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Conference Realignment: Pac-12 Decides To Not Expand, Big 12 Merger With Big East Is Axed

In another twist of events in conference realignment, the Pac-12 has come out and said that they will not expand and that they are content at 12 teams. Here is a portion of the press release from the Pac-12:

In light of the widespread speculation about potential scenarios for Conference re-alignment, the Pac-12 Presidents and Chancellors have affirmed their decision to remain a 12-team conference. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, "after careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference. While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve.

With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us."

This most likely means the Big 12 will stay intact with nine teams and hopefully slow down or even stop the super-conferences from forming, or at least from happening out West. The Big 12 actually could be at eight teams if the rumors are true about Missouri heading to the SEC, but there are conflicting reports regarding that move. If Missouri does go to the SEC that would put them at 14 teams and hopefully put an end of the SEC expanding.

Look for the Big 12 to go after BYU to replace Texas A&M to get to nine teams. As for a 10th team that is an unknown, Pitt was mentioned prior but they are off to the ACC and another team that was mentioned but low on the list was Air Force. Who knows maybe the Big 12 will stay at nine teams.

This also means the Big 12 and Big East merging is also dead and now the Big East must now find out how to replace Pitt and Syracuse since they are at seven teams once those schools head off to the ACC.

The Big East could go after East Carolina who applied for membership earlier today. Air Force and Navy could possibly be back in play since they were previously mentioned as Big East candidates, but I'd lean more toward Navy then Air Force being added.

TCU now finds itself in a tough situation, because had the Big 12 and Big East merged then they would been fine in moving to the Big East, but now there is a lot of uncertainty with only seven teams set to play football in the Big East come 2014, or even sooner if Pitt and Syracuse do leave earlier than expected. BCS criteria is going to play a huge factor in TCU's decision and as long as the Big East has eight teams they will be a BCS league and TCU will proceed as planned. I think the Big East will find a team and TCU will go to the Big East, because the Big East will retain their BCS status as long as they are a FBS.

This news also hurts the Mountain West since had the Big 12 and Big East merged that would have opened up another league to become an automatic qualifying conference and most likely would have gone to the Mountain West. So now the Mountain West must go through the petition process. Hopefully this alo means that the Mountain West and Conference USA merger is off the table, because that idea was just too radical and not really beneficial.

While it seems that the super-conferences are most likely not going to happen, the conference realignment is not going to stop any time soon.

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