I have to say this: it sure would be nice to sit down and actually watch and enjoy the first full weekend of college football. Instead, there are additional signs pointing toward a thermonuclear version of conference apocalypse that simply can’t go unmentioned.
In the latest and most significant development, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott acknowledged that he has fielded calls from unnamed schools — one rhymes with “Schmoklahoma” — that have expressed an interest in joining his conference. One thing Scott’s making perfectly clear, however, is he’s the one on the receiving end of phone calls from interested parties, not the other way around.
“I will say schools have reached out to us,” Scott told reporters before the start of the LSU-Oregon game. “We are not doing anything proactively… schools have called us. We certainly are going to listen. …
“If there is any suggestion whatsoever that our conference is being predatory that’s just wrong. We’ve not had expansion as an initiative, as an agenda, for us at all. If there were any conversations going on, you can be sure there are not any we initiated.”
Earlier today, the Daily Oklahoman reported that Oklahoma’s sole focus is now on the Pac-12. If the speculation comes to fruition, OU would make the first move to the Pac-12, causing a ripple effect that would bring Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech along with them, leaving the Big 12 with five schools and almost no shot at survival — especially after the Big Ten grabs Missouri as part of a counteroffensive to the Pac-12 morphing into the Pac-16. And then Jim Delany reaches into the Big East before convincing Notre Dame to shed its football independence to get to 16 members. And then the SEC responds as well, getting to 16 by swallowing up three schools from the ACC, forcing that conference and some of what’s left of the Big East and Big 12 to merge.
Such developments — well, maybe not those specific developments — would come as no surprise to Scott.
“I’ve also been clear,” Scott said, “that there will probably be further expansion at some stage.”
Of course, at one point last year Scott, after flying to a handful of Big 12 cities, thought he had the OU-UT-OSU-TT quartet all but signed, sealed and delivered before the then just-a-dream Longhorn Network played a significant role in scuttling those grandiose expansion dreams. This time, the LHN isn’t expected to pose an obstacle to adding Texas. Rather, this time it appears as if it’ll be up to the school in Norman to (mercifully) put the final bullet in the head of the Big 12.