Now that the dust has settled from last week's epic announcement, it's time to take stock of where we are.
First: Colorado has officially bolted from the Big XII and joined the Pac 10on Thursday. Colorado's move preempted a move by Baylor's allies in the Texas Legislature to make the Bears a required part of any move by the University of Texas to the Pac 10. Irrespective of Baylor's rich uncle in the State Senate, Colorado joining the Pac 11 officially set off what will be remembered as the wildest college football offseason in the last fifty years.
Second: On Friday the University of Nebraska left the Big XII to join the Big Ten. Despite being a late addition to the media's coverage of conference expansion, it appears as though the Big Ten had the Cornhuskers in their sights for months. Nebraska's defection brings the Big Ten to twelve teams, and effectively destroys the Big XII North, if not the conference.
Third: The Pac 10 isn't done expanding. Standing at 11 teams isn't a recipe for success *cough* Big Ten *cough*, and the Pac 11 knows it. As rumors have turned into hard facts that the Pac 10 was looking to expand into the breadbasket and American Southwest, there's no way they're done yet. The Pac 10 has extended invitations to Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State to join the conference. An answer to the invitation could come as early as Tuesday of this week. There's no question as to whether any school (save A&M) goes with the Longhorns, each of their presidents has come out and said they will go where Texas goes.
Fourth: Missouri sees the Big XII conference light. Despite months of public pleading, no, begging for a Big Ten invitation, Missouri seems to have learned that one will not be forthcoming. As a result, the Tigers seem to have recommitted themselves to saving the conference.
Fifth: Missouri's not alone. Dan Beebe, the Big XII's beleaguered commissioner, has put together a proposal designed to appeal to everyone's greatest weakness: their wallets. Beebe's plan is premised on keeping the league at ten programs, securing a new and more lucrative television contract, and allowing the individual universities to create and retain the benefit of their own television networks. Put simply, Beebe is doing everything he can to keep Texas in the league. The Longhorns have long lusted after their own television network and this particular proposal looks tailor made for Texas. After all if Texas stays, so does everyone else.
Sixth: Beebe's proposal might just work. According to the right-50%-of-the-time Rivals site, Orangebloods, Texas will committed itself to a 10 member Big XII. There's a part of me that wants to call "BS!" on this one, but if Texas gets to keep every dime of their own television network this makes total sense. But it ain't a slam dunk.
Seventh: Because Texas A&M wants to go to the SEC. With all the talk about the Big XII south going en mass to the Pac 10, it seemed that A&M would go as a package deal with Texas. And then the Aggies started to balk. At first the SEC flirtation appeared to be a showing of teeth, saying we don't have to do what Texas does. But now it seems to be growing into a mutual fascination that could undercut Beebe's attempts to save the league. The Aggies reportedly turned down the Pac 10, or at least were reconsidering their options as of this weekend. But the SEC courtship also reportedly reached the level of A&M bringing in their new suitor to meet the parents.
Eighth: This leaves the Pac 10 in an uncomfortable position. With their designs on the remaining Big XII members, Beebe's desperate gambit leaves the Pac 11 twisting in the wind. If the Big XII stays together, the Pac 10 will return to its initial advances on Utahin an effort to cap off the Twelve Pac.
Ninth: All this could be crap and no one has a clue what happens next. I'm betting on this. Helpful charts located here.
But, we'll have to wait and see about that.