1:59 p.m. Update:
Amidst all the talk of the Cougars joining the Big 12, BYU is holding strong on its vague and safe stance.
The article above talks a little about where BYU stands, but, really, the Cougars seem to be falling back on the statement they've made all along regarding conference realignment.
That statement is:
"There is much speculation right now regarding conference affiliation that seems to change by the hour. Commenting on such conjecture is not productive and creates a distraction for our program. As we enter the 2011-12 athletic season, BYU is focused on the opportunities ahead. We are excited about our relationship with ESPN as a football independent and our affiliation with the West Coast Conference. The university will have no further comment."
Sounds like a great fit to team with Kansas, doesn't it?
Moving on to Missouri, here's a good take from Sam Mellinger of The Kansas City Star, who says KU and K-State fans should put their hatred aside and actual root for Missouri on this one.
There seems to be a lot of talk and speculation from SEC writers that Mizzou to the SEC is a done deal. It just shows the fickle nature of all of this because so many Big 12 writers are saying just the opposite. Maybe we should get together and play flag football for the right to be right here.
For what it's worth, I'd take us. At least on being right. SEC football's tough.
10:05 a.m. Update:
So now we know, thanks to various Twitter reports, that interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas will make Columbia, Mo., his first stop on his tour of conference campuses that begins next week.
Great. Now can we move on?
Perhaps. But, for most folks, the only thing that will make Mizzou’s commitment to the Big 12 official is their signature on the grant of rights document that not only locks the league into a sweet TV deal but also binds the league together for at least the foreseeable future.
After some initial uncertainty and continued flirtations with the SEC, it seems as if the Tigers are again leaning toward the Big 12. Neinas has said so. Multiple sources have told me that that’s their vibe. And, logic would suggest it’s the best place for MU to be.
Here’s a Thursday report from Missourinet.com that brings us up to speed on the situation with the Tigers.
The rest of the recent focus in realignment — yep, we’re still going — has been on the Big 12’s desire to expand.
One source told me earlier this week that no official offers had been made to any schools interested in joining the Big 12. And while that may still hold true, things certainly have heated up since then.
Here’s an update from Pac-12 reporter Jon Wilner that discusses a bunch of scenarios.
Other reports have said the Big 12 could expand to 10, 12 or even 16 at any point. Crazy.
The schools that remain most visible on the Big 12’s radar are the ones that have been there all along. Here’s a quick update on each of them.
BYU — a great choice and a likely candidate. One report said the Cougars could announce their intentions to join as soon as Saturday. We’ll see.
Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia — This Big East trio has been in the conversation from the beginning and continues to be. The only way all three come on board is if BYU balks and the league is willing to expand to 12. I think Missouri’s staying so that leaves one spot to get to 10 and three spots to get to 12. Of the three, I think Louisville is by far the best choice and the most desired option.
TCU — Another soon-to-be-Big East school has been linked with the three schools above in a four-team deal. Again, the only way that would work is if Mizzou were to leave or the Big 12 were to expand beyond 12. The best news regarding TCU that came out recently is that the Horned Frogs would likely not have to wait the 27 months to leave as required by the Big East since they aren’t actually in the Big East yet. Texas’ still is against adding TCU, but that could be a big reason the other schools are in favor. After all, it’s still the Big 12.
Boise State — Boise continues to be a name that’s kicked around and it’s one that continually makes me scratch my head. Great football brand, no question. But the geography is suspect and the rest of the BSU athletic department is average at best. I’m sure the Broncos would love to get in the league because that would allow — or is it force — their athletic department to grow tremendously in the coming years. Boise’s still a bit of a longshot but I definitely would not be surprised if this got serious.
Here’s a quick link from the folks at the Tulsa World who examine the numbers game facing the Big 12 or is it 10 or 14 or 16...
Oh, and since this would not be complete without a complete contradiction, here’s a report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports that says a source told him the best thing for the Big 12 is to stay at nine. Makes sense to me.
We’ll have more throughout the day if anything pops up. Big if, right? Ha!