Four schools are prominently mentioned as candidates to flee the Big 12:
ColoradoIn 1994, Colorado regents voted 6-3 to join the Big 12 rather than the Pac-10. Those were the salad days of Buff football. Now, CU’s athletic department is in a Chuck Fairbanks-style mess of 30 years ago. The Buffs wouldn’t make more money in the Pac-10, which could be looking to expand to 12 teams. →Chances of being asked: High. →Chances of accepting invitation: Moderate.
MissouriTo paraphrase Eddie Sutton, Mizzou would crawl on its hands and knees to get to the Big Ten, where the Tigers would make more money and quickly establish rivalries as solid as it has in the Big 12. But Missouri doesn’t add much to the Big Ten, which already has some of the St. Louis TV market thanks to Illinois. →Chances of being asked: Small. →Chances of accepting invitation: Virtually certain.
TexasAny conference would like Texas, which delivers several major television markets and big-time football and basketball. But neither the Big Ten nor Pac-10 makes sense geographically, and UT would lose its status as conference kingpin if it left the Big 12. →Chances of being asked: High. →Chances of accepting invitation: Small.
NebraskaAD Tom Osborne admitted the Huskers would listen if the Big Ten called. But Nebraska cherishes tradition. The Big Ten would covet NU’s tradition, but Nebraska’s lack of television sets is a downer. →Chances of being asked: Small. →Chances of accepting invitation: Small.
Texas A&MThe Aggies are tied politically to the University of Texas. UT almost surely couldn’t bolt the Big 12 without taking A&M along. And A&M wouldn’t go anywhere without Texas. →Chances of being asked: zilch without Texas being asked. →Chances of accepting invitation: 100 percent, if Texas accepted.