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Chip Brown's "Big 12 Missile Crisis" Timeline

To put a cap on this conference expansion episode, Chip Brown has published a recap of the Big 12's tumultuous days from when Nebraska decided to go to the Big Ten until the Big 12 Lite was formalized. It's in a nice narrative form, little of it is speculation, and it provides a few more details than what was already out there. It includes the Pac-10 trying to change the deal at the last minute but leaves out Texas trying to change the deal at the last minute, but whatever. It's a good recap of everything if you missed it.

Conference USA is Preparing a Raiding Party

Everyone is being tight-lipped in the expansion process. Everyone, that is, except for ECU AD Terry Holland. He's taken the unusual step of publishing all of his thoughts straight to you, the public. He says that CUSA is planning on raiding the leftovers if the Big 12 falls apart. He also appears to have contacts within the Big East, saying that it "has been in a bunker mentality, hoping to keep enough of its eight current members to remain a viable FBS (formerly Division I-A) Conference with automatic qualification for BCS bowl games." He then talks at length about the Big East's motivations and his thoughts on that, probably because a lot of ECU fans hope to get a Big East invitation if someone leaves. He even goes as far as to speculate on the future: "As for the rest of the expansion nationwide, I believe Texas will hold the Big 12 together. Texas and Oklahoma should be very happy to say "good riddance" to the conference championship game. Those two teams have a better chance for each to end up in BCS Bowls in a given season without the "double jeopardy" that a conference championship game creates for them. In fact, a nine-member Big Whatever should be their goal. If Texas holds the Big Whatever together, the Pac 10's "quick strike" will come back to haunt them because they are now committed to finding at least one more member who can add value to the Pac 10. Colorado's main value was as "bait" for Texas, Oklahoma, etc... in order to create real value for the Pac 10." Any other ADs out there willing to go this far on the record? Someone get me Mal Moore on the phone for his dissertation on the subject. Oh, and all hail the Big Whatever.

Is Expansion Really Worth It?

CNBC's Darren Rovell talked to Barry Frank, an executive from IMG Media about whether conference expansion makes fiscal sense. IMG, you'll remember, is one of the companies that universities sign up with when negotiating their local media rights. Frank doesn't think the big windfall is really out there. He doesn't believe ESPN can pony up what the Pac-10 will ask for, and that Fox is its only hope. In addition, he doesn't believe Nebraska would be a net positive in the Big Ten or that Texas A&M would be a net positive in the SEC. Of course, this is just one media executive, and he might have reasons we don't know about for tossing cold water on the story. Plus, Rovell himself has been lukewarm on conference expansion all along, although he has also found a former CBS sports president who agrees with him. It is a valid question though - can Texas A&M and another team for balance really bring an extra $34 million a year?

Wilner: Colorado May Beat Nebraska to the Punch

The San Jose Mercury News's Jon Wilner is reporting that Colorado is likely to accept a Pac-10 invitation today. As in, a day before Nebraska is supposed to formally announce its Big Ten membership. Also according to Wilner, the five other rumored schools (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State) are committed to joining the Pac-10 together if Nebraska bolts. So yeah: the SEC's talks with Texas A&M don't appear to have added up to much. If somehow the Big 12 stays together despite losing Colorado and probably Nebraska, the Pac-10 would add Utah to get to 12. That's the story out of San Jose.

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