This is going to look a lot like when the old South West Conference broke up over a decade ago where there will certainly be political influence on what teams should be invited. To no surprise Baylor is at the forefront of the political pressure, yet again. Back when the SWC disbanded it was originally BYU who was going to join the Big XII, but Governor Ann Richards who was a Baylor alum along with other Baylor graduates within the Texas state legislature forced the soon to be Big XII that they must include Baylor with Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Texas.
This next part is the actual update from SBNation that broke the news of the Texas Legislature forcing Baylor in.
Don't mess with Texas. Or, at least, don't invite three out of four of the Big 12 teams that hail from the state and leave Baylor out in the cold, if the latest report from Chip Brown is true. According to Brown -- who first broke the Pac-10 expansion mega-story -- the Texas legislature is moving to demand that the Pac-10 take Baylor instead of Colorado should the Pac-10 indeed invite six Big 12 schools to join a new super-conference. Per Brown:
"If you're going to have an exported commodity involved in this, do you think we're going to allow a school from outside the state of Texas to replace one of our schools in the Big 12 South? I don't think so. We're already at work on this," said a high-ranking member of the Texas Legislature who asked not to be identified.
"If the Pac-10 wants Texas, and we know they do, they may have to take all of our Texas schools," the source said, adding that Texas Tech has also benefited from political inclusion on the invite list.
Colorado's struggles on the gridiron and the hardcourt the past few years certainly make passing on the Buffs much more palatable for the Pac-10, even if would mean missing out on the potentially lucrative Denver television market. And, of course, the real issue, as the Texas legislators amply realize, is that UT is the big prize here, and the Pac-10 isn't likely to let Colorado hold up landing the Longhorns.
The Pac-10 has reportedly considered four possible options during its weekend meetings, and has whittled its options down to just a pair. Among the quartet of moves the Pac-10 might make are 1) keeping the status quo, 2) A full-on merger with the Big 12, 3) Inviting six Big 12 teams to join a new 16-team conference, and 4) Inviting Colorado and Utah to join a 12-team conference that would then be eligible for a lucrative conference title game. Brown reports that the league has narrowed its options down to either going forward with just its current ten teams, or adding six more from the Big 12.
Given that, the Texas legislature's apparent resolve to make sure Baylor is included on the list of the six invited teams would leave Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa State and Missouri in a bind, perhaps leaving the Big Ten (and possibly the MWC?) to pick up the pieces of a broken Big 12.
Find out what this means for the Mountain West Conference after the jump...
So what does this mean for the MWC? For a little review on what we knew before this update about what could happen to the MWC, I'm going to use some information from an earlier post by our site manager Jeremy Mauss.
There is still a huge IF regarding this expansion talk, but lets just play along and see what the Mountain West can do. The first good news is that Utah is not on this initial wish list to join the Pac-10 which means Boise State should not worried about joining a league that will be soon be torn apart by bigger leagues taking them away.
With half of the Big XII gone that leaves Baylor, Nebraska, Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa State left, and it is almost safe to assume that Missouri and Nebraska are going to the Big 10. That leaves Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, and Kansas State. The real loser is Kansas hoops and possibly Turner Gill who left Buffalo to be in a BCS league. Kansas could try to get in on the Big 10 action and possibly take Missouri.
On FoxSports radio earlier today they were saying put Baylor in the Mountain West. That should not happen, I do not care that they are neighbors with TCU they are on par with Colorado State (if that) in football and bring nothing to the table. My vote goes to Kansas which may mean bringing in Kansas State. That is not a bad deal to have a top notch hoop program and an up and coming football program that all ready has BCS athletes and facilities. At first blush Kansas State looks odd, but they would bring that 12th team to have a title game that now could be played in Kansas City in an NFL stadium. Plus, traveling is a big issue so why not have two teams in close proximity to ease travel costs.
I have heard that those left over teams could muscle some of the MWC to a new Big XII but with five not very good teams they have zero leverage and say in the matter. They will be at the mercy of other leagues. So, Craig Thompson should add Boise State when the presidents meetings begin on Monday, and sit back and see what happens. Once the carnage is done swoop in and take Kansas and Kansas State to form a 12 team league as soon as 2011. Also, with the fall of the Big XII the Fiesta Bowl will have an open spot so why not give it to the former members of the WAC that help build the Fiesta Bowl to what is today.
So with all that in mind, things may change. The report now is that if the Pac-10 wants to add Texas and the rest of those schools, they are going to have to replace Colorado with Baylor. With that being the case, if those six schools leave, here are the teams left over: Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State. In order to determine the actual amount of candidates I'm going to state some scenarios of Big 10 expansion and use those to figure out what the remaining candidates will be.
First, let's get something straight, Colorado is not an expansion candidate for the Big 10, Nebraska and Missouri are. So that means Colorado will not be talked about in this part.
The Big 10 is looking more and more likely a spot for Nebraska and Missouri, and with their extended silence from an ultimatium given by Big XII head man Dan Bebee should be nervous about losing those schools. These would be the only two to go to the Big 10 from the Big XII, well unless the Big 10 tries to grab Kansas to help improve their hoops programs. I could see them getting Kansas State and Kansas which would strengthen their midwest grip with Nebraska and Missouri while putting them at 15 teams. They then could grab Rutgers or shoot for the moon with Notre Dame instead. Kansas and Kansas State do not have the academics that the Big 10 has so they are out and will be left in no mans land for a while.
Assuming Baylor does some how make hell freeze over and get uncluded with the other Texas schools Colorado looks to be a real attractice choice for the Mountain West. Yes, the Buffs have not been great in years past, but they would bring in another big market with a large fan base that fits better then the Big XII did. With the possibilit of the Mountain West becoming a BCS league the MWC would become attractive for the Buffalos. They are bleedng money and any bigger of a hit would be detrimental to the entire university.
So, the Mountain West could add Boise to be at ten and then go after Kansas and Colorado to make a 12 team league. The teams most likely would not be invited to begin until the 2012 season which means their rankings would not count, but the MWC should be able to petition for a BCS bid. These new schools would immediately be around the level of Air Force and possibly higher, but a step below the big three.
The schedule could be an aight game conference and to keep things nice an ACC pattern would be formed to keep a competitve balance with Boise and TCU in the same division, because a division with BYU, Boise, and Utah is very tough. Compare that to TCU, Air Force and Kansas; that is something the Horned Frogs would breeze through.
Plus, the Mtn. would be in the midwest on a basic or lower teir package which in return would bring in more money, and a title game could be played at Arrowhead, Invesco, Jerryworld, Qualcomm (a dump I know), or even Sam Boyd in Las Vegas for a central location.
This all depends on if the Pac-10 wants to take six teams, and if they include Baylor in the mix. If Colorado is in the Pac-10 then look for the Mountain West to stand pat and perhaps bring in Kansas and Kansas State to round out a twelve team league.
So many scenarios to hash out, but keep checking back here to see the latest results, and stay tuned for news regarding Craigh Thompson's press conference at 11:45 AM to see if he makes the first move regarding expansion.