Big 12 expansion: Sticking at 10, says commissioner

Who's next after West Virginia and TCU? Will the Big 12 hold steady at 10 teams indefinitely? Check back here for the latest college conference realignment news.

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How Big 12/Big East merger would've looked

A Baylor vs. UCF postseason game? Where have we seen that before?


Dodds talks ACC alliance, A&M series

DeLoss Dodds thinks an alliance between the Big 12 and ACC could be a stabilizing factor for college football. He offered opinions on that and other topics Monday.


Bowlsby denies Big 12 expansion again

A partial history of the Big 12 commissioner's first nine months in office, as told via his comments on whether the league will expand beyond 10 teams. I might've missed some.


Big 12 has expansion candidates

The Big 12 has targeted the Florida State Seminoles, Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals as potential candidates to expand and realign into their conference.


Maryland to drop ACC exit fee for others?

Florida State president Eric Barron is keeping a close eye on Maryland, and the $50 million dollar exit fee the Terrapins could whittle down while leaving the ACC for the Big Ten.


Big 12 Finally Announces New 13-Year Media Rights Deal

Rumors began to swirl about a Big 12 media deal with ABC/ESPN and FOX regarding football airing rights way back in late June and early July. Since then, there has been a long wait to see when it would all finally be made official. Finally, on Thursday, the deal was reportedly completed and on Friday the Big 12 announced that the 13-year deal was finished.

The new 13-year deal with ESPN begins with the upcoming 2012-13 season and runs through 2024-25, replacing the previous eight-year agreement that was scheduled to run through 2015-16. The new Big 12/ESPN contract now runs concurrently with the 13-year agreement between the Conference and FOX. That agreement, announced last spring, has been augmented to reflect the expansion of rights and platforms.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Big 12, but the money involved was reported to be $2.6 billion over the 13 years of the deal.

A press conference announcing the media deal will be streamed live on at 10:30 a.m. ET. The stream of the 'Media Teleconference' can be found here.


Watch 'Shutdown Fullback' Wrangle The Big 12!

The world's only college football show moseys into the heart of America to review and preview a conference sure to kick you right in the [Rest of this sentence available only on the Longhorn Network].


Big 12 Expansion: Only Notre Dame Would Add TV Money, Said Chuck Neinas

Remember how we all said we'd revisit conference realignment once the playoff plan was set? Guess what! The playoff plan is set now, so now we have to pay attention to Big 12 expansion rumors again. Oh boy! Where were we? Still the Florida State and Clemson things?

Doesn't sound like it, according to a memo by outgoing commissioner Chuck Neinas:

Both representatives of ESPN/ABC and Fox Sports indicated that Notre Dame's involvement with the Big 12 Conference would increase the value of the conference relative to future television and also improve the image of the conference nationwide.

Our television partners agreed that the only new member that would enhance the Big 12 value for television was Notre Dame.

Remember when Boston College's AD denied TV partners play a major role in conference realignment? Neinas isn't talking about being instructed to pick up one or another team, and it might not matter to ESPN which conference Notre Dame joins anyway, since it owns ACC inventory too, and even more of that than it does of the Big 12's.

If Notre Dame were to join -- Texas' AD has mentioned courting the Irish to begin transitioning in as their NBC deal winds down -- then maybe FSU could come along as an addition, but this might just kill the idea of the Noles and an ACC mate coming aboard.

For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.

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Big 12 Expansion: Clemson BOT Echoes Dabo Swinney's '1,000 Percent' Comment

It appeared Clemson coach Dabo Swinney may have spoken slightly out of turn earlier in the week when he said the Tigers remain "1,000 percent committed" to the ACC and blamed reporters, bloggers, the four winds, probably Steve Spurrier, 1985 Topps checklist cards and beagles -- all beagles -- for the recent spate of Big 12 rumors. Clemson fans didn't like that he appeared to be cutting the legs out from under the Board of Trustees, which was set to meet days later to discuss matters of import.

But the BOT actually pretty much sounds just like Dabo anyway. Here's Clemson Board of Trustees chairman David Wilkins, via TigerNet:

"We are 1,000 percent in the ACC," Wilkins told TigerNet. "There are no offers, no discussions and we are concentrating on being the best we can be in the ACC. We are in the ACC, and we need to work together on making the ACC better."

"What we need to do is have the premier sports program in the league we are now in," Wilkins said. "And that is the ACC. That is where all of our effort and focus needs to be."

Just weeks ago, Wilkins said that Clemson would be wise to listen to an offer to join another conference, but that one hadn't been made.

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Dabo Swinney On Sammy Watkins Punishment, Big 12 Expansion

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney, newly extended contract in back pocket, was topical with the media on Tuesday, producing a pair of nuggets of interest to a couple of important stories. There's a little something for fans of both actual football and conference room football up ahead:

He's not all that interested in the conference realignment stuff, but Swinney might be the first Clemson higher-up to deny interest. We've heard denials from at least one rep at every other ACC school, but the only Clemson comment I've seen so far was the Board of Trustees' affirmation of general interest.

However! If star wide receiver Sammy Watkins is to miss playing time for his drug arrest earlier this offseason, that would mean missing, say, a half or more against the Auburn Tigers, the team Clemson draws in Week 1. That would put a serious hamperin' on Clemson's offense, as we've gone ahead and tallied here.

For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.

While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together:

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Big 12 Expansion: Florida State Not Quite As Broke As It Seemed

As Tomahawk Nation's Bud Elliott tried to tell you, Florida State isn't quite as broke as certain financial revelations would cause it to appear. FSU's budget status has helped ramp up hopes within the fan base of a Big 12 exit, but the situation isn't quite as dire as that reported $2.4 million deficit would make it appear.

From Warchant's transcript of Spetman's explanation:

The athletic department has a $1.5 million reserve that the boosters are holding for us that we have had there and we were looking maybe long term and that can be a possibility, in which it still will, to use that for the painting of the stadium. Well in the short term and what we know for the future and we're not ready to paint the stadium for a few years, we were going to go to the president and be allowed to use that $1.5 million. So we have closed that gap, and we will go into next year with a balanced budget for next year.

You can assume FSU fans would prefer to be in the Big 12 than the ACC whether there's technically a deficit or enough stuff can be slid around to make the whole thing float. Because the stadium needs painted, everyone. It makes the whole thing look nice, sure, but it's also vital to the preservation of the facility. It's why they constantly paint the Brooklyn Bridge. Like, they just paint and re-paint that thing all year long. You should read "The World Without Us." It mentions that kind of stuff. There are also videos about it on YouTube.

Think about that, 'Noles.

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Florida State Meeting To Include Big 12 Expansion Talk

You heard FSU-to-the-Big-12 rumors would pick up quite a bit as the week winds down, and yep! You heard right! As the school's Board of Trustees prepares to meet, here's the latest word on the street:

As we learned earlier in the week in greater detail than ever before, realignment denials mean something more than they mean nothing. However, this meeting has apparently been planned for a while, with the realignment element only recently being added to the docket.

And, of course, it's a meeting with FSU's BOT, which will want to talk Big 12 with absolutely anybody and everybody, based on its recent comments. Doesn't necessarily mean Barron's on board at all or will soon change his public course. Then again again (so many reversals here!), if the Board is all in, and the Big 12 is actually interested (which we don't know for sure), then Barron will find himself being rapidly convinced of their position.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Conference Realignment: How To Poach Schools Without Getting Sued

Why do conferences go out of their way to make it look like they're not trying to take someone else's teams? Twitter superstar and real-life lawyer @BobbyBigWheel explains it all.


