So today was apparently not a good day for the Big 12 to die. Despite all reports to the contrary, Texas will apparently stay in the Big 12 South and the Pac-10 is now stuck with Colorado.
I'm starting to think that perhaps this was all a ruse—like the 96-team NCAA tournament—designed to frighten fans into believing a worse-case scenario was inevitable, only to smooth the way for a slightly less terrible idea. Unfortunately, this mamby-pamby middle ground nonsense actually is the worst case scenario. The Big Ten gets awkwardly bigger, but with no skin off Notre Dame's back. The perfect symmetry of the Pac-10 is ruined. (And USC is still top dog.) The SEC remains unblemished. The Big 12 limps along, weakened, forever beholden to one school, and in need of a new name. And worst of all—the BCS is preserved forever. Blowing the sport apart would have at least had that advantage of playoff, but now we sacrificed tradition and geographical sanity for ... what exactly? A cable channel no one outside of Texas will watch and a road trip to Lincoln every two years. Hoo-freakin'-ray.
In case, you're not fully caught up, here's a recap of where we stand at the moment. (This could all change again tomorrow, but only if we're lucky.)
Colorado makes the Pac-10 the Pac-11: This is still a win for the Pac-10, because they get to move into the Denver market and leave the door open for further expansion—a Utah or BYU perhaps?—without upsetting the current power balances in the league. Texas would have increased revenue dramatically, but they would have also demanded the lion's share, so it's not as big a loss as it seems. The question is: Would Colorado have jumped ship if they knew no one was coming into the water behind them? The Buffs would probably not like to dwell on that.
Little Big 10?: With Nebraska and CU gone, they lose their conference championship game that, while somewhat lucrative, was a giant pain in the ass that no one liked. They could easily grab two new teams—a Utah or BYU perhaps?—to pump themselves back up, but why bother? When it wasn't an embarrassing blowout, the title game was usually costing an unbeaten team a shot at the national title. Texas gets paid either way—maybe rename it the Longhorn Conference—so Dr. Pepper and Jerry Jones can just deal with it.
Big Big Ten?: So many questions remain: How will the Big 10 draw their divisions? Can they shoehorn a little 2 into the logo? Will they get a championship game? Should we make Penn State play Nebraska every year—distance apart: 1,088 miles—because it's really important that we protect the awesome Michigan-Ohio State rivalry at all costs. (P.S. Six wins and counting.) Or maybe Rich Rod, Inc. should move the West for "competitive balance"? The mind boggles.
Notre Dame: Seriously, screw those guys. Hard.
Big Winner: The Mountain West? The only conference that seems to have handled this well, they grabbed Boise State at just the right time, granting them a 10th team (provided they can hold on to Utah) and as much right to a BCS bid as the Big 12. Will they get it? Eventually. Then they can get the SEC ass-kickings that they rightfully deserve.