So much for the turtles pace of 12-18 month time frame for the Big 10 to consider expansion. The Big 10 is meeting today in Washington as is expected to make a (likely) decision on whether to expand or not. Expansion has been this offseason's meme with articles talking about the death of the Big XII, creation of the 16 team super conferences, death of the Mountain West, Utah heading to the Pac-10, MWC candidates, various Big East teams heading to the Big 10, and many others.
The expected answer looks to be an overwhelming yes regarding the expansion today:
High-ranking Big Ten representatives will meet Sunday in Washington to discuss expansion. The timing and location of the session make sense considering the Association of American Universities has its semi-annual meetings there through Tuesday and all 11 Big Ten schools are AAU members.
If the conference can emerge from the meetings with a mandate to expand, Commissioner Jim Delany could take a substantial step next week at the annual Bowl Championship Series meetings outside Phoenix.
As laid out in the Big Ten's Dec. 15 statement, Delany would "notify" the commissioners of the affected conferences before "engaging in formal expansion discussions with other institutions."
The conferences to be notified is obviously the Big East first with Pitt, Rutgers, West Virginia, and Syracuse being mentioned, and then second is the Big XII since they want Texas. The biggest fish is still Texas and then Notre Dame even though the Irish are saying they are not interested, but once Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick is shown how much more money the Domers will make being in the Big 10 could change some things.
Big 10 expansion is all about the mighty dollar where Notre Dame could increase its annual television revenue from roughly $15 million to $22 million because of the Big 10 Network. Here is the top teams in terms of value are as followed below using a few factors via SB Nation's Big 10 blog Rivalry Esq:
9. The University of Missouri (6.75 Average)
8. The University of Kansas (6.00 Average)
7. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (5.5 Average)
6. Syracuse University (5.25 Average)
5. University of Pittsburgh (5 Average)
4. University of Nebraska (4.75 Average)
3. Texas A&M University (3.5 Average)
T-1. University of Notre Dame (1.75 Average)
T-1. University of Texas (1.75 Average)
The amont of teams is the issue because it can be either one team or as many as five:
"I don't think 16 is scaring anyone off, as long as you can find (five) that are a good enough fit," said one source who has been consulted during the exploratory phase. "They're looking long-term, across the horizon. What gives them the best shot at keeping value at a high level?"
If the Big 10 really wants Texas they will most likely have to bring in the red-headed step child Texas A&M because the Texas legislative would have a say in the move, and the Aggies must be taken with Texas. That decision could force the Big 10 to say no to Texas or create a16 team super-conference. That would leave three teams left and the Big 10 will still make a push for Notre Dame and then round out the next few choices in Missouri and a couple of Big East teams.
The Big East could be on the fast track to losing their BCS status if they lose two teams and the worst case scenario would be folding football and having the league back to being a basketball conference. The left over teams might options for the ACC and a remote possibility to join the SEC.
The affects on the Mountain West would be if any Big XII teams leave to join the Big 10, because if Missouri leaves BYU would be a really good choice to keep the league at 12 and keep the North/South divisions. Now, if Texas goes by itself then TCU would be a good fit for the same reason BYU would be if Missouri left. With the possibility of the Big 10 going for three or more teams with Texas, Texas A&M, and Missouri then the Big XII would be in trouble and they could take on BYU, TCU, and then the third team would be interesting and take too long to speculate at this time.
My strong opinion is that the Mountain West must be proactive and invite Boise State to have ten teams and be a league that is stronger then the Big East and at least on par with the ACC and Pac-10 in terms of the top teams. The Mountain West may not need to invite Boise State to gain AQ status for the BCS, but it would make the conference stronger with four legit top 25 teams each year, and a few others who will be bowl eligible.
Currently the Big 10 holds the cards in expansion talks as they look to make the first move, and if the Pac-10 is not paying attention they better perk up and get on the ball especially since their options are only minuscule in compared to what the Big 10 is looking to do.