For those paying attention, back in mid June I wrote an article regarding the forthcoming re-alignment in college football. In the early summer it was being reported by many news outlets that the NCAA was on the verge of undergoing a vast make over. The BCS conferences as we knew them would change forever. War, so to speak, between the conferences was unavoidable and the first shots were already being heard in the Midwest with Tom Osborne assuring the world that Nebraska was seceding from the Big 12 union in favor of its northern nieghbor the Big Ten. It appeared as though the first domino in a college football revolution was tipped over and a chain of events would unfold.
It can be said, now in retrospect, that there was a fair bit of mass hysteria in the media and I myself am guilty of fueling the flames of hysteria. Some of the things I reported back in June did materialize , but the “Great War” of re-alignment fizzled out rather quickly after the initial blitz. One could say “peace” was secured at the eleventh hour when Oklahoma and especially Texas saved the Big 12, which was on the brink of collapse as a result of the raiding attacks from both the Big Ten and PAC 10. Texas and Oklahoma were 2 fundamental dominos in the row towards change. Their loyalty to the Big 12 ensured its survival and checked the expansion of the PAC 10 at 12 member. This loyalty came at a high price though. Texas and Oklahoma have made themselves de facto masters of the Big 12. Both these teams will enjoy the biggest piece of the television revenue pie under the new deal. Texas will even be allowed to have its own TV network to boot and Oklahoma is working its own TV project. This has led to voices being raised that wonder how long this arrangement will suit the rest of the Big 12 members who will always have the outside track in the Big 12 race. It would not be incredibly surprising if hostilities renew themselves in the Midwest in the coming years.
Without the commitments of Texas or Oklahoma, PAC 10 commissionaire Larry Scott could never dream of securing the other 3 schools of the Big 12. It was also more than likely that Texas A&M would take up the SEC’s call rather than follow the rest of the would be Big 12 deserters. Scott has been frustrated this time around, but it is apparent that his dream of creating a Super Conference is alive and well.
The Conference War is in a truce right now. The BCS conferences have stopped fussing for now but there is no guarantee they will not go back to their policy of expansion in the near future. The Big 12 lost some battles to the Big Ten and PAC 10, but eventually was able to entrench itself and avoid total destruction. Time will tell if this war is truly over. For now this is the new conference landscape in the NCAA.
The Number Names Lie!
Big Ten : Added Nebraska. Now has 12 members, effective 2011.
Pac 10: Added Colorado and Utah. Now has 12 members and will rename itself Pacific 12 Conference (Pac 12), effective 2012. Utah joins in 2011, Colorado 2012.
Big 12: Lost Colorado and Nebraska. Now has 10 members, effective 2012.
Mountain West: Added Boise St but lost Utah. Remains same with 9 members, effective 2011.
SEC: Remains the same with 12 members.
Big East: Remains the same with 8 members (for football).
So there you have it, now that the summer is all but over and the dust has finally settled on the re-alignment question we can move on with our College Football viewing in peace…for now at least, until the next wave of mergers and acquisitions is set off by a conference commissionaire.
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Written by The Gator Great