SEC Coaches On Playoffs, Permanent Rivalries, Big 12 Expansion

It's time for SEC meetings, which means lots of college football coaches saying things on the issues of the day.


Big 12 Expansion: Florida State Next To Deny Contact's Been Made

You may recall Florida St. Seminoles Board of Trustees chair Andy Haggard from his starring turn as that guy who got real mad about the ACC that one time. After insisting FSU should listen if the Big 12 comes calling, Haggard is denying that the Big 12 has in fact done so:

"We have not heard a thing and we have not approached them and they have not approached us," said Andy Haggard, the chair of FSU's Board of Trustees. "If anybody approaches us, we are certainly going to listen to them. We have an obligation to Florida State to listen. You can't close the door."

Speculation on the Noles has reached the point at which college football observers respond with a wink and a nod to anything said by any official on any side of the issue. Just two weeks ago, a denial by Haggard would've slammed the story shut for the time being, but now everyone's convinced it's really happening, so we're all a bunch of super spies all of a sudden.

The Miami Hurricanes, Virginia Tech Hokies and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets all previously alleged that no talks have happened, while multiple reports claim otherwise.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Big 12 Expansion: Miami Denies Contact, Says It's 'Committed To The ACC'

The Miami Hurricanes have been mentioned in a number of Big 12 expansion rumors, most prominently whatever TCU's athletic director was citing here. But unlike the Clemson Tigers and Florida St. Seminoles, the Canes aren't giving any quotes that can be read as curious interest. In fact, Miami's denying the whole thing, a la the Virginia Tech Hokies and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

The complete statement by athletic director Shawn Eichorst, in which Miami's leadership talks up Miami's leadership:

We are so fortunate at Miami. Our University, under past and present visionary leadership and with an 87-year history of achievement, is strong in our foundation and in our beliefs. It allows us to stay steady when there are stormy seas, and that core strength holds us together today more than ever.

Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004, the University of Miami has worked hard to measure up to the high academic and athletic standards set by our peers and we could not be more proud than to call the ACC our home. We are confident in our progress and in our accomplishments, yet there is still much work to be done. We are committed to the ACC and to doing our part to continue the tradition of excellence across the board. In that regard, we have not engaged in any formal or informal discussions with any other conferences.

The additions of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University, as well as the new exclusive television partnership with ESPN, signal the very strength and nationwide appeal of the ACC. Fans will be able to watch more ACC sports and more ACC games in more ways than ever before with the most powerful brand in sports behind us. This is an exciting time to be a part of the ACC and we are honored and humbled to be among its members.

For more on Canes football, visit Miami blog The 7th Floor.

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ACC Wants Champions Bowl Partner, Georgia Tech And Virginia Tech Deny Realignment Rumors

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets joined the realignment rumor convention last weekend, when Ingram Smith reported they'd be among the ACC teams the Big 12 would consider taking in the event of a Florida St. Seminoles acquisition. AD Dan Radakovich is now denying the Jackets have made contact -- Virginia Tech is of course also again denying they want out of the ACC -- but the most interesting comment of his is likely this one:

Radakovich also told fans that the league is trying to develop a bowl game similar to the one that the Big 12 and SEC announced Friday. That game will match those two leagues' conference champions should they not make the expected four-team playoff. He said there is a great desire for the ACC to match up its conference champion, should it not make the playoff, "and play a quality bowl game."

Radakovich mentioned the Big Ten and SEC as potential partners.

Better late than never for that kind of idea, yes?

The ACC won't be able to get the SEC's or Big Ten's champ, of course, as those teams will be committed to the Rose Bowl and this new Big 12 venture, respectively, in the event that they miss the playoffs. The Big East remains available. Winner gets to play its basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden, maybe?

There's also the option to try and pair of the ACC's winner against another league's runner-up, which sounds like the plan the ACC has in mind.

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John Swofford Confident ACC Schools Are Trustworthy, Uninterested In Big 12

The ACC is ripe for the pickin', if the latest college football realignment rumors are to be believed. You see, the Big 12 has gone from the hunted to the hunter and is now poised to pick off a few schools, should it choose to expand. And those schools would, from all indications, come from the ACC.

There's rumors of Florida and Clemson expressing interest in the Big 12, and the two would make pretty ideal travel partners from a Big 12 standpoint. But these are just rumors and, if the past is any indication, nobody really knows what will happen next.

ACC commissioner John Swofford, however, is pretty confident his conference is on a solid foundation. He also believes everyone is ALL-IN right now and trusts that the schools he oversees are trustworthy.

This is where we drop in the ironic quote.

Swofford also said he would be disappointed if any universities were not being straightforward with him, "Yeah, we've got a league in which, you know, people sit in a room and talk very forthrightly with each other. There's a lot of respect within the room, there is a lot of trust within the room, and on this particular subject, and by the subject I mean conference affiliation, I think we've all learned, or should have over the last two or three years that there are an awful lot of things put out there that have no foundation or basis of truth and often times are irresponsible in being out there in the first place."

It's not as if any institution has pledged its allegiance one day while working a backroom deal to bail out of the ship for calmer waters at the same time. Nor is it as if Swofford and the ACC have regularly picked off other Big East schools out of the blue by way of the same dealings.

If anything, nobody should be trusted when it comes to the shifting landscape of realignment. And if Swofford really does believe he's sitting pretty, then he and his conference are actually sitting ducks, in all likelihood.

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Conference Realignment: Notre Dame Affirms Big East Membership

As Big East meetings continue in Florida, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish remain at the center of conference realignment's future. Notre Dame is a Big East member in sports besides football, meaning it has both its own football independence and league membership at stake as the map shifts.

The Irish say they're sticking with the current arrangement, despite contact with Texas keeping the rumors and speculation at maximum.

"Our operating assumption is that we will remain aligned with the Big East," AD Jack Swarbrick said. "I don't want to create the impression that there's some active evaluation of that going on. As I said many times, we're sensitive to the changes and we monitor them closely."

Swarbrick also downplayed his communications with Texas AD DeLoss Dodds.

With the Big 12, ACC and Big Ten all very presumably interested in Notre Dame, that makes four of the top six conferences directly invested in what comes of the Irish. We might start to find out more after the 2014 playoff plan is announced next month, but we'll definitely continue to see developments as 2015, when ND's NBC contract is up, nears.

For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down, plus SB Nation Indiana.

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Big 12 Expansion Rumors All But Confirmed By TCU Athletic Director?

Rumors of the Florida St. Seminoles and perhaps the Clemson Tigers leaving the ACC for the Big 12: they are months old and have been widely discussed all over the place. The Miami Hurricanes too? Yes, to a lesser extent. But so far, it's been denials all over the place by school officials, unless if we count Board of Trustee members.

But no more! TCU Horned Frogs athletic director Chris Del Conte appears to have either confirmed the whole thing or addressed them in such a way that they can be interpreted as confirmed. I leave you to decide. Now, this gets complicated, but here's what happened:

According to Chris Level, who is the publisher of and a co-host of a radio show on 104.3 FM in Lubbock; he Tweeted that Del Conte said that the once dead Big 12 "now has schools like Florida State, Clemson and Miami trying to get in."

TCU hasn't even played in the Big 12 yet, and it's out here sort of confirmin' rumors. Rumors that Texas has cast as mere fantasies a couple times now. Complete fantasies pouring from the mouths of deranged sailors who've been dragged ashore after having been abandoned at sea for months! Guess not?

