The Big 10 has been talking around expanding their Conference for quite a while. Penn State was the last school to join the Big 10 in 1990, becoming the 11th school in the Conference. They tried to keep their expansion plans somewhat hush hush, only allowing bits and pieces of the plan to become public. Itís been recently reported that the Conference extended invitations to Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers and Notre Dame. Nebraska was the first school to accept their Big 10 invitation, joining the Conference for all sports beginning in 2011. Itís likely that the Big 10 wonít accept any more schools until itís clear how other alliances will shape up.
The Pac-10, on the other hand, was quick, bold, and brash with their expansion plans. The Conference didnít try to hide the fact that many of the schools they targeted for expansion were members of the Big 12 Conference - Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Colorado, and Texas A&M. Colorado has already accepted their invitation to join the Pac-10. Powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma are slated to leave, but, their departure is not official, yet. If they leave, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State will surely follow. Texas A&M may attempt to move on to the SEC. If these six schools leave the Big 12, the Conference may not survive. Not since the ACC raided the Big East a few years ago, leaving the Big East wounded but not dead, has their been such a concerted effort to decimate a Conference.
A much less controversial move was made when Boise State decided to leave the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) to join the Mountain West Conference in 2011, becoming the MWCís 10th member school. Further addition to the MWC could occur after all the restructuring dust settles.
This is a very exciting time, however, itís also bittersweet. Many heated rivalry match-ups could be lost in the realignment of college football conferences. Yes, new rivalries will be created and some will be maintained, but, some will be lost, all because of money. The main goals for the Big 10 and Pac-10 are to increase revenue and stature. I get the fact that itís a business. However, letís not forget how the ACC expanded because of the Benjamins and how their work product and stature in the college football landscape actually decreased.
A positive outcome from all of these moves could be a BCS playoff system down the line. If four Mega-conferences are ultimately created because of the recent moves, it would be easy to have a playoff system. Just think, a game could be played between conference champions from the east and south regions (think ACC/Big East vs. SEC), as well as the midwest and west (think Big 10 and Pac-10), with the winners playing for the BCS National Championship. Thatís exciting. Stay tuned, Ďcause this is going to be quite a ride!