The thing that the Big 12 needs right now more than anything is time. Time to explore options, time to gather all the intelligence they can find to try and predict the future. Time to run scenarios. Unfortunately for them, they don't look like they are going to get it. It is THE critical time for the conference and 10 universities long term athletic futures will be all but decided in the next two weeks.
The hot rumor is that Texas, Texas AM, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech will join the Pac 10 with Colorado. The new 16 team....I guess "Pac 16"..... will split into two 'divisions' of eight teams(the new six with Arizona and ASU). It is unclear if there will be a championship game. We can't imagine that this would NOT include a championship game, but there are some indications that is the case.
The reality is that Arizona and Arizona State will become "Big 12" schools, that is the way that division will 'feel'.
It is really an intriguing mix of teams and we don't have an issue with it on the surface. At the same time, one must consider the plight of Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Baylor. Kansas is one of the five best programs of all time in college basketball; their future is clearly in doubt.
Another issue in that scenario is that Utah and Boise State are left out in the cold....again. Utah's case is much stronger than Boise State's. They have performed at a high level in both major sports and it is a large state school with a big city close by (Salt Lake City).
We are not there yet however, the Pac 10 could just add Utah to Colorado for 12. The Big 10 could stand firm at 12 with Nebraska. The Big 12 would be minus two teams, but New Mexico and TCU might be decent fits. At this point, this is the scenario we would endorse.
By landing Nebraska the Big 10 finally has their 12 teams to get a championship game. Unfortunately, they seem hellbent on destroying another conference, this time it is the Big East they have in their crosshairs. A move to 16 teams would include Rutgers and Syracuse almost certainly. Missouri has also been considered a near lock (bringing St. Louis and natural rivalries with Iowa and Illinois). Kansas would 'deserve' the 16th spot, but Maryland and Notre Dame are considered more likely.
No one can predict what Notre Dame will do, they have fought joining the Big 10 forever, that will likely continue.
The SEC has been extremely quiet throughout this whole mess. An odd position for a conference known for their bravado. On the flip side, it is the best conference for football in the country, it has produced the last four national champions(three different teams), and they already have a sweet TV deal with ESPN(in every home). Furthermore, the conference works geographically. They are in a position of strength and they know it.
Only Maryland seems to be getting heavily courted from the ACC right now. If Maryland should leave and join the Big 10, the ACC would have a decision to make about just adding one team or also making the move to 16.
It is this move that likely will decide the fate of FSU athletics. As long as the SEC is staying at 12, FSU will stay in the ACC. Should BOTH conferences "follow the herd" and move to 16 teams, FSU should grab their bags and run to the SEC offices to sign the contract.
Yes it is about the money, but it is just as much about being competitive and winning national titles. What if FSU did not take it, but Miami and South Florida did? We know Clemson will jump at the chance. Virginia Tech is also considered to have potential value to the SEC. Point here is that the SEC will find schools who do want to join, and those schools will benefit.
Unlike Miami, FSU does not have a history with the East schools like Pitt and WVU. Those are likely to be two schools added to a 16 team ACC. It makes much more sense to join the best conference and where we fit geographically and 'culturally' as an athletic department.
There seems to be some debate about what the SEC has to gain by expanding. We have a hard time seeing how FSU, Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech don't bring a lot to the table.....that is 8 National Titles since 1980.....3 rapid fanbases with a huge market(Miami) for the 4th.
We think FSU likes things exactly as they are, unfortunately this 'movement' is gaining steam and we have to ready to react if some of the situations do become reality.
Where does UF really stand on FSU for the SEC? Do Miami and FSU want to stay together(great rivalry in baseball as well)? These questions don't need answers....yet. But that day appears to be coming.