Realignment Today: UT to ACC gaining steam, plus east or west for Kansas?
7:49 p.m. Update:
So, we're down to this. Unless there's some major news in the next couple of days, we'll spend at least the next 72-96 hours linking to columns and analysis of this whole mess.
I'm sure somebody, somewhere, will say something, but it's not likely to be very credible. The every-man-for-himself arena that we're currently in makes it that way. Sure the Texas writers can give good Texas news. Just the same as those of us who cover KU and Missouri can speak to what those schools are thinking. But the truth of the matter is this: Nobody knows what the other guy is going to do or say. So for UT officials to talk about OU or for K-State officials to talk about KU is a crapshoot at best.
That said, here's a great column from Matt Hayes, of The Sporting News, that sums up exactly how we got here.
5:45 p.m. Update:
Here's a story by SI.com's Michael Rosenberg that says "If the Big 12 blows up, everybody loses."
Not since Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sounded off a little more than a week ago about how how the Big 12 should stay together, has someone made such a rational statement regarding this mess.
I was talking with someone last night about how unbelievable it is that this league is on the verge of folding. It had everything you wanted. Great football. Good basketball with a national darling. Strong performance in ALL of the other sports. Everything but camaraderie and unity. At least where it counts.
Remember, as much as it may be easy to do, the finger of blame does not belong pointed at Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe or the league's athletic directors here. Alums and higher ups have driven this whole thing down a dangerous path, and now, not only is their vehicle running out of gas, but it's starting to have a tough time seeing the city lights.
Long way to go. Stay tuned...
5:32 p.m. Update:
Want to read more about the proposed pod system in the ACC? Here's a link that discusses what it could look like.
Think the Texas to the ACC rumors are bogus? So does Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
4:10 p.m. Update:
Let's try this again... 60 seconds with Keegan and Tait. We discuss whether a future Big 12 is better off with or without Texas in it.
2:51 p.m. Update:
Couple of quick things after lunch a few more phone calls.
There seems to be a large number of you who can't see how in the world the Big 12 could possibly survive all of this. It's all about Texas - again.
I've been told by a league source that many universities within the Big 12 are now operating under the assumption that OU is leaving — more of a defense mechanism than an absolution — and that, while they still hold out hope the conference can be saved, with or without OU, they're not going to put all their eggs in the Sooners' basket one way or the other.
That's where Texas comes in. If the Longhorns really are looking at moving to the ACC, that could be a better offer than anything the Big 12 could present and that could be the end of it. If not — and it's my guess that the ACC rumors are a bit of a bluff — then the best situation for Texas would be to stick with the Big 12, add three or five teams to bolster the numbers and move on from there.
The question for the conference's six dwarves then becomes: Do you trust that Texas won't do this again in 2012, when they look at all the fun in the sun the Sooners are having and get jealous.
Million-dollar question right there. With an answer worth even more.
In other news... I Tweeted this last night, but here's a link to a story from Orlando that discusses Florida State University putting together a conference expansion committee.
Not gonna read too much into that, but these things usually don't happen in this formal a manner unless they need to. Should be interesting to see if others follow suit. Of course, maybe some have and just don't feel the need to announce it.
Oh, the fun.
12:18 p.m. Update:
Just got off the phones with a couple of different people and, while it continues to look like OU might very well be leaning toward the Pac-12, the one thing that's clear in all of this is that nothing is clear.
But how could it be?
You've got nine different schools acting in their own best interests here. Several of them may share some common ground, but one source told me that at the end of the day even that only goes up to a certain point.
As for Kansas' place in all of this, AD Sheahon Zenger and chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little continue to be heavily involved in all angles of this thing. KU continues to push for the survival of the Big 12 but, by now, it seems clear that Kansas officials are considering all options and all outcomes.
One Big 12 source told me not to consider the league dead just yet. Texas is entertaining its many options right now — ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten among them — but one of them remains moving forward with the Big 12. Not sure where that stands on UT's priority list but it's in there.
That's all for now. Here's my updated percentage wheel... for now.
- Big 12 - 33%
- Big East - 27%
- ACC - 18%
- Pac-12 - 12%
- Big Ten - 10%
Stay tuned... 10:36 a.m. Update:
Here's a good read from Pac-12 country, via Jon Wilner's College Hotline blog. Wilner's another name who's been all over this story and he's got some good info in the blog. He also takes a couple of shots, which is interesting to see from a guy who doesn't cover UT and the Big 12 very much. Good read.
Couple of the highlights, in case you don't have time to scan it:
There have been discussions between Oklahoma and Pac-12 officials, but nothing of a formal nature will happen until Texas A&M joins the SEC. Nothing. Larry Scott won’t make the first move toward superconference status.
In fact, Scott has positioned himself perfectly against potential super-conference backlash from fans, media, the NCAA or university presidents nationwide.
He can always say, “We were happy at 12. We weren’t looking to expand. The SEC made the first move. Mike Slive has been the predator, not me.”
The Oklahoma schools are almost certain to receive an invitation to the Pac-12 if they apply for admission.
Multiple sources have told the Hotline that Scott believes the conference must expand — to 14 and perhaps 16 — in order to protect itself in the future when the SEC and Big Ten are both at 14+.
Despite grumbling from Colorado and others, Scott will have the votes he needs to add the Oklahoma schools.
9:43 a.m. Update:
Good morning all. Time for another round of Realignment Today. We learned a lot yesterday — at least in a relative sense — and it's looking more and more like OU and OSU are heading west.
Having said that, for every report out there that indicates it's a done deal, you'll hear or read something else that quotes Lee Corso and says, "Not so fast, my friend."
At this point, it's hard to know what's legit and what isn't. But we're getting there.
Just talked to some folks this morning who said that OU still seems hellbent on heading to the Pac-12, but there might be some hesitation on OSU's part. I'd be shocked if the Cowboys and Sooners split — SHOCKED — but I guess it could happen.
Last week, after Baylor's bold move put the brakes on all this for a little while, I was told that the conference came together a little bit. Sure, OU and UT were still fighting, but the threat of lawsuits and Baylor standing up for itself brought the rest of the league closer together. I guess it's possible that Oklahoma State was included in that group.
Time will tell.
For now, though, the one thing I'd say looks pretty certain is that OU and UT are tired of each other. Done. Finished. Kaput.
One report I saw indicated that Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe was going to make a hail mary plea to the Sooners today. If true, that could actually get somewhere because it's likely to include a sweet deal for OU. At this point, that's the only way the Sooners will stay, if they get a Texas-sized sweetheart deal. The question then becomes.... does the rest of the league really want TWO teams with Texas' power?
Guess the answer depends on how terrified you are about a future without the Big 12.
OK, let's dive into today's first few links.
Chip Brown, of Orangebloods.com, has been reporting for the last 18 hours about a Texas-to-the-ACC scenario having legs. Here's his latest update on that.
Brown mentions Kansas a couple of times in the recap and sources have told me that KU could be a real possibility for the ACC if the Big 12 falls apart. At this point, I'd think the ACC landing UT would be a must for KU to get over there.
Next up, we've got a blog from Berry Tramel, of The Daily Oklahoman, that explores the possible scheduling set-up in a 16-team Pac-12. See how far down this road OU's gone? Even their beat guys are talking scheduling logistics.
Lastly, for now, here's a nice recap from sports analyst Greg Swaim, who gives a quick team-by-team recap of where each Big 12 school could head, east or west. There's nothing groundbreaking in here but it's nice and tidy and presents a pretty compact look at each scenario.
More to come. As always, stay tuned...