Thursday conference expansion roundup

Everybody is still trying to get their minds around what is about to be happening with the college sports landscape. Nebraska’s expected announcement that it would accept an invitation to the Big Ten — even though no such invitation has been publicly offered — is expected to kick in a series of events that will dissolve the Big 12 Conference and could leave both the Big Ten and Pac 10 with 16 teams each, forcing reaction from the nation’s two other major conferences, the SEC and ACC.

Reaction is coming from all over. Here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting . . .

First, breaking news this morning. Colorado, not Nebraska, is the actual first domino to fall. The Sporting News’ Matt Hayes is reporting that Colorado will formally announce today that it is leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10. [Sportingnews.com]

A telling quote from Tom Jurich. Via Courier-Journal U of L beat writer C.L. Brown’s blog, Jurich says, “To come out and say we’ll be in great shape, we’ll be in whatever league or we’ll be in the Big East, I don’t think anybody can say that yet. I really don’t.” [C.L. Brown’s blog]

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self wonders when it became meaningless to have a top-5 basketball program. “We play on Naismith Drive,” he told ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil. “The father of coaching [Phog Allen] was our second coach; Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith went to school here; the most dominant player in the game in Wilt went to school here. And it’s not like we haven’t lived up to it lately. But here we are potentially trying to find a home? I don’t get that.” [ESPN.com story]

Tony Barnhart, the top guru of all things southeastern football, thinks the SEC sure is being quiet. “There is absolutely nothing coming out of the SEC on this. This is as locked down as I’ve ever seen them. That should make some people nervous because (SEC commissioner Mike) Slive is a ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’ kind of guy.” [Barnhart’s blog]

Dallas Morning News columnist Kevin Sherrington says much of this has been powered by Nebraska animosity toward Texas. “Guess we didn’t realize how personally Nebraska took the end of the Big 12 championship game, did we?” And he issues a Nebraska a warning. “If they think Texas and the (Big 12) office treated them like second-class citizens, wait until they get a load of bluebloods like Ohio State and Michigan.” [Dallas Morning News]

Chris Dufresne of the L.A. Times says the Pac 10 is going to need a new name. “Pac-10 Conference officials declined to be interviewed about the deal because of the sensitive nature of negotiations,” he writes. “But a source with knowledge of the plan said, ‘It’s locked and loaded.'” [L.A. Times]


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