Utah's Pac-10 Dreams Are in The Hands of Nebraska

Within the next week we should have a fairly good idea how this mass realignment may shake out.  We all know it comes down to Texas' decision, but it looks like another team will influence Texas' decision.  That school is Nebraska.

Sunday the Pac-10 decided on what plan to implement in expansion.  According to Orangebloods and ESPN, they considered staying the same, a full merger with the Big 12, the six team expansion plan with the Big 12 and adding just Colorado and Utah to get to 12 teams for a championship game.

According to reports by Chip Brown at Orangebloods, there wasn't much enthusiasm for adding just Utah and Colorado, or a full merger with the Big 12.  Today, Larry Scott was given the green light to implement whatever plan they decided.  Although we don't know for sure, it's obvious what they chose.

Although the Pac-10 is pitching a very intriguing offer to Texas and several other Big 12 schools, they reportedly would like to stay in the Big 12.  Reports have said that Texas would like the option to create their own TV network and like the revenue distribution in the Big 12.

There are however three schools that are not all in for the Big 12:  Missouri, Colorado and Nebraska.  It's no secret that Missouri wants to hook up with the Big Ten and Colorado wants to hook up with the Pac-10.  The Big 12 is reportedly aware of that and feels like they can remain intact despite those two losses.

Now, if Nebraska leaves, it's another story.  Losing a program with the power and prestige of Nebraska is believed to be enough for Texas and the other Big 12 teams to accept the Pac-10 offer.  If Nebraska decides to take its chances with the Big Ten, Utah's hopes of getting in the Pac-10 are over, probably forever.

If Nebraska decides to stick with the Big 12 and the other schools follow suit, Utah has a strong chance of getting a Pac-10 invite.  Without the ability of grabbing Texas and the Big 12 schools, the Pac-10 may want to add Colorado and Utah to at least get a championship game before they begin negotiations for their TV deal.

Missouri and Nebraska has been given a deadline by the Big 12 to decide what conference they would like to be a part of.  That deadline is reportedly 5 p.m. on Friday night, but it may be extended until June 15.  

Whatever those schools decide, it looks like it will set off a massive chain reaction of expansion that will drastically change the college athletics landscape.  One decision appears to mean much more than the other. 

The world of college sports will be anxiously waiting for their decision.

Follow Michael Rueckert on Twitter @MichaelRueckert

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