STILLWATER OK - NOVEMBER 27: Running back DeMarco Murray #7 of the Oklahoma Sooners carries the ball against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 27 2010 in Stillwater Oklahoma. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
And here we go again.
With everyone in the Big 12 throwing a hissy fit about Texas and the Longhorn Network, the rumor mill has started once again turning. Today, it's Dave Sandhop of the Aggie Insider reporting that the Big 12 schools not named Texas have secretly been in discussions with other conferences about jumping ship:
"Apparently, Oklahoma was told by several SEC sources that a future deal including Oklahoma State was highly unlikely...that they would need to split if they wanted to be seriously considered for inclusion. That explains recent rumors that OU has been inquiring about the PAC-12's interest level in expanding the conference with both Oklahoma schools. If that doesn't pan out, then the Sooners may come back to the SEC and consider working the politics of splitting with OSU.
Texas Tech is also putting out feelers with the PAC-12 and Kansas has been in contact with the Big East for quite some time and there's talk that Kansas State could also be in the discussions. And of course, that would leave Texas free to pursue independence and cement its partnership with ESPN with a more comprehensive TV contract."
To recap, basically everyone is talking to everyone and wants to get the heck up out of the Big 12. According to this rumor, that's Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and a fourth school (Baylor?) to the Pac-12, Kansas and Kansas State to the Big East, Texas independence and a very sad day for Iowa State.
Personally, I wouldn't read too much into these rumors. The fact that the Big 12 is in an untenable configuration and is not built for the long run has been known since the rumors of the Pac-16 first cropped up last summer. The latest seems to be another thinly based rumor. I think Bill C. over at Rock M Nation has the healthiest perspective on these rumors:
"Below I'm including a link of every legitimate, well-sourced article I've found regarding SEC, Pac-16, etc., rumors:
And that's it. I enjoy the way most of Rock M Nation has stayed cool to the fanaticism other sites are showing about these new "rumors" that aren't really rumors at all. I encourage you to keep it up because I see nothing even remotely realistic in the rumors this time around. (Here's a hint: if every school in a conference has been "secretly in talks" with six different conferences, you're probably reading a b.s. rumor.)"
Still, it's the end of July with no college football for another 30+ days, so it's fun to speculate on how the death of the Big 12 will affect the other five BCS conferences. The expansion dominoes could easily lead back East when the Big 12 / Texas death star implodes. Consider:
-- Would the Big Ten again look east and scavenge two of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Rutgers from the Big East?
-- Or would the Big Ten go after Maryland and Georgia Tech from the ACC?
-- Would the ACC stand pat, or would they again look to play the aggressor and eye some of the old guard Big East programs?
-- Would schools like Syracuse and Pittsburgh want to stick around in a conference with 11 football members and 19 basketball members that spans from Storrs to Manhattan, Kansas, and from Fort Worth to Milwaukee? Or would they have "secret discussions" with the ACC about joining up?
-- What would Texas independence mean for Notre Dame and other programs thinking of going it alone?
-- What becomes of poor Iowa State, who can't even get an invite to a fake conference?
Another day, another conference realignment rumor. Is it football season yet?