun and while schools like Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Colorado are quite thrilled with their standing there are several athletic directors that are less than pleased. Mizzou sits waiting to get the word on their Big Ten invite so there is hope for the Tigers. However; Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor and Kansas are left out in the cold with no suitors of note, this is what the Kansas City Star referred to as the "Armageddon" scenario and it's here now.
To harken back to my days working the door on DJ Night at Pantana Bob's, this conference expansion dance is staring at its first casualties.
Lew Perkins, Kansas ADis absolutely SOL and no one puts that in better perspective than friend of the site Bomani Jones. While us here at In The Bleachers are geared whole heartedly towards college football our favorite radio host took the time to shed some light on the true loser in this expansion event; college basketball.
There's plenty to talk about as the first dance partners in the conference expansion prom have sidled up to one another. Nebraska in the Big Ten is a great football move, gives the Huskers a stable conference that they'll come into and compete for titles in from the start. For the teams proposed to move to the Pac-10 in 2012 the promise of a Big-Pac network that locks down Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle should make for plenty of dollars to toss around.
But, for the teams left behind trouble is afoot. Currently, their are five but Mizzou, as previously state, could be getting a Big Ten bid if the cards fall correctly. Be they five or four the Big XII is effectively dead. There is no backfilling with Houston, TCU, Utah, SMU or any other schools within the region. There is no reason to attempt to salvage the league.
Read more for why the league is essentially dead...
Why not? Simple really, as Pete Thamel from the NY Times puts it:
If the Pac-10 swiped six teams from the Big 12 and Missouri or Nebraska went to the Big Ten, the Big 12 would become defunct. Under N.C.A.A. guidelines, a conference needs at least six universities that have played together for five years. The Big 12 would lose its Bowl Championship Series bid and automatic bid to the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament.
That means that the league, for all intents and purposes is defunct. Stripped of both their BCS and NCAA tournament bids leaving them at a status lower than any of the current FBS conferences. Now obviously this most notably affects Kansas, a school that ranks third in all time wins and is one of the most profitable basketball programs in the country.
With no BCS bid and no automatic NCAA bid these teams will be searching for homes soon. As Kansas State AD John Currie is states in a May interview the two schools in Kansas appear to be linked meaning you can't have Kansas without their partners in the Little Apple. This may bode well for K-State but Kansas has more leverage as an individual entity than as a commodity saddled with their much weaker sister school.
The Big East is an option, a league that is already segmented enough with schools in Wisconsin, Syracuse, Florida and Illinois. Making the move another 600+ miles southwest to include Kansas would do more good than harm. A little bit longer flight to the midwest in order to tie one of the nation's premier basketball programs in the nation's premier basketball conference.
Another option is the Mountain West. The MWC is a conference working to attain the automatic qualifier status before the 2012 season. First the league looked at bolstering their ranks by adding the recently uber-successful Boise State but that motion was tabled nearly as quickly as it was considered due to the civil unrest that has been this week in the Big XII.
Now the MWC sits in a position to add not only Boise State to reach ten teams but they can truly go ham by getting to a twelve team league and expanding the footprint of their The Mtn television network. Houston, Baylor, the two Kansas schools and/or Mizzou (if they end up on the outside looking in) fit into this equation nicely and should help the league land themselves a BCS auto-qualifying exemption.
Now we've got to sit and wait because the SEC, Big Ten and ACC are next on the clock.
Will the Big Ten stop at twelve teams or will they match the Pac-16 by targeting four new schools?
How long is it before the SEC looks to the ACC as a way of supplimenting their ESPN contract and further improving the quality of their league?
Lastly, what will the ACC do; be reactive and allow the SEC to pillage the conference OR get proactive to insure the member institutions remain member institutions for years to come?