February 11, 2010

Latest Expansion Rumor: Texas to the Big Ten

Texas--yes, that Texas--is talking with the Big Ten about the possibility that the Longhorns could be added as the conference's 12th team, come 2011. At least, that's what Tom Keegan, sports writer for The Lawrence Journal-World, reported today.
A source with ties to the Big Ten said that while most people’s attention has been trained on the conference stealing Missouri, the Big Ten has engaged in “preliminary exchanges” with a much bigger fish from the Big 12... “There have been preliminary exchanges between the Big Ten and Texas,” the source told the Journal-World on Wednesday. “People will deny that, but it’s accurate.”
So, what? Most of the pundits are out there right now calling this possibility a no-brainer move for Texas and the Big Ten. But I'm not quite so enthused. Call me a traditionalist to the point of being flawed, but I just don't like the idea of the Eight Contiguous Northern States, plus Texas, Conference. Even worse, doesn't this kind of thing just ooze NFL? I mean, seriously, would this not be just as money-grubbing as the NFC East, with the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, and Dallas Cowboys?

I shouldn't get all worked up, though. "Preliminary exchanges" is another way of saying that the Big Ten and Texas are aware that each other exist. I'm sure the Big Ten has contacted at least a half-dozen schools by now, but only the higher profile programs are eager to leak the goodies. Remember that whole Pitt thing a few weeks ago? Yeah, that worked out real well.

This is not to say at all that Texas hasn't been contacted by the Big Ten, or that the Longhorns aren't interested in hearing what the Big Ten has to offer (which isn't really that much). Notre Dame was one or two meetings away from coming on board in 1999, but whatever agreement the two parties had going fell apart, seemingly one minute before zero hour.

The addition of just one team like Texas--superpower, huge revenue base, recruiting Mecca--seems highly unlikely for the Big Ten. If this report came with additional rumors of the Big Ten looking to poach Texas, and two more teams from major conferences like the Big XII, then I'd say hold on to your hats, folks. For now, though, let this one simmer on the back burner for at least a little while longer, before we all go freaking out that the Big Ten will round up one of the biggest juggernauts in college football.

Would you like to see Texas in the Big Ten?


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