It's all in the inflection, either way:

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Notre Dame To The Big 12 And Other Best/Worst Case Scenarios For Conference Realignment

While we wait for the late-summer conference realignment scramble, let's go ahead and prepare ourselves for the best and the worst.


Big 12 Expansion: Georgia Tech Also Reaches Out, According To Report

By the end of the week, about half the ACC will have reportedly contacted the Big 12 about making a move. Florida State and Clemson rumors have been with us for months now, joined over the past couple weeks by Miami, Pitt and others. Now Chip Brown of confirms Ingram Smith's report that the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have unofficially joined in:

One of my best sources in the Big 12 just indicated that Georgia Tech has also put out informal feelers to the Big 12 about the Big 12's potential expansion plans, and that source said Georgia Tech would be very appealing as a potential expansion target because of its strong academics.

The Big 12 has only 10 teams at the moment, so it could bring on more than just two if so inclined. You'd have to wonder if Georgia Tech could surpass Clemson as a candidate. While the Tigers have a superior football culture and fan base, the Jackets offer top academics and a piece of the football-rabid Atlanta market (they surely don't deliver it themselves, but you can bet Texas and Oklahoma in Atlanta would draw attention).

For more on Jackets football, visit Georgia Tech blog From The Rumble Seat, plus SB Nation Atlanta.

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Big 12 Expansion: Texas Admits Courting Notre Dame, But Opposes Realignment

It's been reported for almost a year now that the Texas Longhorns have looked to bring the Notre Dame Fighting Irish into the Big 12, even perhaps as an eventual Thanksgiving Day rival. Now, via Brett McMurphy's excellent reporting, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds has gone on the record, describing some of the options Notre Dame's discussed with Texas:

"Notre Dame has options," Dodds said. "I think they love their position. I certainly think they can continue to do what they're doing and do it well and be a major player. But they have options.

"We've talked to Notre Dame about the Big 12 ... They could put some football here [by playing a few non-conference games against Big 12 opponents]."

Remember where we were just last year, when Notre Dame was still a sure thing to eventually land in the Big Ten, with Jim Boeheim even telling the Irish they'd weather realignment and end up there? Then, for like a week, they were gone to the ACC? Now the Big 12 is the only landing spot that makes sense to anybody.

Dodds does say that the Horns are against bringing any more teams into the Big 12. But every conference* will make an exception on just about every rule for Notre Dame.

* Except the ACC, which wouldn't let Notre Dame "put some football" there.

For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down, plus SB Nation Indiana.

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Big 12 Expansion: FSU, Clemson In Touch, But Texas Still Wants Notre Dame

Conference realignment news is going to be with us all summer, and based on the coming playoff system, the Big 12 and SEC alliance, Notre Dame's TV contract, and league changes that are already set to take place years down the road, it'll be with us for farther than that. But we can still try and get a sense of exactly where things stand for the next month or so.

During his radio show, Chip Brown of talked (starting around the 2 minute mark) about the current state of things. The basics:

David WunderlichDavid Wunderlich@Year2

Big 12 won't do anything til after playoff is set, ACC's football schools are using back channels to talk to B12, and Texas is trying to pump the brakes on expansion to wait to see where Notre Dame is at.

The Notre Dame part is no surprise, as that's been in the news for almost a solid year now. Those schools include Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech (which also has SEC rumors of its own), and the playoff stuff won't be set until June. It's worth noting that the report from Brown, who covers the Big 12 side and not the ACC side, has the ACC schools approaching the Big 12 and not the other way around.

In the event of a move, the Big 12 will want that to be the official story line in order to avoid accusations of tampering with the ACC's schools. The SEC did this masterfully in its pickups of Missouri and Texas A&M. If FSU and others do join the Big 12, look for several statements from the conference about not really wanting to expand, but being presented with an offer too good to pass up.

Brown also revisits the moment when it looked like Texas could join the ACC, but the ACC declined. Imagine what we'd be talking about right now if that had happened.

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What's Your College Football Program Worth? Introducing Realignment Value Rankings

If we're going to follow conference realignment as if it's a sport, we might as well come up with a scoring system.


Big 12 Expansion: FSU To Big 12 'Inevitable,' According To Report

The chatter surrounding Florida State's movement from the ACC to the Big 12 is growing, and fun, for people who are big fans of chatter. One person -- Ingram Smith of -- reports that it's inevitable, and that Clemson is an "almost certain" addition as well.

(However, Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World describes the Big 12 as still very much divided on the subject, and Chip Brown of adds, "anyone saying Notre Dame, Florida State or Clemson are done deals are talking to people with wishful thinking.")

Smith has it from a pair of sources "with the strongest ties possible" to FSU's athletics department that the Seminoles intend to leave the conference, and that one of those sources said it is "inevitable." If so, keep an eye out for a potential continued partnership with the SEC.

Smith reports a number of specific details, citing how long the two sides have reportedly been in touch, and goes on to say that the process will begin in June:

Important dates to watch will be: May 30th, the Big 12 will have its conference meetings. June 15th, the new commissioner of the Big 12 when Bob Bowlsby will take office and August 15th, the deadline for any institution to withdraw from the ACC.

So, whether or not this report is true, all we have to do is, you know, wait.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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SEC-Big 12 Alliance Should Be A Rivalry Series, Not Just A Bowl Game

The new bowl game partnership between the Big 12 and SEC is neat and all, but we could be just a couple moves away from something huge.


ACC Realignment: John Swofford Not Worried About Florida State

While some had wondered whether the Florida St. Seminoles would call for ACC commissioner John Swofford's job during league meetings this week -- due to the many rumors about FSU's displeasure with the ACC -- everything seems to be on course so far. On the same day that former FSU linebacker and trustee Derrick Brooks claimed the Big 12 and the Noles had mutual interest, Swofford dismissed pretty much everything:

"Obviously, Florida State's representatives were here, but in terms of it affecting our business, it really didn't," Swofford said. "It was business as usual as we move ahead becoming a 14-team league.

"We've got 12 important members, and we'll soon have 14 important members," he added. "And moving ahead with the implementation that needs to be made, decisions that need to be made, and the start of an excellent new television contract and just the normal, operational kinds of things that we do on an annual basis that aren't really newsworthy (or) sexy, so to speak. ... We just had an excellent meeting in regard to all of that.

"And in terms of Florida State, they are a valuable member, just like our other 11 - and soon our other 13 - are."

Guarantee you there are many FSU fans seething a little bit about that last line. Florida State's technically more valuable than any of the other 11 most of the time, but no commissioner's going to say that.


Derrick Brooks Says Big 12 Contacted Florida State First

Former Florida St. Seminoles linebacker Derrick Brooks -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one, for our NFL readers -- has made some pretty big news in the great Big 12 realignment story, telling Tim Brando that the Big 12 actually contacted FSU, not the other way around.

Former player says some stuff we should ignore? Hard to say, as Brooks is also a former FSU trustee. Athletic director Randy Spetman says, "I don't know where Derrick got that."

If true, that would change pretty much everything about this story, as the Big 12 has been silent, Bob Bowlsby has called for a few weeks to get his freaking feet in the doggone door before everyone starts asking him about the goshdang Seminoles (he didn't say it like that), and DeLoss Dodds has said there's nothing to the whole thing. Thus, we should approach Brooks' claim with a good bit of skepticism.

But still! FSU-to-the Big 12 stuff remains in the news, and will continue to do so for at least a few more weeks, in all likelihood. It'll be hard for either side to release a definitive final answer until the new playoff plan gets firmed up.


