Kirk Bohls and Alan Trubow of the Austin American-Statesman published a comprehensive report regarding Texas officials' visit to Oklahoma yesterday. The intention of the trip was to convince OU's leadership to give the Big 12 a shot, but they discovered that the Sooners' brass have already decided to apply for Pac-12 membership:
"There's nothing Texas could have offered Oklahoma that would have changed their mind. They were set on leaving the Big 12 before Texas got there," a well-placed source at a Big 12 school said, adding that Sunday's meeting had a very friendly and cooperative tone. "The Big 12's done. Oklahoma wasn't open to creating Big 12 stability."
Then again, Pete Thamel of the New York Times sees the AA-S's "well-placed source at a Big 12 school" and raises it an "administrator at a Big 12 university with knowledge of the meeting":
"It was not a productive meeting," said an administrator at a Big 12 university with knowledge of the meeting. "Texas went there with the thought of beginning the process of putting back together the Big 12, and Oklahoma wasn’t as receptive as Texas had hoped. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of it."
That's as good an indication as any that no one inside the Big 12 can see the entire picture at the moment. At least, no one who is talking publicly. The only thing everyone agrees on is that Oklahoma State will follow Oklahoma with whatever it decides to do.
Thamel's report includes a tidbit that Pac-12 presidents are not enthused at the prospect of adding the Oklahoma schools by themselves. The presidents saw them as "a necessary evil" to get Texas to come last summer, which throws into doubt the idea that they are a shoo-in to become the Pac-12's 13th and 14th members without Texas also coming. The presidents don't see them as being up to snuff academically to fit in with the rest of the conference, although they're not too far off from where current members Washington State, Oregon State, and Utah are.
Texas, for its part, is looking around broadly. The AA-S report says that Texas hasn't decided on anything yet other than pulling out all the stops to save the Big 12. It says that AD DeLoss Dodds is opposed to going independent, so that option is low on the list. It is considering the Pac-12, but the fact that it wants to hold onto the Longhorn Network and Larry Scott won't allow it complicates that option.
The real shocker here is not that Texas is considering the ACC, which was floated around last week, but that the two have already started talking. "A high-ranking Texas source" essentially called the talks informal and not yet serious, but the fact that there even have been discussions is a remarkable development. The ACC would allow Texas to keep the Longhorn Network as-is, and it apparently has floated the option for a four-team pod system rather than divisions to help with scheduling. Another plus is that Texas is closer to most ACC schools than most Pac-12 schools, and the ACC is only one time zone away instead of two.
If Texas is even considering going to the ACC, we've officially gone through the conference realignment looking glass. Hold on to your hats, folks. Let's see just how much more bizarre this gets.