The seemingly inevitable advent of college mega-conferences is upon us. And while it means that traditional rivals may get torn apart, you kind of have to sit back and admire the evil genius of it all, at least when it comes to the way the Big 10 and Pac-`0 commissioners have played everyone else.
SB Nation's Washington State blog, Coug Center, explains how Larry Scott has manipulated the media to create a wedge in the Big 12, and just possibly the opening he needs to pluck half of the league:
Word of Pac-10 expansion leaked in the early afternoon on Thursday. At the same time, the Big XII was having their annual meeting. All the Big XII teams were gathered together, with a press conference called for later in the day on Thursday. Shortly before the press conference, word of the Pac-10 making a move surfaced, sending the Big XII into panic mode. What happened next can only be describe as the ultimate game of "Do you like me? Check yes or no". The Big XII asked all of its members to pledge their solidarity to the conference in a show of unity in an attempt to quell the rumors. Problem was, Nebraska, Missouri, and Colorado all reportedly checked "maybe". The press conference was canceled and the meetings ended without a clear resolution.
What resulted from the Big XII meetings was a deadline for the schools that didn't pledge allegiance to the conference to voice their intentions. The deadline is May 14th, giving them all of this week to calculate the next move. This gave the Pac-10 a window of opportunity to make a move. On Sunday, Scott finally addressed the rumors, announcing that the Pac-10 schools had given him unanimous authority to move forward with expansion. While the grandiose expansion plans of the Pac-10 appear to hinge on the actions of Nebraska, Larry Scott is waging a full fledged media war in an attempt to get his way.
The Big XII, and its survival, is the key to expansion for the Pac-10. By floating that the Pac-10 wants to take a bite out of the Big XII, it creates doubt in the minds of the rest of the schools in the conference. If Nebraska leaves, so does Texas and vice-versa. Either scenario places the conference in a precarious position. By creating doubt that Texas will stick around, Larry Scott may just be able to force Nebraska to jump to the Big Ten for fear of being left out in the cold.