Goodbye Big 12, hello Big 4

I just caught a recent article at Orangebloods.com. Definitely a must read on conference expansion. Basically, it puts things into perspective and says it how it is. I’ll summarize and tell you why I think they are very much on to something. The idea is that you can see the writing on the wall. The Big 12 commissioner is literally begging the schools in the conference to stay together. You have some schools saying they are committed, others saying they will explore options. Its painfully obvious what is going on here- the Big 12 is going bye-bye.

The Pac-10, meanwhile, is meeting this weekend in San Francisco. Rumors are they are going to reach out to 6 teams from the Big 12 to form a mega 16-team conference: Texas, A&M, Tech, OU, Oklahoma State and Colorado. Those six, along with Arizona and Arizona State, would form the east division with the remaining Pac-10 members making up the west division. Divisional champs play each other for the conference championship.

I for one really like this plan. I think it is entirely possible it could happen, maybe even this weekend. One potential wrench is A&M. They don’t like headed west to play. You know Texas and A&M are certainly staying together, wherever they end up. Another problem is what to do with the other schools in the Big 12. Missouri is a shoe in to join the Big Ten. What about Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State?

My best guess is that if the Pac-10 makes this move, all hell will break loose. The Big Ten would scramble to catch up and get to 16 teams as well. After grabbing Missouri they would certainly be able to finally get Notre Dame, Syracuse, Rutgers and Nebraska. The decimated Big 12 and Big East schools would have to fall in with the ACC and SEC somehow. The WAC and MWC would then do a merge of sorts, as would C-USA and the Sun Belt. The MAC would probably pick up some scraps like Cincinnati or something.

Either way, you would end up with 4 incredibly powerful conferences, one kind of powerful one and two cellar dwellers. That would effectively end the BCS as we know it, as the 4 big conference champs would surely invent a playoff system for those 4 teams. This of course would still leave out 50% of all FBS schools, but hey, at least we’re making progress.

Here’s how I would see this hypothetical situation playing out:

Pac-16 east: Texas, A&M, Tech, OU, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State
Pac-16 west: Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State

Big 16 east: Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame
(update, forgot to get Illinois in there) Big 16 west: Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern, Indiana, Illinois

SEC east: Florida, South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
SEC west: Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Kansas, Kansas State, Arkansas

ACC north: Boston College, Uconn, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Temple
ACC south: Miami (FL), Florida State, Duke, Wake Forest, South Florida, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Louisville

You know there is a good chance this is where everything is headed. The Big 4 conferences whose champions play in a 4 team tournament for the championship. Its only a matter of time…

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