As far as the expansion game is concerned, there’s little doubt that the biggest catch of all would be the University of Texas.
In the five months or so since the Big Ten’s announcement that expansion was again on the table for discussion, the Longhorns have been linked to not only that conference, but the SEC and Pac-10 as well. As well as possibly making a go of it as a football independent.
“We did not start this,” UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Kansas City Star as the Big 12’s spring meetings were about to commence. “If we need to finish it, we’ll finish it. We’re going to be a player in whatever happens. …
“We’re watching what’s happening with the Big Ten, probably to a lesser degree to the Southeast Conference. If the landscape is going to change, we’re going to be a part of it and be a viable part of it. Texas will come out of it in good shape.”
Texas is not the only Big 12 school to be the subject of expansion. Both Nebraska and Missouri have been part of heavy speculation that they could/would ultimately wind up as part of an enlarged Big Ten.
When asked about loyalty and whether any school that listens to overtures is being disloyal, Dodds denied that’s what is taking place. Instead, the AD looks at it as every institution looking out for their own best interests.
“Everybody stays ready,” said Dodds. “Everybody figures out what’s best for them and get options.”
And therein lies one of the problems with the Big 12. While the Big Ten seems to be for the greater good of the conference — “I don’t always think about what’s best for Ohio State; I think about what’s best for our conference, and I think about what’s best nationally,” Buckeye AD Gene Smith was quoted as saying in the Cleveland Plain Dealer — the Big 12 seems to be in every-man-for-himself mode.
Of course Texas will come out of this expansion situation in good shape. The question is, will the Big 12 be able to say the same thing?