Barfknecht reported Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Iowa State all had interest in making a regional leap to the Big Ten as Texas’ eyed a move west to the Pac-10:
Of course, this didn’t happen, and Nebraska joined the Big Ten on its own. Colorado went to the Pac-12, Mizzou and Texas A&M went to the SEC and the Big 12 added TCU and West Virginia. And buried at the bottom of Barfknecht’s story is this line:
If the predictions come true that the clock is ticking on the Big 12 sticking together, remember what we previously reported from two sources at Nebraska — the Big Ten has done its “homework’’ to evaluate Oklahoma and Kansas as potential members.
It’d seem unlikely Oklahoma would break up with Oklahoma State and join the Big Ten without its in-state rival, but then again, conference realignment took a flamethrower to rivalries like Texas-Texas A&M and Mizzou-Kansas, so nothing should be a surprise anymore. But since the Big 12 isn’t in in the process of dissolving just yet, let’s consider the repercussions of the Big Ten going to 16 teams in 2010. A few thoughts:
— Would it have been the first step toward four 16-team super-conferences forming? That was the hot rumor five years ago, with those 64 teams possibly breaking off from the NCAA and playing by their own rules and regulations.
— If that were the case, does Texas go to the Pac-10 with Colorado, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and…? This all happened right before Baylor’s ascendency, but would the Pac-10 have looked to the Mountain West and pulled Utah and TCU instead, leaving Baylor (and Kansas State) behind?
— Mizzou’s exclusion from the Big Ten rumor is interesting, and without Texas A&M, who else could join Mizzou in the SEC? Would Mike Slive & Co. been forced to look inside their current footprint to add other teams like Clemson, Florida State and Miami?
— If the ACC did lose three programs, it’d be down to nine members and would have to add seven to get up to 16. In this scenario, Maryland is still in the ACC and West Virginia and Rutgers still need homes, so perhaps those two schools join Louisville, Pitt and Syracuse. But who else? Do UCF and USF get a call to keep the ACC in Florida?
— This is more just thinking out loud for a scenario that didn’t (and never will, obviously) happen. But it’s always fascinating to think how different the college football landscape could be if just one thing changed during the realignment fracas — let alone a massive shift like the one reported here.