Realignment - What's Up? Big 10, Pac 10, SEC
Oklahoma vs. Oregon, 2006
Oklahoma vs. Oregon, 2006
Posted Jun 14, 2010

With all the rumors floating around and all the speculation, what's actually going on? CFN tries to break it all down with what's happening, what's going to happen, what each conference should do, and how things are going to look when everything shakes out.

Realignment - June 14

What's Up? - Big Ten, Pac 10, SEC

Yeah, we're part of the problem ...

Pete Fiutak 

- Realignment, What's Up? - ACC,  Big East, Big 12

Big Ten
Once the Pac 10 started blabbing about wanting to invite Texas to its club, it became Game On for the Big Ten to go after one of the two big prizes in the realignment game (Notre Dame being the other), but that quickly became a dead story (or at least a very, very quiet one for the normally leaky key components).

After being the firestarter in the process with its talk of expansion, the Big Ten came up with a nice get in Nebraska, who, as it turns out, the Big Ten had at hello. The original plan was to go to 14 teams with Nebraska, Missouri, and Rutgers signing on, while keeping the door open for two more schools in the hopes of Notre Dame or, in a dream, Texas deciding to come aboard, and that doesn't appear to have changed too much outside of Missouri being left to twist in the wind.

Rutgers is always going to be there for the taking whenever the Big Ten makes a phone call, but the idea of Maryland is also being explored to expand to another new TV market (hint hint … Penn State and Indiana are playing in Landover in late November).

Best Guess For What's Next: No matter what else happens from here on, the Big Ten is a winner by getting Nebraska. However, the overall mission will be a disappointment if there aren't more big fish about to jump in the boat. From a sports fan's perspective, bringing in the Huskers is really, really cool, but from a business and expansion standpoint, Nebraska alone doesn't accomplish the original goal of expanding the reach of the Big Ten Network to more big markets and pushing the conference out to the Atlantic Ocean. The Big Ten isn't done, but with all the focus on figuring out the Texas situation, the Rutgers/Maryland side was put on hold and the conference went eerily quiet after the Nebraska press conference. In the end, the Big Ten will likely look like it was originally expected to after the speculation started up with Nebraska, Rutgers, and either Missouri or Maryland putting the league at 14 teams for two years before bringing in Notre Dame in 2012.

CFN's Recommendation: Don't make a lot of noise about it, but make sure Notre Dame is going to come in when it's finally ready to make the jump. Soon, the Irish will have to make a call, and the Big Ten wants to finally make the marriage work. In the meantime, sign Rutgers and go get Maryland to expand into a new market.

Throwing the dart guess for how the league will look when everything settles down:
EAST: Indiana, Purdue, Maryland (in 2012), Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
WEST: Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame (in 2012), Northwestern, Wisconsin

Pac 10

The conference pushed things along with its offer to invite Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, and if nothing else, the pot has been stirred. Colorado was a good fit and it gave the league the Denver market, but the hope was for that to be the tip of the Big 12 iceberg. Texas A&M appears to have cooled to the idea, but Texas is still in play and Texas Tech and the Oklahoma schools are almost packed and ready to go. That doesn't mean Texas is a done deal, but it would take something special for a SEC marriage to happen or for the Big 12 to survive with the Longhorns still in. Give the Pac 10 and commissioner Larry Scott credit; there's a backup plan. The league is going to expand with or without Texas, and Utah appears to be the next target. If some of the Big 12 teams end up leaving for the SEC, the Pac 10 will grab Kansas to get up to 13 and then will weigh its options with Missouri and BYU part of the discussion.

Best Guess For What's Next: The Pac 10 gets Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech, and it gets the big one: Texas. Way too many Oklahoma State insiders are leaking way too many things about leaving, and there's no way the mighty T. Boones are going anywhere without Oklahoma. Texas A&M appears to be fine with going off to the SEC without Texas, and that doesn't mean the rivalry still can't continue.

CFN's Recommendation: Keep on going after Texas while convincing Oklahoma and Oklahoma State that it's time to escape from the Texas shadow. Many will moan the move of the Sooners to the Pac 10, especially after the fiasco in Oregon in 2006, but very, very quickly, the idea of OU vs. USC (even the sanctioned version) will sink in and get everyone fired up. Get Utah now, don't bring along BYU for the ride, and go after Texas Tech with Kansas and Missouri on deck while the Big Ten and Big East are still hemming and hawing.

Throwing the dart guess for how the league will look when everything settles down:
NORTH: California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State
SOUTH: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, Utah

The SEC doesn't need to expand, but it doesn't want to be left out of the fun.

Strangely quiet throughout the whole process, it was assumed that the league would grab the ACC teams that made the most sense like Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Miami. As it turns out, that was just media speculation; the SEC had no interest in doing that.

Late in the game, the talks started up about getting Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma, but the league there appears to be little interest from many of the league's schools to take on the Longhorns and Sooners to make an already brutal conference slate unplayable. Taking on A&M and Virginia Tech would be a big move that would expand and make everyone a lot of money, but it wouldn't be nearly as brutal as it could be by adding the mega-powerhouses from the Big 12 South. The conference isn't going to bend over backwards to offer any sweetheart deals considering Florida, Alabama, LSU, and others wouldn't be too ecstatic by financially taking a backseat, even if that means getting Texas.

Best Guess For What's Next: Welcome to the party, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M. Yeah, kids, the Aggies appear ready to leave the nest if there's some sort of assurance that the rivalry with Texas can still go on. The SEC won't get Oklahoma like it wanted, but it'll get stronger and even more interesting with the A&M vs. Arkansas and LSU rivalries becoming special, and with the Hokies adding more prestige to the East.

CFN's Recommendation: The league doesn't need Texas or Oklahoma to be strong, but the last thing it wants is to suddenly see the new mega-conferences start to catch up to the pack when it comes to prestige (and TV deals). Get Virginia Tech and Texas A&M, and start working on Notre Dame … now. That might sound insane considering how snooty the Irish faithful are when it comes to academics, but there could be a thought that the university doesn't have to suffer as an institution of higher learning just because it plays in America's elite football conference. You're the SEC; act like it and go place a few phone calls to South Bend.

Throwing the dart guess for how the league will look when everything settles down:
EAST: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech
WEST: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M

Mountain West
All of a sudden, the Mountain West has the potential to become a player. It desperately wants an automatic BCS bid, and getting Boise State is a nice step forward towards the goal. Proactive, the league is putting it out there that it wants to go after three of the remaining Big 12 North schools, Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri, and it actually might have the juice to do it. However, if there's any sort of Big 12 left, TCU will be moving out while Utah appears destined for the Pac 10.

Best Guess For What's Next: The league is trying, but getting Boise State isn't going to be enough. Utah will be gone, but the Big 12 North teams, without the top teams from the South around anymore and with Nebraska and Colorado gone, will want to go where the fun is.

CFN's Recommendation: Go get Fresno State and don't stop pushing to get bigger and better. Keep trying for the remaining Big 12 North teams and be ready to pounce if Kansas and Missouri start freaking out that no one wants them.

Throwing the dart guess for how the league will look when everything settles down:
EAST: Air Force, Baylor, Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, TCU
WEST: Boise State, BYU, Fresno State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming

- Realignment, What's Up? - ACC,  Big East, Big 12