It has finally hit the point in our news cycle that family, eating and sleep are a liability if you are trying to keep up with, much less cover, the Big Ten, Pac 10 and SEC's expansion moves. The last twelve hours have seen a flurry of reports involving all three expanding conferences, most of the Big XII, and a few South American nations. I'll attempt to sum this up:
Two news sources are pointing to Texas and Texas A&M ditching their remaining brethren in the Big XII and heading to the Big Ten. KCTV5, and NBC affiliate out of Kansas City, "broke the story" stating that:
High level sources in multiple conferences have told KCTV5 that Texas and Texas A&M are looking to move to the Big Ten Conference and are in talks to join the conference, while the University of Oklahoma is planning on petitioning the Southeastern Conference to become a member of its conference.
To be honest, I don't put a lot of stock in this despite the fact I'd love it if it were true. Over the course of the expansion discussion Kansas City's media has been dead wrong on this subject. Remember when they told us about the five team Big Ten expansion deal in May? Sure the reports come from different outlets, but the reasons to remain skeptical of this report remain the same: the reporters are in KC, the subjects are in Texas and Chicago, and no one else is on this train. Well, no one except Dallas newpaper man Kent Sterling.
College Station, Texas, based sources close to Texas A&M confirm the scenario of Texas A&M, Texas and Nebraska joining the Big 10, bringing the total to 14.
Sterling corroborates the Texas/Texas A&M story, as well as states that the two schools have decided to freeze Texas Tech and Baylor out of their decision making process. That would make sense, except we're talking about the State of Texas. Sterling throws in a nice quote about how Big Ten fans will fill seats and support Austin's economy, but unfortunately there's no direct attribution. Even though Sterling's closer to the action than KCTV, I'm still a doubter at this point because no one else in Texas has picked up the scent on this one. Maybe there's fire with the smoke, but it's really hard to see it right now.
There is so much more after the jump, including A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and the Big East.
Another big issue with KCTV and Sterling' story is that multiple sources are reporting that Texas A&M is heavily leaning toward petitioning the SEC for membership. And it's not smoke and mirrors. In addition to the Orangebloods article linked previously, the Dallas Morning News is reporting the Texas Texas A&M split has legs and history to support it. Texas A&M's former AD and head football coach Gene Stallings told reporters that it's completely possible the two schools would splitapart in this conference realignment shuffle. Our friends over at SB Nation's outstanding SEC blog, Team Speed Kills, believe A&M would be a tremendous addition to the SEC. Not surprisingly, our other friends at SB Nation's killer Longhorn site, Burnt Orange Nation, are practically begging the Aggies to leave for the SEC.
A&M venturing off on its own to the SEC would be the best thing that could possibly happen to Texas. And one of the worst to A&M. Imagine, for a moment, that the Aggies do just that, and tell Texas that there will be no solidarity pact and they are going to head off to the SEC on their own. What result?
Well, all of the sudden, Texas is free to join the Big 10. The "Tech problem" just disappears overnight, because if the Aggies want to go to the SEC, they have to band with UT and let the Longhorns go to the Big 10. A unified split allows each to go its separate way, and eliminates an opposition coalition standing in the way of Texas venturing to the Big 10.
To top it off, Chip Brown is finally getting around to realizing there are legs to this rumor. A&M's possible defection hasn't stemmed the tide of Pac10apolooza at Orangebloods, with Brown still reporting that the remnants of the Big XII (including Baylor) may announce something next week.
But it's not just A&M that's rumored to be splitting up the Beatles. As you might have noticed above, KCTV also reported that the Oklahoma Sooners were petitioning the SEC for membership as well. While there are no other sources to back that assertion, there are plenty of people reporting that the SEC is definitely interested in Oklahoma as well as A&M. Either to quiet the rumors or quash them altogether, Oklahoma's AD spoke with the Tulsa World:
While Castiglione also confirmed that the SEC has shown interest in the Sooners, OU's position is that it's going to stick with Texas wherever the Longhorns go because of the long history between the two schools.
"I think it would be a horrendous decision for OU and Texas to break up," Castiglione said. "We're going to stick together if it's at all possible."
On the other side of the coin, our friends at Missouri who have long been rumored to be headed to the Big Ten appear to be on the outside looking in at expansion. As Dr. Saturday points out, ever since the Big Ten apparently cooled on Missouri's candidacy, the Tigers have been screaming their commitment to the Big XII. Translation, "NO ONE WANTS TO PLAY WITH US." Similarly, Oklahoma State seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis as well. Yesterday rumors surfaced from the celebrity gossip site TMZ.com (of all places, really!?), that the Cowboys were on their way to the Pac 10 on Friday. This was quickly debunked by the Oklahoman Newspaper, wherein OSU stated they'd had no contact with the Pac 10 and affirmed their commitment to the Big XII (or at least what's left of it). The one thing from the Oklahoman report that doesn't seem to jibe is the assertion that the University of Texas has assure OSU that it will be a part of any move the Longhorns make. Raise your hand if you believe that.
But that's not it, the Big East isn't standing pat or waiting to die. Rumors and reports are gaining momentum that the Big East may be contacting the remaining Big XII schools that appear to be left out in the cold. At this point it's all rumors, but worth noting.
So there you have it. That's where we are.