Florida State Might Want Big 12, But Is Interest Mutual?

Florida St. Seminoles fans and trustees have made it clear they'd like to see the program at least listen to what the Big 12 may have to offer, while the president and athletic director have publicly said they're committed to the ACC. But what about the Big 12?

There haven't really been any reports of any specific interest coming form the heartland, and that's after many months worth of reports that the league is interested in BYU, Louisville, Cincinnati and others. It's not like the Big 12 is an iron drum of secrecy. There's Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville saying FSU would be a nice get, and that's about it.

Brett McMurphy reports the conference still isn't even settled on whether it wants to expand at all, likely waiting until it gets to see how the new playoff plan's money shakes out before making a move:

And, oh by the way, the Big 12 is very satisfied with its current 10-member makeup.

"The Big 12 is literally on the fence as far as expansion," an industry source said. "One day, they're like 'Let's expand.' The next day, it's 'No, let's not.' There's no reason for them to expand except if there are some compelling reasons."

Since the playoff stuff won't be settled until later this summer, expect many more weeks of this before we can even begin talking about it for real. Hope you like conference realignment rumors, because they're never, ever going to stop!


FSU To Big 12? 'No Conversations,' Says Texas' DeLoss Dodds

Will the Florida St. Seminoles leave the ACC for the Big 12? We've now heard from just about every level of FSU's leadership, while Big 12 admins have been silent on the matter. Unless you count the Texas Longhorns as the official voice of the conference, which often seems like just the sort of thing you should do.

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has again commented on the FSU rumors, affirming that the two sides haven't been in touch and pointing out that Florida State is pretty far away.

As others have pointed out, Tallahassee is closer to, say, Dallas than Morgantown is. Others have also pointed out that Texas, along with three other Big 12 schools, have given serious thought to joining the Pac-12 at least twice that we know of.


Conference Realignment: The Big 12 Should Swing For The Fences

The Big 12 has, on multiple occasions, found itself on life support in the last couple of years of conference realignment. For a brief moment, however, it has a chance to go on the offensive. It should not waste the opportunity.


Big 12 Expansion: Miami Trustee Calls Move 'Highly Unlikely'

When buzz about the Florida St. Seminoles eyeing the Big 12 along with a mysterious accomplice first sprang up, it was the Clemson Tigers who were believed to be in the running. Since then, the Maryland Terrapins, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and others have also been mentioned, but Dan Wetzel reports the Miami Hurricanes could get the longest look.

Miami's Board of Trustees, for its part, is not quite as gung-ho about the whole thing as FSU's is, but then again, nobody is really quite as gung-ho as FSU's Board of Trustees. From CBS Sports' Brian London:

"It's highly unlikely," the BOT member, who wished to remain nameless, said. "I'm not sure Miami's academic standards are a good fit in the Big 12."

It's fun to read this stuff from 1990 in light of the current state of realignment. At the time, FSU thought Miami would end up in the SEC, which led to disappointment when the Noles went into the ACC themselves. Twenty years later, we're talking about them both leaving for the Big 12, which didn't even exist in 1990.

For more on Canes football, visit Miami blog The 7th Floor.


Conference Realignment: Florida State, Big 12 Rumors Now Include Statements, Actual Reporting

Unless you're the type to check in on conference realignment rumors during the weekend (bless you, if so), you may have missed some of the Florida St. Seminoles excitement over the past few days. The big takeaways are all in this great piece by Dan Wetzel, which contains much of the original reporting on whether FSU is actually a potential Big 12 target or not. There were certainly a number of statements, albeit conflicting, from FSU leadership that make this story look like it's really heading somewhere.

The Wetzel story helps clear up some of the concern over the ACC's new TV deal. For one thing, it's largely backloaded, so by the time Florida State and others actually see the new contract pay off, the ACC could have fallen far to the back of the pack again anyway. People in the ACC are legitimately worried about FSU, while those in the Big 12 seem to view the whole thing as an interesting potential surprise opportunity, according to the story. Wetzel also reports the Miami Hurricanes -- not the Clemson Tigers -- could be a more likely traveling companion for the Noles in the event of a conference switch.

Also, from earlier in the weekend, in chronological order:

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.


Conference Realignment: FSU President Issues Statement On Big 12 Rumors

Well, not "rumors," per se, but rather the head of FSU's Board of Trustees saying the Florida St. Seminoles should listen to what the Big 12 may or may not have to offer. Not exactly rumory anymore. Oh, and coach Jimbo Fisher going along with whatever he was asked about the Big 12.

Either way, here's Florida State president Eric Barron on the matter:

Florida State University regrets that misinformation about the provisions of the ACC contract has unnecessarily renewed the controversy and speculation about University's athletic conference alignment. Florida State respects the views of the Chair of its Board of Trustees that, of course, any university would examine options that would impact university academics, athletics or finances. At the same time, Florida State is not seeking an alternative to the ACC nor are we considering alternatives. Our current commitments remain strong.

BOT chairman Andy Haggard's issues with the ACC, as shared by, were indeed incorrect on the exact matter of third-tier media rights, a central issue in the whole dispute. However, Barron isn't exactly in sole charge of this matter, and if the board were to eventually decide it's time to go, then it would be time to go.

Then again, all we've heard is a bunch of anger from FSU's side and very little actual interest from the Big 12's side. (It's hard to imagine the Big 12 wouldn't be interested.)

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.


Florida State BOT Chair Andy Haggard Rips ACC, Would Listen To Big 12 Offer

We thought the Florida State to the Big 12 talk was over. It seemed the door was firmly closed and locked on Friday. The Seminoles' athletic director shot the rumors down, then Texas AD DeLoss Dodds did the same.

But expansion and realignment are never that simple. Add in the mess of a situation at Florida State, in a leadership sense, and we've got a recipe for dissent.

For example, take Florida State Board of Trustees Chairman Andy Haggard's comments via

"How do you not look into that option," asked Haggard. "On behalf of the Board of Trustees I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer. We have to do what is in Florida State's best interest."

Haggard is fed up with the ACC and isn't going to take it. He ripped the conference for giving up third-tier broadcasting rights for football while keeping them for basketball. That move, he said, shows a bias towards the Carolina schools, and puts FSU in a bad spot.

So on one hand there's the athletic directors squashing the rumors. On the other there's the Board of Trustees at FSU apparently endorsing, perhaps begging for, a move to the Big 12 -- or at least listening to what the conference could bring to the table. And we're back to square one again.

Get ready for a fun summer!

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.


Florida State To Big 12 Rumors Have No Basis, Says Texas AD

Completely unfounded speculation about the Florida St. Seminoles and an ACC accomplice heading to the Big 12 has now been specifically rebuffed by FSU, but how about from the Big 12's side? For an official statement, we should probably turn to new commish Bob Bowlsby. Or, for an even more official word, Texas Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds.

Add that to the UT and Texas Tech officials cited off the record by Kirk Bohls, and we now have denials from all over. We can probably go ahead and once again declare this one dead for now, just as we did the last time it flared up for absolutely no specific reason.

It's still a fun scenario to play around with, so don't expect the conversation to just up and halt.


Big 12 Expansion: Florida State AD Says 'We're Committed To The ACC'

Here we have the first official comment or report from pretty much anyone anywhere on the Florida St. Seminoles possibly making a move to the Big 12. And it's a denial, from FSU athletic director Randy Spetman, who tells the Orlando Sentinel he's "not out negotiating."

