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The past few days have been crazy with the rumor mill churning out a new scenario about conference expansion every five minutes. After being on life support, the Big 12 was resuscitated at the very last minute and it appears that it will now live on as a 10 school conference. While we won’t ultimately know the ramifications of this development for a few years, there are some clear short-term winners and losers.

Winners

Texas

Ultimately this decision is what’s best for the Longhorns at this moment. Reports claim Texas will bring in between $22-25 million per year from the conference in the new configuration. The Big 12 will continue to distribute its revenue on a graduated scale and the Longhorns will also be able to establish their own television network and keep the proceeds. From a competition standpoint, the loss of the Big 12 championship game and a rising challenger in Nebraska will give Texas an easier route to the BCS championship game.

Kansas, Kansas St., Missouri, Baylor and Iowa St.

Staring down the prospect of being hung out to dry without a conference, the decision to keep the band together certainly stabilizes the fortunes of these five schools. The Big 12 also claims that it will be able to roughly double the revenue it gives to each of these schools. Only Missouri could have hoped to bring in more revenue than that; the hope being contingent on an invitation to join the Big Ten. I’m still not completely writing that possibility off.

Dan Beebe

Facing the prospects of losing his conference and his job, Beebe was able to present a compelling case to the school that clearly calls all the shots, Texas. Whatever he did over the weekend worked and he deserves a lot of credit. Of course, now comes the hard part – delivering what he has promised.

Utah

It now looks like a safe bet that the Utes will be invited to join the Pac-10. This will be a really nice upgrade for Utah. It also makes me excited to say that I did predict that the Pac-10 would add Colorado and Utah to grow to 12 teams back in May.

Losers

Texas A&M

– This is assuming there was some commitment by the SEC that they would invite the Aggies to join their conference. If Texas A&M turned down that opportunity to stay in the Big 12 than they are a big loser. Joining the SEC would have given the Aggies a chance to step out of the Longhorns’ shadow, earn more revenue than they will in the Big 12 and be affiliated with the premier conference in college football. Of course, politics may have been at play here. Like Virginia when it came time to voting Virginia Tech into the ACC, Texas A&M may have been forced to do something that worked to the detriment of their university by state politicians.

Colorado

– The Buffaloes lost on two fronts. One, because they are being painted as panicking that the Big 12 was going to dissolve and moving too quickly. I don’t think this is fair but it can be filed under “perception is reality.” Two, because with the Big 12 staying together they are now responsible for what’s being estimated as a $6-8 million exit payment to the conference. Ultimately I think the Pac-10 move is a good one for Colorado.

Larry Scott

– He deserves a lot of credit for swinging for the fences but ultimately he got a single. Adding Colorado and Utah will be nice and the Pac-10 will now be able to host an annual football championship game. But it’s nowhere near the visions of grandeur that were being imagined.

Mountain West

– With the bold attempts by the Pac-10 to raid the Big 12, the Mountain West was starting to picture a scenario where they could add Kansas, Kansas St., Missouri and Iowa St. and become a bigger player in football and basketball. Now that the possibility has collapsed the conference is likely to lose Utah to the Pac-10. Even with the addition of Boise St., that is a big loss.

Who do you think the biggest winners and losers were? Please post your thoughts in the comments.

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Shortly after the second phase of the Big Ten’s expansion you can expect the action to be fast and furious.  Everybody will be waiting for the SEC, the highest revenue grossing conference, to make their move.  They will do so, and it will be huge.

To maintain its place as the top conference in the country the SEC will be compelled to act.  With Notre Dame committed to the Big Ten, Texas is the remaining big prize.  They are also the only university that can add a significant number to the SEC’s bottom line, and would certainly shift the balance of power.  The SEC will be smelling blood after Colorado and Missouri leave the Big 12 and will go right for the kill.

Much of the speculation on long term expansion has the SEC looking at ACC schools Florida St., Miami, Clemson and Georgia Tech.  However, I don’t think they’ll be looking to solidify the ground they’ve already got covered in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  I think they’ll be looking West.  By doing so, they can eliminate all questions as to who really is the best college football conference in the country while greatly expanding their footprint and revenue potential. 

They will start the wooing of Texas early and will be willing to take on their state rival Texas A&M as well.  While the Texas A&M football program may not be at the top level right now, the school has an excellent overall athletics program and a strong passionate fan base.

And then, to add the cherry on top, the SEC will also expand to the Sooner state bringing in Oklahoma and Oklahoma St.  This addition will enable the SEC to own the Red River Rivalry, further expand into new territory and bring in two more programs with huge alumni support bases.

To me the addition of Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. sounds much more impressive than the group of Florida St., Miami, Clemson and Georgia Tech.

And since the SEC is already divided into two geographically-based divisions it is easy to imagine a new alignment:

East
Alabama
Auburn
Florida
Georgia
Kentucky
South Carolina
Tennessee
Vanderbilt

West
Arkansas
LSU
Mississippi
Mississippi St.
Oklahoma
Oklahoma St.
Texas
Texas A&M

Wow…so the SEC will have spoken and made a huge impact on the college sports landscape.  Will they have solidified their spot at the top of the college football mountain?  What do you think about this potential SEC expansion?

What conference will make the next move?  Will the Pac 10 or ACC strive to match the SEC and Big 16?  Will the Big East or the conference formerly known as the Big 12 make a move for survival?

Photo sources: dherrera_96 and SD Dirk

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