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SEC official expects Texas A&M will be cleared; Expanded Pac-12 might not use division scheduling model

BY TRAVIS HANEY AND BERRY TRAMEL Staff Writers Published: September 11, 2011

A Southeastern Conference official told The Oklahoman over the weekend that he expects Texas A&M eventually to be cleared to join the SEC.

But even though the Aggies' departure from the Big 12 would trigger the desire of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to join the Pac-12 Conference, a potential Pac-12 invitation might not be as cushy as the Sooners and Cowboys received last summer from that conference.

A Pac-12 source said Sunday the scheduling model proposed last year — two divisions, with only two cross-division games per season – wouldn't necessarily be used if the league expands this time.

With only two interdivisional games in a Pac-16, travel to the West Coast would be limited to one game per year for the proposed East Division schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Colorado and whatever foursome comes in from the Big 12.

But exposure in California is important to the Arizona and Rocky Mountain schools.

The Pac-12 source said the league is coming from a much stronger position this year, thanks to the Pac-12's new television contracts.

Of course, if the University of Texas is involved in the proposed expansion, the negotiations could get interesting, since the Longhorns and their television clout would be awfully tempting for the Pac-12.

And the original divisional format would be popular with the four Pacific Northwest schools, which under the current 12-team format lost their annual game in Los Angeles, against either Southern Cal or UCLA. Games in LA are considered huge for recruiting purposes by all the Pac-12 schools.

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