More from Spetman:

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, FSU athletics director Randy Spetman said his programs were "committed to the ACC" and that any conversations about the school switching conferences is pure nonsense.

"We're in the ACC. We're committed to the ACC," Spetman said. "That's where our president and the board of trustees has committed to, so we're great partners in the ACC."

Rumors will persist, of course, since conference realignment moves all the way back to Nebraska have been preceded by official denials. To this point, it's all been speculation, which was sparked again when the ACC revealed its new TV contract, which will bank the Noles and other programs noticeably less than they could make after an entirely hypothetical jump to the Big 12.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.


Big 12 Expansion: Florida State, Clemson Rumors Denied By Texas Officials

Maybe one day we'll look back all this speculation about the Florida St. Seminoles and Clemson Tigers joining the Big 12 and laugh, the way we did when everyone thought Oklahoma was going to join Conference USA. Wait, you don't remember that one? Crazy weekend, man. You should've been there.

Regarding the latest Big 12 rumors, and there are always latest Big 12 rumors to regard, here's Kirk Bohls:

Doesn't mean we should take anything completely off the table, though it's sort of weird that it's believed to be on the table to begin with. Unlike almost every other realignment move, this hypothetical one is pretty much a grassroots thing. There's been not a single report from a non-message board outlet that FSU and Clemson are being courted by the Big 12 or vice versa, yet we'll all just keep talking about it.

Maybe we should just, like, pretend it's actually happened. Give the Noles a spot in the Big 12 standings and pretend they're Holiday Bowl-bound sometimes. That might be fun.


Conference Realignment: Louisville Wants Either Big 12 Or ACC, According To Report

For months now, reports have had the Louisville Cardinals as the Big 12's next target in the event that the Big 12 indeed makes a move for 12 football schools. The Cards tried to swipe the West Virginia Mountaineers' invite, in fact. Now, with the Florida St. Seminoles and Clemson Tigers emerging as widely hypothesized potential additions to the Big 12, Louisville could be in good shape to get what it reportedly wants: out of the Big East.

Andy Katz reports Louisville is making no secrets of its desire to land in either the ACC or the Big 12, meaning a move by the Big 12 into ACC territory could be an all-but guaranteed win for the Cards. Either they could accompany FSU into the Big 12, or they could help shore up football losses in the ACC. Again, all totally scenarios and war-planning, but this could shape up nicely for UL.

Louisville blog Card Chronicle analyzes:

The fact that Louisville would prefer to get out of the Big East isn't exactly news. The play they made last fall to try and woo the Big 12 spoke pretty loudly. Tom Jurich being completely up front about that desire, however, is news.

For months, Jurich has made statements along the lines of "we're in the Big East and will do whatever we can to strengthen the Big East going forward, but of course we're still going to keep all of our options open." This was essentially a lengthy euphemism for, "if someone asks, we're bouncing."

Now, with U of L ally John Marinatto having been forced out, there's no reason for Louisville to be polite.

For more on Cardinals football, visit Louisville blog Card Chronicle, plus Big East blog Big East Coast Bias and SB Nation Indiana.


West Virginia's Big East Exit To Be Announced Tuesday, According To Report

By multiple accounts, Valentine's Day is the day for the West Virginia Mountaineers to finally flee the clutches of the Big East for the Big 12. The spurned conference will announce soon that WVU has left and will compete in the Big 12 in 2012-2013, CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy reports. He also reports the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers won't leave early for the ACC.

Regarding that $20 million buyout West Virginia owes the Big East for splitting early, the MetroNews reports $2.5 million has already been paid, along with an interesting structure for the next $10 million:

WVU, however, will get half of that payment from the Big 12, sources say. $5 million will be a direct gift while the remaining $5 million will be returned to the Big 12 in future years by WVU taking a smaller payout from the league.

The remaining $7.5 million could be composed of money that the Big East owed West Virginia anyway, meaning the 'Eers could get out of the deal without having to pay much of anything. See what a little lawyerin' and a little patience can get you?

For more on the Mountaineers fight to leave the Big East, visit The Smoking Musket. For updates on Big East football, basketball and expansion, visit Big East Coast Bias, and stay tuned to our college conference realignment section.


Missouri To SEC Finally Official, Conference Announces On Purpose

After a false announcement and weeks of delays, the SEC officially announced the Missouri Tigers as their 14th team on Sunday. Mizzou will join the league on July 1, 2012, meaning they'll be good to go as a SEC member for next year's football, basketball and assorted other seasons.

No word yet on which division the Tigers will join, but the East has looked to be the landing spot that would pose the fewest scheduling problems. It's complicated. Mainly, keeping rivalries intact. The SEC's release also makes sure to point out -- while heralding Mizzou as a large, AAU school whose athletic profile fits the league's -- that the Tigers' state borders Tennessee and Kentucky, SEC East states.

A statement from Mizzou's end:

"The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri," said Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. "In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long term best interests of our university.  We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league."     

And here's what the SEC has to say:

"The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC," said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida.  "The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."

And now, once the Big East unveils its new collection, we should be done with conference realignment for the time being. Great!

For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation and SB Nation Kansas City, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


Big East Suing West Virginia Right Back Over Big 12 Exit

The West Virginia Mountaineers are suing the Big East, which is pretty fun. Sports are fun. Now the Big East has announced it's suing WVU in return, which is also pretty fun, like sports:

Brett McMurphy@McMurphyCBS Big East filed suit against West Virginia in Superior Court in Rhode Island, seeking WVU to comply w/Big East bylaws    

At issue: West Virginia contends it should be able to leave the Big East for the Big 12 before the agreed-upon 27-month waiting period. The Eers feel the Big East just isn't fit anymore -- despite its pending acquisitions of Boise State and other noteworthies -- and that the conference's disrepair should excuse their haste.

The Big East, of course, wants West Virginia to stick around and enjoy this northeastern family atmosphere for just a couple more years. Who could turn that down?

For more, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket and Big East Coast Bias. Stay tuned to SB Nation's conference realignment news section.


West Virginia To Sue Big East In Order To Leave For Big 12, According To Report

Hey, what's the worst thing in the world? Conference realignment during football season? Yes! Now, what's the next worst thing in the world? Lawsuits, maybe? Good thing nobody's thought to combine them in a really long tiOH NOOO:

Brett McMurphy@McMurphyCBS West Virginia to file suit against Big East so it may join Big 12 next year, according to document obtained by @CBSSports

At issue: the West Virginia Mountaineers want to leave the Big East for the 2012 season, while the Big East wants to hold WVU to that 27-month waiting period. The battle lines were instantly and publicly drawn right here, though there's also a report that the Mountaineers are willing to pay more than four times the Big East's $5 million exit fee in order to realign. 

So ... yeah. Just when conference realignment looked to be settling down for a while, it looks like we're guaranteed another saga. Really just wish the Big East would realize we're talking about West Virginia, a state that once successfully seceded from a seceded state. They're pretty good at disassociating with stuff.

For more on the Mountaineers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket and Big East Coast Bias. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


SEC Expansion: Missouri Not Listed As Big 12 Member In Conference Statement

Big 12 expansion turned up a piece of SEC expansion news on Friday. The West Virginia Mountaineers' realignment from the Big East resulted in a Big 12 statement that listed the conference's expected roster for the coming athletic year:

Beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities - Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12's footprint will encompass five states with over 36 million people.    

Yep, no Missouri Tigers. Couple that with the SEC's accidental announcement of Mizzou on Thursday night, and we can consider this a DEAL THAT IS DONE AND SHOULD JUST BE ANNOUNCED so we can all move on and enjoy college football games.

