Pac-10 expansion coming soon?

The Pac-10 is now one step closer to expanding and possibly devouring the Big 12, as commissioner Larry Scott announced on the final day of the conference meetings on Sunday that university presidents and chancellors have given him the authority he needs to expand the Pac-10.

From ESPN.com:

“What direction that process takes still could go in different directions, everything from remaining as we are as a Pac-10 that’s got some very bright days ahead of it to a bigger conference footprint,” Scott said. “I have the authority to take it in different directions, depending on various scenarios and discussions we’re going to have.”

Scott wouldn’t give any timeframe for expansion talks — other than to reiterate that the deadline is the end of this year — or discuss specific schools. However, it sounds as if he will aggressively court some of the biggest names in college sports, including Texas. The Big 12 is in danger of collapsing and could provide the Pac-10 with six new teams or more.

The Big 12 reportedly gave Missouri and Nebraska an ultimatum of Friday to decide if they will remain in the Big 12. If those schools leave, the Pac-10 could be strategically situated to gobble up Big 12 teams looking for bigger opportunities, including Texas. The most widely discussed scenario has Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado joining the Pac-10. There was some indication Sunday that Baylor could replace Colorado under pressure from the Texas Legislature.

If the Big 12 largely stays intact but is under the umbrella of the Pac-10, then expansion wouldn’t be a bad thing. Because then you keep some of the key rivalries (Texas vs. Oklahoma, Texas vs. Texas A&M, Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State) in place, but introduce a broader spectrum of games (i.e. Texas vs. USC). True Big 12 fans will lose out on seeing Nebraska and Missouri play Texas and Oklahoma every year, but at least the majority of the conference wouldn’t be dismantled. (Much like if Texas goes to the SEC or Pac-10, while Texas A&M and whomever else heads to the SEC, which has already been discussed.)

That said, if the Big 12 falls apart and most of these programs split up, then it’s hard to argue for expansion. I discussed this topic more last week, but the words “rivalries” and “tradition” will mean nothing if teams like Texas and Texas A&M head to different conferences. College football was built on rivalries and tradition and I think school presidents and athletic directors should strive to keep that in mind.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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