5:55 p.m. Update:
This from the take-it-for-what-it's-worth file... The San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner recently Tweeted a note that said sources are telling him that the Big 12's pursuit of Louisville is heating up.
In the same Tweet, Wilner also referenced that Navy and Air Force have standing offers to join the Big East.
Neither move is terribly surprising, but it's hard to know how solid the news is considering Wilner covers the Pac-12. That said, he's been impressive during the whole realignment saga and has proven in the past to have good info.
If talks with Louisville are in fact heating up, it's possible that BYU has dragged its feet on the Big 12 or may just not be interested in the first place.
That said, one source told me last week that Louisville would be the better target for the Big 12 initially because it would be easier to work with. Adding the Cards would bring a big-time basketball program and football on par with many of the Big 12 North schools. What's more, it's not a bad fit in terms of geography either.
2:21 p.m. Update:
SEC commissioner Mike Slive talked to reporters about his league's expansion plans today and, while doing so, seemed to indicate that Missouri is not going anywhere.
"We are going to be strategic and thoughtful when we think about any expansion," Slive said. "We anticipate being 13-team league in 2012-13. There are no institutions currently under consideration" as a 14th member."
What's more, Slive said no other schools had applied for membership to the SEC and that the league office has not initiated any talks with any potential candidates.
This is not to say that Mizzou is not still talking with the SEC or that things couldn't change in a hurry, but, if Slive's being truthful — and, really, after the past couple of weeks doesn't he almost have to be — it looks like the Tigers don't have many options.
Still waiting word out of Dallas to see how MU acted in today's meetings. Should help clarify their position, if Slive's comments don't already.
1:48 p.m. Update:
Not a whole lot new this afternoon. I just got back from Turner Gill's weekly news conference and stumbled upon a couple of links worth passing along.
The first is from the Sports Business Journal and it says the idea of "superconferences" actually dates as far back as 1990. Although we may have avoided it for the time being, many out there still believe 16-team power conferences is where we're headed.
Check out this look at how it all got started.
Speaking of getting there someday, Oregon State president Edward Ray said this week that the Pac-12 should not rule out the idea of expanding at some point down the road.
Waiting to get in touch with some folks who might know how the AD meeting in Dallas went today. Could be a while, but I'll be back with an update if/when I get some info.
9:41 a.m. Update:
With the nine remaining Big 12 athletic directors scheduled to meet with interim commissioner Chuck Neinas today and tomorrow in Dallas, the focus can officially shift from a this team or that team to this conference or that mode back to one in which we examine the future of the league that, against all odds, isn’t going anywhere.
Yesterday, we briefly looked at the schools the Big 12 could and should consider for expansion in the event that Neinas and league officials determine that the Big 12 should grow back to 10 or perhaps even 12 schools in the near future.
We’ll continue to do that throughout the day and week as relevant news on the topic pops up.
TCU coach Gary Patterson isn’t commenting: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/09/25/3395956/patterson-staying-loyal-to-big.html
Air Force officials are playing it safe: http://www.gazette.com/sports/gould-125602-force-mike.html
And the BYU rumors remain the same as they were days ago: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=rivals-1268216
For now, here’s a quick look at my updated percentage wheel regarding which team could be No. 10. Not a lot of movement from yesterday, with BYU and Louisville still sitting as the odds-on favorites.
-- Remember, this is just the percentage wheel for these schools becoming the 10th member of the Big 12, not joining the conference altogether. --
OK, so now we can get on to examining something that I’ve heard a lot of talk about during this whole realignment mess.
As things moved closer and closer to the 16-team, superconference model that many still feel is inevitable, one question kept popping into my head — Why the love affair with the number 16?
Depending upon who I talked to, the answers varied. But it always seemed to come back to one thing — “It’s so the greedy can have as many as they want,” one source told me.
Another, with ties to the former Big Eight Conference, said this: “In the end, the Big Eight had it right. And when you go to 16, you end up with two divisions of eight.”
And last, another source had this to say when attempting to explain the magic number, which, by now, we all know multiplies by four to get 64, a somewhat important number in the world of college athletics: “Somebody out there dreamed that up once and now it’s almost like the administrators are trying to fulfill it.”
Great. Got it. Or....
Although 16 was the hot number for the past several weeks, it doesn’t appear that anyone is headed there any time soon.
The Pac-12 and Big Ten are happy with a dozen each. Despite the Pac-12’s flirtations with expansion, the league presidents made it clear that even though commissioner Larry Scott may have wanted to expand, the league was content at 12.
The Big Ten said as much a year ago when it added Nebraska. Jim Delany and company didn’t say so much as a peep this time around, so you can bet they’re happy at 12, as well.
The ACC, meanwhile, jumped head-first into expanding to 14 when it landed Syracuse and Pittsburgh seemingly out of nowhere. At the time, the move appeared to be the one that would get the superconference train chugging but, in the end, it was little more than a big splash that ultimately wound up calming the waters. Where the ACC goes from here is anyone’s guess. There’s still talk of UConn and Rutgers heading south but it’s hard to know for certain if the ACC wants to go that big and be forced to spread the pie that thin, especially now that the “but everybody’s doing it” excuse is kind of out the window.
Then there’s the SEC, which, thanks to the official addition of Texas A&M, sits at 13 teams and appears to be looking for a 14th. Missouri, West Virginia, TCU and others continue to dominate the talk. But if Mizzou elects to stay in the Big 12 — which is where I’m laying my money — and if the SEC really already turned WVU down once and if TCU can’t or won’t get out of the Big East, then what will the SEC do? Live with 13 or go big-game hunting? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.
South Carolina president Harris Pastides said he wants the league to aggressively pursue a 14th team and then stop there. So much for the magic number 16.
That leaves the Big 12, which is down to nine, but may be on the lookout for one or three more to fill the void left by the departures of Colorado, Nebraska and A&M.
Berry Tramel, of The Daily Oklahoman, writes that the league’s best and only move is to get back to 12. http://newsok.com/big-12-needs-12-teams-not-10/article/3607661
We’ll know soon enough where the league stands in all of this. The guess here is that a move to get back to 10 will not take long and could be announced in the next few weeks.
If the league chooses to grow beyond 10, that’s good news for a lot of schools but especially Kansas, which would get the luxury of adding another non-conference game to its football schedule the way it used to in the old Big 12.
For now, though, we continue to wait. Wait on rumors to start, decisions to be made and stability to be forged. Of course, this time around, it all starts with Missouri.