What is Rutgers' Status In Re-alignment Game?

Colorado announced it is Pac-10 bound and Nebraska is poised to say it is heading to the Big Ten, but where does this leave Rutgers? The Scarlet Knights are long to be thought of as a possible fit for the Big Ten, but what is the latest? Go inside to find out.

Colorado is now in the Pac-11, which will be growing to the Pac-12 or Pac-16 or something else between Friday and Armageddon.

Also, within the next few days Nebraska should be officially announcing its decision to move to the Big Ten, which ironically, would mean the conference could be called the Big 12 since current Big 12 is thisclose to imploding.

So, where does all this leave Rutgers?

Well, the same place as it was before this whole re-alignment pillaging began. And that is waiting on the Big Ten to move at whatever pace it wants to, although sources said the expansion timeframe has been dramatically altered by this week's events.

With virtually no bargaining power, Rutgers falls in line behind the decisions needed to be made by Nebraska, Texas, the rest of the Big 12, and Notre Dame.

According to sources, Rutgers remains an attractive target to the Big Ten for a variety of reasons, but no offer to join the league has been made. Otherwise, Rutgers would have accepted it by now. But, rest assured, discussions have taken place.

Until the Big 12's remaining schools know what is going on, and until Notre Dame makes a decision, the Rutgers' move to the Big Ten will remain a strong possibility, and not a reality. The first thing that must get settled is with Nebraska and Texas.

The media reports have Friday as a target day for Nebraska to announce its intentions, with all signs pointing toward a move to the Big Ten unless Texas and the remaining members of the Big 12 can force an immediate change of plans and hold the crumbling conference together.

In the next few days Texas could also make its intentions known, and a move to the Pac-10 would also likely signal Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and either Texas A&M or Baylor jumping with the Longhorns.

Missouri, like Rutgers, is at the mercy of the Big Ten. Both schools know it is in their best interests to move to the conference, but possess no leverage.

The Big Ten, meanwhile, can sit and wait for calmer waters after the Big 12 fallout.

Whether the Big Ten uses that time to bring Rutgers, as well as another school or two from the Big East, to convince Notre Dame to join at the benefit of its non-football sports is another intriguing possibility, but at this point nothing more than conjecture.

The Big Ten already will have enough members to support a conference championship game, and since it holds so much power because the Big Ten Television Network payouts of more than $20 million annually to its members, it also holds the most bargaining chips to pick and choose who it wants. And when it wants it.

The Big Ten is the conference driving this re-alignment, and commissioner Jim Delaney hinted at a potential plan when he said the expansion could happen in phases.

Since the Big 12 issued an ultimatum to Nebraska to decide if it was going to remain in the conference or bolt for the Big Ten, the process was significantly sped up.

But there is also still much confusion surrounding the re-organization of the college sports world. And, to be frank, several irresponsible media outlets are adding to the confusion with erroneous reports, like the one out of Missouri last month and the one out of Indianapolis on Wednesday saying Rutgers, among others, were already invited to join the Big Ten.

The last couple of days provided movement in the college football landscape, but the real seismic activity still needs to take place.

Unfortunately for Rutgers, the lack of bargaining power means it will have to wait for the aftershocks before it knows where it will fall.

The Big Ten, according to sources, remains the most likely destination. But if that does not happen, don't overlook a possible jump to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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