Today's links will be focusing on the impending realignment cataclysm, because it is very much real and very much happening. Perhaps the best way to break things down is by looking at the conferences one at a time. Let's do this.
Big East. Things seemed to be alright. The Big 12 was going to be the conference that collapsed, not the Big East. TCU was coming to town and everything was going to be great.
The Big East bylaws contain a 27 month waiting period before a school can leave the conference, so as of now Syracuse and Pitt are not scheduled to join the ACC until the end of 2013. However, those bylaws are not completely inflexible, and I would bet that there's a better chance of those two schools being in the ACC by 2012 than 2014.
Another question that needs to be considered is what happens to TCU if the Big East collapses. They stand to be left out completely if quick action isn't taken.
ACC. For those of you keeping score at home, the ACC will now contain five of the oldest members of the Big East. There's some speculation that SU and Pitt were brought in not just to bring the ACC to 14 teams, but also as insurance in case Virginia Tech and one other team jump ship to the SEC. Either way, the ACC has basically ensured that when the four megaconference scenario comes to pass, they'll be one of them.
There isn't a ton of chatter right now as to whether the ACC will bring in two more teams to get to 16, but somebody seems to think that those two teams could be Notre Dame and... Penn State. If you need me, I'll be over here giggling at how silly that notion is. Another team that has gotten some play as a potential fit for the ACC is Texas, but any chance that had of going through seems to be dead.
Big 12. In the past year, the Big 12 has lost Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M. With nine teams left, the Big 12 is teetering on the precipice. The remnants of the Big 12 South were reportedly this close to joining the Pac-10 a year ago, and according to a report from the Austin American-Statesman it may finally be happening. The move would include Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State jumping into the Pac-12.
The remaining survivors (Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri) would be left scrambling for themselves, as those four teams leaving the Big 12 would absolutely destroy it. Missouri would seem to be the only one of those five that has a chance of landing in an improved situation.
Pictured: Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe. Metaphorically, anyway.
Pac-12. If the Pac-12 actually does kill off the Big 12 and take those four teams, it will have to deal with the issue that many blame this whole mess on in the first place: The Longhorn Network. The American-Statesman report says that the Pac-12 would be willing to let Texas keep LHN, but can only keep the money if the revenues generated by LHN are greater than 1/16th of the Pac-12's third tier broadcasting rights. Got that? There's also the possibility of LHN being incorporated into a regional network for the Pac-16 that would cover more than just Texas, but trying to figure out the network format at this point is putting the cart in front of the horse.
Supposedly, a Pac-16 would split into four four-team pods, rather than two eight-team divisions, and play two teams from the three other pods on a rotating basis. Personally, I like that idea better than two divisions, as it allows for greater schedule flexibility and variation.
Both the Texas and Oklahoma Board of Regents will be meeting today, so this deal may not be tentative for long.
SEC. They safely have brought Texas A&M into the fold, and it's a virtual certainty that a 14th team will be chosen in the near future. The likely candidates are Missouri, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech. I don't anticipate the SEC making the first move here, as Missouri would fall right into their lap if the four Big 12 teams do jump to the Pac-12.
Big Ten. So what does this all mean for our dear conference? Well, it means that a reality where Notre Dame is on board is considerably closer to reality. A four megaconference scenario would mean that the BCS would have to be completely redesigned, presumably into a four team plus-one format. If conference membership is a requirement to make the postseason, then Notre Dame's hand is effectively forced. The two choices they would have would be the ACC or the Big Ten, but I think they'd rather come into the Big Ten due to geographic proximity and existing rivalries with several teams.
Beyond Notre Dame, Missouri may be an option if the SEC decides to go elsewhere. After that, you have the castoffs from the shattered Big East and Big 12, none of which sound particularly attractive. To me, anyway.
So... Any questions?