The Big One Is Coming (Updated)

UPDATE: After I posted this, Kathy and I went to Lowe's for wood and stuff, 'cause we're building shelves.  When we got back I checked the world and found this article by Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com. McMurphy sees some of the same things I do, but he's got more details. (I like it when I am agreed with.) And he also spells out a consequence that is perfectly certain, but I hadn't developed it.

First, I wrote: "We are headed to four giant conferences." Here's McMurphy:
With all of the speculation and connecting-the-dots scenarios surrounding conference realignment (Texas A&M to the SEC, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State possibly to the Pac-12), the obvious end game was this: the ACC and Big East would be the final two conferences with possibly only one surviving. Sort of like a Thunderdome showdown: two conferences enter, one conference leaves. And the ACC took the initiative in guaranteeing its survival.
 Here is the clear inference - assuming there's only going to be 4 super conferences and that the Big Ten, the SEC and the Pac 12 are three of them; and that the Big 12 will not exist, then it's down to the ACC and the Big East for the final seat at the table. Today, the ACC looks like the winner.

That means the Big East is going away. McMurphy again, this time about a certain university named:
Notre Dame - This is where things get really interesting. The Irish always have wanted to remain an independent. And as long as the Big East is around for the Irish to have a landing spot for their Olympic sports, they will stay independent. However, if there no longer is a Big East, the Irish would be forced to join a conference to find a home for their Olympic sports. In other words: hello, Big Ten.
If you've read my posts on this topic, you know I've been saying all along this was about the Big Ten landing Notre Dame. Today, someone else says it, too.

ORIGINAL POST: The big one is on the way.

The big college athletic conference re-alignment, that is. The news Saturday is that Pitt and Syracuse have applied to join the ACC. Friday we heard that the regents at Texas will meet to discuss conference affiliation. Oh, it coming, all right. Kiss the Big 12 good-bye, if you can muster enough affection to smooch that shotgun-wedding style of a conference.

Here is where we stand:

Nebraska and Colorado, Big 12 members as recently as the spring, began play in new conferences this fall, the Big Ten and the Pac 12, respectively.

At the end of August Texas A&M said auf Wiedersehen to the Big 12 (not sure why they spoke German) and applied to join the SEC.

Within days of that announcement, Oklahoma said they wanted to explore their options, too.

Then Texas with their announcement.

Today, Pitt and Syracuse.

But the big finish is yet to come. Though it's on the way.

We can see where this is headed. Stronger conferences are expanding, picking up strong schools to deepen the quality of their membership. They are adding schools to increase the conference footprint and TV market. The number of schools that remain to be of benefit is shrinking with each announcement. The rapidity with which this is happening is accelerating, like a snowball rolling downhill.

If you are conference leader considering expansion, you probably are hearing alarms right now. The pool of prospective candidates just got smaller with Pitt and Syracuse's announcement. Especially for the Big Ten. Pitt and Syracuse might have been decent fits for that conference, but not now. Oklahoma probably goes west to the Pac 12, which has promised it will not stand pat if teams start to jump. Maybe Texas is looking at the Pac 12. You don't want to be a conference needing to expand and the only options that remain are a bunch of Iowa States. The SEC is going to look for a fourteenth member, but the speculation is that the super conferences will have 16 members. Who will they be? Act now, because once they're gone, they're gone.

I'll say again what I have believed about this from the beginning. The Big Ten started this and I think they will finish it. They've been quiet, but I don't think they've been sitting still. They'll go to 14 and maybe 16 and I think Missouri will be one of their choices, it makes too much sense.

The SEC is expanding, as is the ACC. The Pac 12 has promised to respond. Do you think the Big Ten will do nothing? Neither do I. We are headed to four giant conferences. And the Big Ten will not be left behind.

And neither will Notre Dame.

Yes, the big one is coming.

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