Is it really Happening? Where do we stand now?
Here's what we do know: Chip Brown of Orangebloods is reporting that , Nebraska will announce their intention to join the Big 10 conference tomorrow.The Nebraska System Board of Regents have placed an item on their schedule for tomorrow: "Resolution regarding UNL athletic conference alignment." So, is it a done deal? Not yet, but I have to admit just about everything Brown has reported in the last week has come true. So, why doubt him now?
.That's the first domino to fall in what is sure to be a crazy couple of weeks. Nebraska, by most accounts, is the lynchpin that held the Big 12 together. Brown believes that Nebraska's departure will officially kill the Big 12 Conference. Texas Longhorn athletic director, DeLoss Dodds, informed his coaches, that UT was unsuccessful in their efforts to save the Big 12 as we know it. Brown is now reporting that the Pac 10 will stick to their plan, invite Texas, A&M, Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado to join their league. Brown has said that those schools are expected to accept the invitations.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I've already written a fairly comprehensive post on this, and nothing has really changed to alter my opinions. We do have enough information, now to make more educated guesses as to how this will play out. These are the major changes that have occurred since my original post on Saturday that have altered the UTEP and C-USA landscape.
- Baylor appears to be the odd man out, not Colorado as rumored Sunday and Monday. It appears Colorado will get the nod.
- Missouri doesn't appear to be a lock for a Big 10 bid. If the Big 10 does expand to 16 teams, the belief is that the Tigers will be asked to go. However, the word right now is that the league is set at 12 and will only advance to 14 if they can get Notre Dame. Brown tweeted that at least two schools seem to be ahead of Missouri and that it does seem likely that the Big 10 will only expand to 14.
- Conference USA has hired Chuck Neinas,the former Commissioner of the Big 8, to help guide the league through the upcoming realignment. Memphis Commercial Appeal writer Dan Wolken was quick to point out that Neinas has strong connections with former Big 8 schools Kansas, Kansas State, and Colorado.
If schools like Colorado, Kansas and Kansas State were left without a legitimate BCS option, C-USA would undoubtedly be interested, and that's where Neinas may come in.
All four of the potential Big 12 orphans were once members of the Big 8, where Neinas has deep connections, including hiring the athletic directors at Colorado and Kansas.
So, there have been some major developments but there are still too many wheels in motion to have any concrete idea as to where UTEP and the C-USA stands. Expect Memphis, whose efforts to gain entry in to the Big East, to attempt and snag Nebraska's spot in the Big 12. The Tigers are so desperate to bolt the C-USA that they wouldn't mind joining the seemingly defunct league simply to align themselves with Kansas and Missouri.
We all need to follow what Neinas does in the coming days. Yahoo! Sports writer Dan Wetzel thinks that Neinas will be able to get the attention of the Big 12 castaways, something that wouldn't have been likely yesterday. But, even if they did somehow consider the C-USA, wouldn't it require booting some existing teams? Is Britton Banowsky pondering a 16 team C-USA? Does Baylor's single status increase the chance of reforming a version of the SWC? In the coming days, we should have some answers.
Got a realignment theory? Drop it in the comments.