Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News reminds us that with expansion news, things change quickly but final deals don't always get done quickly. There are a lot of moving parts.
And count him among the folks who don't see this getting done within 24 hours. Or even a week.
My position from going through this whole Pac-16-with-Texas thing twice is the same as it was in 2010: The best deal for the old Pac-10 (now Pac-12) and for Texas is the Pac-16. Commissioner Larry Scott knows that. He did the homework. Texas, however, thought it could outsmart the market because it's, well, Texas. It couldn't. So here we are again with Scott still being right and Texas perhaps coming around.
We'll see if accord is reached. There are more momentum shifts in expansion coverage than most football games.
But let's imagine the Pac-16 getting done. Wilner and the Austin American-Statesman both write about a potential solution to what worries many Pac-12 fans, most particularly those from Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado, who aren't thrilled with the idea of being in an East Division with the old Big 12 teams.
What about pods? From the Austin newspaper:
If the four schools and the Pac-12 come to an agreement, a football conference could be aligned in four four-team pods, with Texas joined by Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Texas would play those schools every year to preserve rivalries.
How would the overall playing schedule work out for football? As of right now, the conference is discussing an alignment where teams would play nine conference games. Teams would play every other team in their pod each season, along with two teams from each of the other three pods.
It is believed the championship game would be decided by overall conference record, meaning any two teams could play in the championship game on a given year.
"I don't know what kind of blunt instrument, like east and west, north and south, would make sense," Scott said. "We've got a lot of flexibility and a lot of creativity we could bring to alignment issues. "
By the way, good job by the Statesman in getting Scott to entertain a hypothetical. It's a rare moment when Scott shows that, yes, there's been some deep thinking about a Pac-16 world, though, of course, that happened back in 2010, too.
Wilner goes into more detail:
Here’s my educated guess as to how the conference would handle the situation. Call it the pod rotation system:
1. Divide the 16 teams into pods of four: the Northwest schools, the California schools, the Mountain schools and the Texas/Oklahoma schools (or the Kansas/Oklahoma schools).
You’d play the three teams in your pod every year and two teams from each of the other three pods to form the nine-game league schedule.
2. Pair two sets of pods to create one eight-team division and two sets of pods to create another eight-team division.
3. Keep the pods together for two years to provide home-and-home scheduling, and then switch the pod pairings.
In other words, the California schools could be paired with the Mountain schools in a division for two years, and then the California schools could be paired with the Northwest schools in a division for two years … and so on.
No alignment will make everybody completely happy. That's what compromise is. But it's clear that the goal is to retain as much of the tradition as is possible while creating something so new it was hard to imagine just a few years ago.
Of course, to analyze as Yogi Berra might, "It ain't a done deal until it's a done deal."