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Realignment Today: 5:12 p.m. - With A&M officially gone to the SEC, Big 12 moves forward
5:12 p.m. Update:
Real quick.... I didn't mean to overlook the idea that Missouri could still be in contact with the SEC. I just didn't feel like it was worth mentioning in this update. I've talked to enough people who seem convinced that Mizzou will stay that I think it's worth looking at what's next.
That said, I'll continue to keep an eye on the Missouri situation.
In the meantime, I'll do my best to stay on top of the expansion talk. Let's throw another percentage wheel out there, just because it was so much fun the last time. This one will track how likely a school is to become the Big 12's 10th team.
- BYU - 48%
- Louisville - 20%
- West Virginia - 17%
- TCU - 10%
- Cicinnati - 5%
It's way early. Stay tuned...
4:57 p.m. Update:
It's been a glorious few days, hasn't it?
OK, maybe not glorious, but the minor break from the conference realignment craziness was welcomed on this end.
But we're back at it now, and, according to this report from Greg Swaim, the Big 12 is, too.
With interim commissioner Chuck Neinas officially greeting the media during a teleconference on Friday, that appeared to kick off the Big 12's full-speed-ahead approach to adding another team.
Neinas said during the teleconference that 10 sounded like the magic number. In the days since, he's said that the process likely would move quickly.
So, with that in mind, let's look at the candidates.
1. Louisville - The Cardinals are in a dissolving conference and appear to be a great fit for a number of reasons - big time basketball, good but not great football and a location that's not horrendous in terms of travel. I've always thought that if Louisville came on board it would be as part of the Big East trio — Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati — but there's real talk out there that seems to suggest they could be in line to be No. 10 with or without their Big East mates.
2. BYU - We've heard about BYU since the beginning of this whole mess, and the one thing the Cougars bring is a national brand that could bring television sets all over the country. BYU is highly competitive in football, basketball and baseball every year and, at least in terms of competition and national exposure, seems to be a solid fit. The geography is a bit of a question mark here, but that's more a question of whether BYU would mind the travel than the other way around. I think the Cougars would be a great replacement for A&M.
3. TCU - Like BYU, TCU's name has been kicked around for the past two years. It's not likely to happen. Although it's been well known that Texas is against adding TCU, there's a big-time reason the rest of the conference should be, as well. Do KU, K-State and Iowa State really want another Texas school in the mix for those second-tier talents from the Lone Star State? I doubt it. Losing A&M should give the rest of those schools a leg up in Texas. Adding TCU would undercut that tremendously. Still, competitively speaking, the Horned Frogs would be a nice pick-up. There's been talk in the past that the Big 12 is not interested in expanding in states it already has a presence in. That's enough for me to rule out TCU, which I believe could be a very serious option for the SEC at No. 14.
4. Cincinnati and West Virginia - Cincinnati and West Virginia seem to be in similar positions, though I know there's been more WVU to the Big 12 talk than Cincinnati in the past. Again, these three (along with Louisville) seem to be a great trio to add and I'd say the same if it just comes down to adding one of them, as well.
5. Boise State - I'm not sure they're viable, but here's a link that says they should be considered. http://www.statesman.com/sports/collegefootball/commentary-big-12-should-consider-boise-state-1879151.html
One thing you have to remember in all of this is that the Big 12, after all it's been through, does not want to do what a bunch of other conferences almost did to it. That said, they will look at which schools are the best candidates and proceed accordingly.
Sources have told me that expanding back to 12 is certainly not out of the picture at this point, though 10 does seem like the more likely outcome for the immediate future.
The big question here has to be this: With A&M gone before 2012, will the Big 12 be able to find a replacement in time for that season? If they're picking a Big East school, that's not likely as Syracuse and Pitt — both headed to the ACC — will have to wait 27 months before leaving. That's one thing that could make BYU a much more attractive candidate in all of this.
One other thing to note: I believe that a direct connection can be made regarding the speed with which this search goes down and the stability of the conference. If it moves fast, the conference is headed in the right direction and things are being fixed. If it drags on, we could be in for a long process in all aspects of the new Big 12.