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Conference Expansion: A Boring Finish to Otherwise Noteworthy Speculation

That's it?  Three teams moved conferences?  What happened to the end of the world scenarios people were predicting?  This was as anti-climatic of a story as NCAA Tournament expansion was a few months back.  Maybe there is a lesson to be learned from all of this: the internet is a bad, bad place, full of treacherous villains vying to amass significant page views by spouting nonsensical rumors in an attempt to make a name for themselves.  Or maybe the end has yet to come...?  

The Big East still makes significantly less football revenue than its BCS counterparts, and West Virginia, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and others are surely hoping to be picked up by rival conferences with more lucrative TV contracts.  The main question is, however, do the other conferences still want them?  Paul Tagliabue was brought on to fix the situation, and a formal solution has yet to be announced.  The ball is firmly in the Big East's court for the first time since this mess started.  Let's hope they are able to figure out a long-term solution to keep all conference members happy and rich - because that is obviously what collegiate athletics is all about.

Regardless of what happens next, here are the headlines dominating expansion talk today.  This will all change in two hours.

Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State stay put in Big 12 Conference - ESPN
The University of Texas on Monday said it was staying in the Big 12, followed moments later by pledges from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M to remain in a league that had seemed to be falling apart last week when Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-10) decided to leave over the next two years.

Big 12 goes from dead to top hoops conference - Beyond the Arc - NBC Sports
Now, if the Big 12 stays at 10 teams (forget naming issues for a moment), we can thank the football-driven realignment for providing us with the nation's best college basketball conference. That's right, the best. Ditching deadweight like Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12 with no weak links.

What Will Happen to College Sports? - Rochester, News, Weather, Sports, and Events -
If football is the sole purpose of conference realignment, the Big East conference could be in jeopardy. Half of the members of the Big East do not have football (this includes Notre Dame because they are independently affiliated for football), and the half that do have football could be targeted for realignment by other conferences. This scenario could potentially end the Georgetown vs. Syracuse basketball rivalry.

Rush The Court " Blog Archive " Texas Standoff Ends With Survival of the Big 12, er, 10…
Then, there is also the issue of whether the Big 12 maybe gets a little bit of that expansion greed of its own and tries to reach into the MWC for a couple teams to move back to 12, giving the name meaning again and firing the football championship game back up. Air Force and BYU have already been mentioned, and while I’m not going to say for sure (things ‘round these parts have a way of changing rapidly), I don’t see that happening. The member institutions have this nice new television contract, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to be interested in cutting in two new schools on the deal.

Rush The Court " Blog Archive " Thanks, But No Thanks — Texas Sticks
If the current reports are true, with Nebraska headed to the Big Ten, Colorado moving to the Pac-10, and Boise State bolting to the Mountain West, the biggest college basketball-relevant change of conference might be — who would have guessed? — Utah, expected to join the Pac-10 at any moment.

Big 12 Conference: Influential people saved league - ESPN
"The Big 12 sticking wasn't a miracle,'' said the source. "There have been a number of people who were involved -- a number of seriously key people -- unrelated to the conference who will never be known to have helped get things on track.''

Texas' decision seems to have calmed realignment -
The recap looks like this: The Big Ten improved with Nebraska. The Pac-10 will be enhanced with Colorado and, presumably, Utah. The Big 12 lost two schools and took a hit, but probably feels great considering how close it was to dissolving. And the Mountain West improved with the addition of Boise State, but could soon be damaged by the loss of Utah, which would then owe Texas a huge smooth.

Conference Expansion: Dust Settles, 16 Team Mecha-Conferences Avoided (For Now) - BC Interruption
The saving of the Big 12 is great news for Boston College and the ACC, as it prevents Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State from bolting to the Pac-10 as well as preventing Texas A&M joining the SEC. So now you can forget about who the SEC will invite as the 14th member and dancing partner to Texas A&M ... as well as fretting over being left out in a world where there are four, 16-team BCS mega-conferences. At least, you can stop worrying about that today.

The Big East May Survive As The Big Whatever - Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician
The important thing to take from all this is that the Big East may just survive, but only if the Big Ten and ACC are content with the meat they've picked clean from the Big 12.

Nebraska falls short in Big Ten
Less than a week after Big Ten leaders chided reporters and sports fans for overlooking the importance of academics in college football conference expansion, the Big Ten introduced its newest member in Nebraska, which will become the worst-performing academic member of the conference, according to several academic measures.