And so the inevitable has come to pass, per Joe Schad:
University of Texas regents will meet next week to decide whether the Longhorns will remain in the Big 12 or switch to another conference, setting the table for an unprecedented realignment of power conferences in college sports.
A source within the Big 12 told ESPN's Joe Schad on Friday that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are poised to announce they intend to join the Pac-10 as early as Tuesday, with Texas A&M still not firmly on board.
The Big XII is dead, period. Colorado left. Nebraska stormed off two hours ago, refusing to pay the buyout and publicly bashing Texas on the way out out the door. Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, truth be told, have most likely already decided to join the Pac-10, leaving only the official formal procedures for next week. Texas A&M may legitimately want to go to the SEC, but political and cultural realities will never allow it; in time, they'll follow the rest of the herd out west to the Pac-10. Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Baylor will be left in the wake, hoping with all their might that the Big Ten will come save them from the burning wreckage of the Big XII, all the while realizing the harsh reality that some sort of an alliance with the Mountain West Conference is likely in their future. Chip Brown will get a king's ransom when it's all said and done from a big publishing house to write the definitive tell-all on how everything went down.
Perhaps the only real question mark at this point is the time that this all begins. Previously it has been assumed that none of these changes would take place before 2012, but Nebraska is apparently hoping that they can join competition in the Big Ten beginning in 2011. That won't really affect any of the structural changes themselves in any way, but it does give a sense of just how closely all of these changes are to becoming concrete reality. We're not talking way on down the road here, we're talking about fourteen months to go.
That said, however, It's all over at this point, it's really just a matter of the final official confirmations on the things we all know are going to happen anyway. And as such, there's really no reason to keep beating this dead horse. We've covered it, I think, as closely as possible here at RBR, and while we'll keep the confirmations updated, unless something drastic unexpectedly changes, it's time to move on to other subjects.
Particularly, this... with the Pac-10 moving to sixteen teams and the Big Ten moving to at least fourteen, it's clear that the SEC will expand in kind. So, for now, it's time to stop beating the Big XII horse to death and start focusing on the viable expansion candidates on the radar screen of the SEC. I'll have an overview piece up probably sometime over the weekend, but at least by Monday.