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.
More games on the West Coast would increase the travel for OU and OSU. One game every eight years in Pullman, Wash., or Corvallis, Ore., is palatable. One trip every three or four years is less desirable.
Orangebloods.com reported over the weekend that the Pac-12 told OU and OSU it was not interested in expansion. But an OU source Sunday said he didn't know anything about that, and the Pac-12 source said that just goes along with what commissioner Larry Scott has been saying. That the league will not expand, unless another major conference goes beyond 12 teams. Then the Pac-12 would have to consider expanding, too.
Which leads us back to A&M. The SEC invited the Aggies to be its 13th member, but with the stipulation that no Big 12 school would file a lawsuit against the conference.
Baylor has declined to waive its right to sue, putting A&M's move in limbo.
But the SEC source said the Big 12's original letter, stating that the Big 12 and its members would allow A&M to move, weakens Baylor's legal status. The SEC source said he expects the Aggies to eventually join his conference.
OU sources, including president David Boren, have said the Sooners will look to leave the Big 12 if A&M departs.