For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation and SB Nation Kansas City, plus SEC blog Team Speed Kills. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


West Virginia, Big East Disagree On When West Virginia Is Leaving The Big East

What do you get when you combine the Big 12 and the Big East? You're witnessing it, that's for sure. Friday, the West Virginia Mountaineers confirmed they'll leave the Big East, adding that they'll do so on July 1, 2012. That date means they won't stick around for the entire 27-month waiting period the Big East has imposed on former Big East refugees Pitt and Syracuse.

Yeah, the same 27-month waiting period the Big East says it's enforcing on WVU:

This move by West Virginia does not come as a surprise.

League officials, members of our conference and the candidate schools to whom we have been talking were aware of this possibility. We have taken West Virginia's possible departure into account as we have moved forward with our own realignment plans. 

West Virginia is fully aware that the Big East Conference is committed to enforcing the 27-month notification period for members who choose to leave the conference.

We are confident that in the coming weeks we will complete our own realignment program, adding a number of high-quality members to remain among the top conferences in both football and basketball.    

For what it's worth, the Big 12 agrees with West Virginia, saying the 'Eers will join for 2012's seasons.

For more on the Mountaineers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking MusketAnd stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


West Virginia To Big 12: Big East Confirms Realignment Reports

The West Virginia Mountaineers will leave the Big East for the Big 12, the scorned conference confirmed Friday morning after reports from multiple outlets. The move, whenever it happens (the world is waiting, Mizzou), will take the Big 12 to 10 teams and drop the Big East to some crunched-up croutons, a couple of which are pretty good at sports.

The Big 12 reportedly wants to hold steady at 10, which could be good news for the Big East. If they're able to keep the Louisville Cardinals and their four other football schools, that would mean the reported onboarding of Boise State, UCF and a host of others could bring them to a stabler 12.

West Virginia will have to pay $5 million in exit fees, not $10 million, since the increase depended on Navy or Air Force joining before anybody left.

More to come! Hopefully this is all almost done, so not too much more to come! But more to come!

For more on the Mountaineers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking MusketAnd stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


West Virginia And Not Louisville To Join Big 12, According To New Report

Feel like we just said all this earlier in the week, but here we go again: the West Virginia Mountaineers will join the Big 12, CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy reported Friday morning. This is an entirely different report than the last round, which saw McMurphy, Pete Thamel and local WVU beat writers report the move as a done deal before politicians got involved and the Big 12 decided to take a few days and think about it.

(That's on the Big 12, not on lovely West Virginia or any of these fine reporters.)

McMurphy reports the conference won't also bring on the Louisville Cardinals at this point and will remain at 10 teams. It's been reported the Texas Longhorns would prefer to remain at 10, while others in the conference like the idea of being able to hold a conference championship game.

It's hard to imagine McMurphy reporting this as done after the Big 12 already changed its mind once, but let's still presume it's not a 100 percent done deal just yet. 

For more on the Mountaineers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. For more on the Cardinals, visit Louisville blog Card Chronicle. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


West Virginia: No Conference Announcement Wednesday

According to a press release by West Virginia University, there will not be a press conference tomorrow to announce the Mountaineers will be joining the Big 12. In an official release, the school stated the following:

"Contrary to media reports, there is no press conference scheduled for Wed. concerning West Virginia University's athletic conference affiliation. There are no further comments at this time."

This directly contradicts a report by Mitch Vingle stating that WVU to the Big 12 was a done deal and would be announced on Wednesday. Much of this was predicated on the thought that the Missouri Tigers would be announcing their leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, which in turn would send WVU to the Big 12 as rumored. According to the university however, that doesn't seem to be the case. 

For more on the 'Eers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


West Virginia To Big 12 To Be Announced Wednesday, According To Report

Well now. Just hours after reports emerged that the West Virginia Mountaineers will bolt from the Big East for the Big 12, here's beat writer Mitch Vingle reporting a Wednesday press conference to announce WVU as the Big 12's 10th member:

Confirmed. WVU to Big 12 is a done deal. There will be a press conference with the Big 12 folks tomorrow. The long wait/mess is over...
Oct 25 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

Also, if the timelines are correct, that means the Missouri Tigers should announce they'll leave the Big 12 either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, since their presence was WVU's primary impediment. Right?

Not all schools take this as slowly as Mizzou does, at least. The Big 12 also grabbed TCU out of nowhere, and Syracuse and Pittsburgh both left for the ACC before anybody knew they were gone, almost literally.

The Big East will be down to five football schools upon WVU's exit.

For more on the 'Eers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


Big 12 Expansion: West Virginia Reportedly Invited Within 48 Hours Of Missouri Exit

Here's the second report of the day that the West Virginia Mountaineers will soon leave the Big East for the Big 12, and the second to note the Missouri Tigers holdup is the primary impediment. CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy reports WVU will get an invitation once Mizzou is cleared out, with his tweet on the matter adding a 24-to-48-hour window for that invite.

Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports West Virginia has already applied and been accepted, meaning the formal invite would come after Mizzou leaves.

The Mountaineers will have to pay a $5 million exit fee if they leave the Big East, or a $10 million fee if they leave once the Navy Midshipmen or Air Force Falcons join, according to an agreement the Big East reached just a couple weeks ago. Hence the hurry.

Once again, all eyes turn to Missouri, where chancellor Brady Deaton appears to just be waiting on legal whatnot to be straightened out before announcing the Tigers will pull out of the Big 12.

For more on the 'Eers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


Conference Realignment: Missouri Plans To Play In New Conference In 2012

After announcing chancellor Brady Deaton had been granted power to make decisions about conference alignment, the Missouri Tigers board of curators answered questions from assembled media. They did not answer very many questions about UM's new retirement plan, but they did get one about the school's search for a new president.

Almost all of the queries related to conference realignment. Almost all answers amounted to, "Wait and see what Deaton comes up with." One of the few specific answers they did give was about when they expect to join their new conference.

Despite Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas' insistence that the Tigers will remain for another year, Missouri said they expect to play in their elected conference in 2012.

Calculate it at 99 percent certainty that Missouri will soon announce Deaton has decided the school's athletic programs will leave the Big 12. Then there's paperwork to file, and there are council of elders meetings to hold, and there's a show of caution to be made. 

But no school empowers an administrator to make a decision about conference realignment unless it's made a decision about conference realignment.

For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


SEC Expansion: Missouri Officially Intends To Make Conference Realignment Decision

The University of Missouri's long-awaited Board of Curators meeting concluded Friday, followed by a press conference at which curators announced a unanimous resolution to delegate authority to chancellor Brady Deaton to seek new conference affiliation.

Further, the Missouri Tigers announced an initiative to create a local basketball tournament and football game in Kansas City against a local rival. Slick move, as it shows Mizzou's intent to continue rivalries with the Kansas Jayhawks in the event of a move to the SEC, plus assures Kansas City of a continued Missouri presence. KU had previously worried about the continuation of the series if the Tigers left the Big 12.

If you didn't decide to watch the conference online, you missed out on some exciting details about Mizzou's new retirement plan and fiscal budget review and the search for a new school president. I hope you can find the important facts about these matters via your favorite search engine.

Step one is now finally done. Expect Mizzou to formally withdraw from the Big 12 in like a thousand years and then be invited into the SEC a thousand years after that and at some point, after much discussion and consternation, begrudgingly accept. This could all happen like right now, but there's a process. 

