We knew we’d start seeing movement this week on the conference realignment front and it happened. Colorado moved west to the Pac 10, Nebraska left for the Big 10, and Boise State finally moved to the Mountain West Conference. As it stands now, the rest of the Big XII has to find their new homes and this is where things become interesting.
Most assume that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State will join the Pac 10 this upcoming week. That will give the Pac 10 fifteen teams in total. It is assumed that the Pac 10 would like to get to a nice round number of sixteen teams. Texas A&M could be that sixteenth team, or they could break with their Texas brethren and join the SEC as they have been rumored to do so.
New rumors are saying that the SEC may be interested in much more than just Texas A&M though. ESPN is saying that the SEC would ideally also add Texas and Oklahoma. ESPN also says that at this time that Oklahoma has not committed to the Pac 10. The SEC would still settle for A&M though, as they feel that addition alone would be able to give the conference a presence in the various Texas markets. It also appears at this time that the SEC will not raid the ACC for any of their schools and may settle with a thirteen team conference.
While the Pac 10 and SEC (and if this goes on, the Big 10 may get involved too) battle over the Big XII’s elite football programs, the Mountain West Conference may quietly be making themselves a legitimate major conference. The MWC already added Boise State this week, making them a football conference right on par with the Big East and ACC. The MWC is now interested in adding Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri. All three schools have good basketball programs currently and Kansas is obviously one of the best basketball programs in the history of the sport. When it comes to football, Kansas and Kansas State have both been to BCS bowl games and Missouri has had recent success as well. Adding Missouri also adds the Kansas City and Saint Louis markets to the MWC. It appears that TCU is strongly opposed to adding Baylor to the MWC. If these three schools do join the MWC and they look for a 14th school, will they go after Iowa State or would TCU give in and allow for Baylor to join?
So where do we stand? It appears the Pac 10 is still most likely to add Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State this week leaving them with 15 teams and possibly in search of another. Texas A&M could break off and join the SEC leaving them also with an odd 13 teams and possibly needing another team. The Mountain West is hoping to upgrade its status in both football and basketball by adding the “unwanted” Big 12 schools. Meanwhile, the Big 10 is still lurking and may begin destroying the Big East in hopes of adding Notre Dame. In other words, the fun has begun but its nowhere near done.