Just when we thought we were out of the expansion business, they pull us back in.
Or does Missouri's wandering eye -- away from the Big 12 and toward the SEC -- mean anything for the Pac-12?
It could but probably doesn't in the short-term.
Jon Wilner, as usual, provides some informed speculation here. You'll note his story is mostly about the SEC, Big East and Big 12.
And he makes clear who the villain is here -- besides, of course, Texas. Writes Wilner:
Make no mistake, folks: The SEC’s desire to sign a new TV deal -- and its frustration that the little old Pac-12 has a better deal -- is driving the realignment.
There wouldn’t be anyplace for A&M and Mizzou to go without the SEC opening its doors.
In other words, Texas laid the groundwork for the demise of the Big 12 -- at least as we know it -- but the SEC is carrying out the execution.
Of course, the Big 12, upon losing its third and likely fourth team in two years could go hunting for a new pair -- or foursome to get to 12 teams again -- but the choices are limited, and most have a downside.
What about the Pac-12?
The idea of a Pac-16 isn't dead, but it will only happen on commissioner Larry Scott's -- and the Pac-12 presidents' -- terms. The truth is Scott, who still believes the future will be superconferences, will have to win over the presidents to the justifications of further expansion. The presidents got their TV contract -- their money -- so now they're pulling back inward.
Texas would still be the centerpiece of a best-case, read lucrative, scenario, but the Longhorns would have to agree to the Pac-12 terms: 1. Equal revenue sharing; 2. The Longhorn Network joining the framework of the Pac-12's regional networks.
The problem is inding anyone who thinks Texas will give up the Longhorn Network.
Texas has another issue. Pac-12 folks don't trust Texas. Those exact words were said to me recently by an administrator at a Pac-12 school, and various versions of those sentiments have been repeated to me for months.
The general feeling inside the Pac-12 office is that it continues to believe it operates from a position of strength. If it needs to expand as the landscape changes, it will have plenty of options.
The SEC landing a TV contract that eclipses the Pac-12's deal? Well, that's just a market reality that will surprise no one.
It's hard to imagine things are becoming stable. The Big East and Big 12 on not on firm footing. That means the discussion of expansion scenarios hasn't ended inside the Pac-12 office.