If the conference apocalypse is finally upon us and the Aggies will soon usher in the era of the 16-team super conference, it doesn't look like the Big Ten will be joining the ranks of the super-sized. At least not right away. This is according to Chicago Tribune sportswriter Teddy Greenstein, who was all over the Big Ten expansion talk last summer and seems to be generally on top of these conference realignment rumors.
Today, Greenstein confirmed with commissioner Jim Delany confirmed that the B1G has shut it down with respect to active conference expansion.
Delany also confirmed to Tribune that SEC expansion would not affect Big Ten -- for now: "We have closed down active expansion."
So it would appear that the Big Ten is currently happy with 12 programs, according to Greenstein's sources. Commence with the waterworks in New Brunswick, Storrs, Pittsburgh and upstate New York (I mean New York City ... Syracuse is NYC's college team, after all).
That's a good thing for the ACC, as rumors continue to swirl that the SEC may invite Florida State, Clemson and Missouri to join Texas A&M as programs 14, 15 and 16. This is of course assuming that the SEC approves a Texas A&M invitation in their super, super secret closed-door meeting tomorrow. An SEC official has said that there is a 30 to 40 percent change the conference could turn away the Aggies and opt not to expand at all.
If the SEC does poach one or both of Florida State and Clemson, I believe the ACC can and will move forward. However, if Delany was also looking to keep up with Mike Slive in the superconference arms race, I'm sure the B1G would cast the eye of Sauron towards ACC programs like Maryland and Georgia Tech (both mentioned as Big Ten expansion candidates last summer). At that point, I'm not sure the conference could survive raids from both the north and the south.
As always, stay tuned.