For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


Missouri SEC Application 'Inevitable And Imminent,' According To Report

The New York Times' Pete Thamel is reporting that Missouri’s decision to apply for membership to the SEC was "inevitable and imminent." This was according to a source who does not know a specific timetable for the application.

Missouri’s Board of Curators, who signed off on the school's official exploration of conference realignment, will meet on Thursday and Friday at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. It is thought that the process of withdrawing from the Big 12 Conference and applying to the SEC will begin then.

According to Thamel's source, Missouri is confident they have enough votes from SEC schools to join the conference.

If they do, then they will become the 14th member of the SEC, joining Texas A&M, who just left the Big 12 for the SEC.

The move could also set off a chain reaction in the Big East, where schools such as Louisville and West Virginia are considered candidates for expansion. The loss of Missouri would leave the Big 12 with 9 members for 2012. They could choose to replace Missouri with one school or they could bring on three to return to the number in the conference name.

BYU has also been mentioned as a candidate for Big 12 expansion.

For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.


Missouri Staying In Big 12 For At Least One More Year, According To Commissioner

The other shoe we're all waiting for: the Missouri Tigers, who must choose between the Big 12 and the SEC. And we might be waiting a long time, according to new Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, who says Mizzou will have until the end of the 2011-12 academic year to make up its mind. And according to Neinas, the Tigers will remain in the conference next season either way, presumably meaning they wouldn't join the SEC until 2013 if they do decide to split.

Neinas also says there's no consensus on whether to stay at 10 or grow to 12. The Louisville Cardinals, West Virginia Mountaineers and BYU Cougars have been the most frequently mentioned candidates for those last spots, if expansion continues.

The Big 12 is set to have 10, with the addition of the TCU Horned Frogs making up for Texas A&m's exit, numerically at least. Don't expect the conference to remain short of 12 for much longer than one season, though, as that rules out a lucrative conference title game.

For more, visit Mizzou blog Rock M Nation and SEC blog Team Speed KillsStay tuned for more conference realignment news.


Big East Expansion Authorized: Navy, Air Force And Maybe Army Reported Targets

The Big East has finally gotten around to deciding on expansion. The votes are in, and ... they'll expand! This is great news, considering they were just a Big 12 poaching or two away from completely vanishing as a football conference. Better late than never.

As has long been the buzz, the Navy Midshipmen and Air Force Falcons are expected to be two prime candidates, according to USA Today's Kelly Whiteside, along with perhaps the Army Black Knights. But only football for Army.

Also according to Whiteside, the Louisville Cardinals and West Virginia Mountaineers are likely to stick around instead of leaving for the Big 12. That could mean the Big 12 would turn its focus to the BYU Cougars and maybe even the Boise St. Broncos. It's not an October conference realignment story if it doesn't involve Boise State somehow. 

For more, check Mountain West Connection and Big East Coast Bias. Stay tuned for more conference realignment news.


TCU To Big 12 Definitely Happening: Conference, School Both Announce Discussions

See anything interesting in the Big 12's announcement that it will expand by adding the TCU Horned Frogs? First, congratulations to TCU, which competed and boardroom'd its way from the WAC in 1997 and into its region's power football conference alongside the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners.

But on to the release:

Acting upon a unanimous recommendation of its expansion subcommittee, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors has authorized negotiations with Texas Christian University to become the Conference's 10th member, and instructed interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to immediately begin discussions with TCU. 

The action of the Board was without dissent. On the advice of legal counsel, The University of Missouri did not participate in the vote.    

It was unanimous, meaning the Baylor Bears had no problem taking TCU away from the Big East after complaining loud and long about other conferences removing Texas A&M from the Big 12. You'll also note the Missouri Tigers didn't participate, as they're currently teetering between the Big 12 and the SEC.

Likewise, here's TCU chancellor Victor Boschini:

These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU. It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for many years. As always, we must consider what's best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Big 12.    

It's not official official yet, but there's no way the Big 12 and TCU would announce it if it's not a done deal.

For more, visit TCU blog Frogs O' War and Big East Coast Bias


Big 12 Expansion: TCU To Ditch Big East, According To Report

After losing three (and maybe four) teams to other conferences over the past two years, the Big 12 is finally making moves of its own. According to CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy, who's been rock solid on all matters relating to Big East realignment, the TCU Horned Frogs have been invited to join the Big 12 and are expected to accept. The Austin-American Stateman's Kirk Bohls says the deal should be finalized "over the next few days."

TCU had planned to join the Big East in 2012, but continued shakiness in that conference made a move closer to home the safer pick. The Big 12 needs stability, too, so such a move would be a win-win all round.

The Big 12 likely won't be done after this move, since they still must await the fate of the Missouri Tigers. In a way, bringing on TCU could even help steer Mizzou back toward their current home conference and away from the SEC, since it doesn't sound like the Tigers are quite as smitten with the southeast as many had thought.

For more, visit TCU blog Frogs O' War and Big East Coast Bias


Texas Agrees To Keep High School Games Off Longhorn Network, According To Reports

Well, now we're getting somewhere. The Texas Longhorns' private television network, the Longhorn Network, will be remembered as the last straw in the great conference realignment straw pile of 2011. Among the many perceived outrages it loosed upon the rest of the Big 12, none provoked more discord than the Texaswide Leader's attempt to broadcast high school football games.

As Chip Brown first reported and Chuck Carlton confirmed, it looks like the Horns have backed off. Giving up the network's prime recruiting advantage for six years, though that deal could last as long as 13, according to Brown -- the same six-year period covered by the Big 12's new media rights sharing deal -- would mean a lot for conference stability, perhaps even beyond the course of that agreement.

This certainly means the Missouri Tigers will stay and Texas A&M will change its mind. No. Actually, Mizzou's exit doesn't seem quite as certain as it did just a couple days ago.

For more, visit Texas blog Burnt Orange Nation.


Conference Realignment: Missouri 'Exploring Options,' May Leave Big 12

A long meeting of the University of Missouri's Board of Curators resulting in some big news for conference expansion: Missouri appears to be ready to leave the Big 12, appointing Chancellor Brady Deaton to explore conference realignment options.

Deaton serves as chair of the Big 12's board of directors and on its committee on expansion, but it appears his roles there will come to an end as he prepares Missouri for a move somewhere else, potentially as the SEC's 14th team to join along with Texas A&M. Things are just going from bad to worse for the Big 12 10 8.

From the Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond:

MU will not make long term commitment to big 12
Oct 05 via Mobile WebFavoriteRetweetReply


My prediction: Missouri is out of the Big 12 Conference and into the SEC by next season.
Oct 05 via webFavoriteRetweetReply


Deaton only said that Mizzou would be looking elsewhere, not commenting on if the SEC was the primary goal or not, but it's the most logical option for the Tigers at this point. But then, since when has logic guided conference expansion?

To hear what Missouri fans think of the decision, head to Rock M Nation.


Big 12 Expansion: Six-Year Media Deal Announced, For Real This Time

That six-year Big 12 media rights deal the Oklahoma Sooners announced weeks ago as doneIt's finally done now. With the Missouri Tigers reportedly on the fence about whether to stick around or bolt for the SEC, this should be considered a good sign that Mizzou will remain in the Big 12, but we'll find out more once the school's board of curators meets on Tuesday. As always, you never know!

Either way, Oklahoma and Texas are chaining themselves together for the next six years. The nuts and bolts of the deal:

The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors announced adoption of a position to equally distribute all conference related distributable revenue to include Tier I and II football television, men's basketball television and NCAA men's basketball tournament revenues. This action becomes effective after each member institution commits a grant of rights to the Conference for its Tier I and II television rights for at least six years.
It is recognized by the Board that each member is directed by institutional policy relative to pursuing its grant of rights and that process will commence expeditiously at the institutional level. 
The Board is encouraged by the number of institutions indicating interest in the Big 12, which reflects positively on the standing of the Conference within intercollegiate athletics. The Board also looks forward to considering the recommendation of the expansion committee regarding future membership options.    

This is also likely a bad sign for the Boise St. Broncos, who were reportedly stepping up their efforts to join the Big 12. Mizzou sticking around means one fewer spot Boise State could inherit.

As far as where the Big 12 goes from here, the same crop of suspects still applies: BYU, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, TCU and so forth.

For more, visit Boise State blog One Bronco Nation Under God.


Texas A&M To SEC Press Conference: Negotiations, Scheduling And Texas

Texas A&M president Bowen Loftin and athletic director Bill Byrne, along with SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Bernie Machen held a press conference Tuesday to officially induct the Aggies into the SEC. You can read their remarks here, and here's the tl;dr version:

The SEC was happy at 12 teams and is now happy at 13 teams. Oklahoma staying in the Big 12 appeared to be a sign that nobody was going to sue over A&M leaving. Working on schedule options. Something about academics. The SEC's TV contract provides for "look-in" negotiations.

Texas A&M feels its football is ready to compete. Also, other sports. The Aggies are open to keep playing Arkansas in Dallas and still want to play Texas. Not yet sure what the Big 12 buyout will be. A&M talked with Slive before Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12. The SEC has revenue sharing, which the Big 12 didn't have. Kyle Field may be renovated in 2013.

Don't be floored if, within a year, happy to be at 14 teams.

For more, head to Texas A&M blog I Am The 12th Man and SEC blog Team Speed Kills.


Oklahoma Announces Six-Year Big 12 Reform, Chuck Neinas As Interim Commish

At a Thursday night press conference, University of Oklahoma president David Boren ran through a series of reforms meant to keep the Big 12 conference intact. The most important: the conference has a six-year media rights agreement. Under such a deal, if a school leaves, the conference will retain that school's Tier 1 and Tier 2 media rights until the end of the six-year period.

(That means the Big 12 would continue to get the national or regional television money for the school's football and basketball games. This still would allow the Texas Longhorns to keep the Longhorn Network.)

Boren also announced the Big 12 is looking to expand, "reactivating" its expansion committee. He pointed out Oklahoma gets to remain in a "geographically contiguous" conference that will be better for students and the families of athletes. His bit on a healthy heartland conference being good for America ... that might sound corny and like the kind of thing school presidents say when it concerns the interests of their own schools, but I totally agree with him.

Oh, and that Chuck Neinas will be the new interim commissioner. Boren endeavored to compliment outgoing commissioner Dan Beebe ("decent human being") and noted Neinas recommended "over half of the sitting athletic directors" in the Big 12.

That six-year agreement is significant, because if Texas and Oklahoma actually are happy with the media money coming into the conference, the entire house of cards could actually stand. As Stewart Mandel pointed out, it's "more ironclad than an exit fee." Oklahoma might not actually be happy at all, and could still just be putting the best face on its current situation. That's fine.

For more, stop by Oklahoma Sooners blog Crimson And Cream Machine and Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.


Conference Realignment: Pac-12 Holds Steady, Leaving Nation In Limbo

Just when it seemed conference realignment news would dwarf the college football season it was butting up against, it's time to call the whole thing off -- for now. Well, at least the big stuff, as the Pac-12 won't be expanding during this go-round. You'll be shocked to learn the Texas Longhorns had a lot to do with it.

This means Texas, along with the Oklahoma Sooners and each of their jogging buddies, won't be leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-12 at this point. No Big 12-Big East merger. No Baylor lawsuits.

This doesn't mean Texas A&M will turn back from the SEC, nor does it mean the remaining Big 12 members are all cool with the Longhorn Network all of a sudden. The SEC also has the tricky issue of evening out its divisions, which are set to feature seven teams and six teams in 2012 (West Virginia and even Missouri could still be options, but count out Oklahoma, by the way).

The Big East may pick up a few schools to offset its impending losses to the ACC. The ACC might help itself to more Big East schools -- like, say, UConn, which still wants out. There are still rumblings, but they shouldn't be interpreted as aftershocks. They're still pre-tremors. In 2010, the college sports world moved a step closer to the football megaconference future, and in 2011 it did the same.

The Big 12 may be able to reform itself and become a major piece of that future, but hopefully we can wait to worry about it until next summer. All of a sudden the college football season is about to reclaim center stage, and for that we can thank the Pac-12.

For more, visit Pac-12 blog Pacific TakesOklahoma Sooners blog Crimson And Cream Machine and Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.


Missouri To SEC Rumors: Expansion Likely Coming Soon, Matt Hayes Confirms

By now, two local outlets and two national publications have reported that the SEC's 14th team will be the Missouri TigersThe Sporting News' Matt Hayes added a confirmation on Tuesday, adding that the SEC intends to expand to only 14 teams and not continue on to 16. 

Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples foresaw Mizzou as SEC team No. 14, while the entire DeArmond family has been reporting the arrangement is mostly delayed by the Big 12's last gasps. Oh yes, the Big 12 has last gasps.

That's a pretty solid array of reporting there. Don't be surprised to see Missouri join the SEC soon, but it's nothing official. The Tigers have wanted out for some time now, and it looks like they'll get their wish. At this point, the primary question from the SEC's perspective is what to do about SEC division realignment -- adding two teams to the western division means somebody has to move east, and sending border-straddler Auburn across the line would mean having to make both the Iron Bowl and the Third Saturday in October protected rivalries somehow.

For more on Mizzou, visit excellent Missouri Tigers blog Rock M Nation, along with SEC blog Team Speed Kills.


SEC Expansion: Texas A&M Comments On Baylor's Threats To Sue

Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, who has many bow ties, had a public word with the Baylor Bears over their sudden change of heart regarding the Aggies' move to the SEC. By all accounts, Baylor's litigious nature is the last obstacle in the way of A&M joining the SEC, which has already accepted the Aggies.

Here are Loftin's remarks:

We are certainly pleased with the action taken last night by the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference to unanimously accept Texas A&M as the league's 13th member. However, this acceptance is conditional, and we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC.

Baylor, we love you for sharing Robert Griffin III with us, but please get out of the way so this can all be gotten over with.

For more, head to Texas A&M blog I Am The 12th Man and SEC blog Team Speed Kills.


SEC Confirms Texas A&M Has Official Invite, But Legal Hangups Remain

In a statement, the SEC confirmed the news we've been waiting ... well, not really all that long for. The Texas A&M Aggies have been cleared to partake in the conference's expansion once remaining legal issues have been taken care of. The release includes a letter from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe assuring a clean break with A&M, but notes that as of last night "at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action."

Kind of weird that the Baylor Bears want Texas A&M to stay in the Big 12 so badly. Texas and Oklahoma are the keys to the conference, not A&M. What happens if the two Oklahoma schools, Texas and Texas Tech leave for the Pac-16? Baylor and A&M are going to repopulate the earth together?

Also kind of weird that a religious institution is sort of going back on its word, but that's another story. Hey, A&M! Congratulations.

Here's the statement itself:

After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC.

We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure.

The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.    

For more, head to Texas A&M blog I Am The 12th Man and SEC blog Team Speed Kills.