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BYU to the Big 12? Maybe. ESPN is Reportedly Involved in Discussions

Warning: College Football realignment rumors will run rampant for the next few days, perhaps even weeks. We’ll do our best to sift fact from fiction.

Could BYU be the answer to save the crumbling Big 12? According to Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune, BYU has been talking to officials from the Big 12 over the last week about the school’s football program possibly joining what’s left of the league currently being held together by silly putty:

A BYU source said the talks have included the school’s desire to utilize its own television network, BYUtv, in a BCS automatic-qualifying conference much as it plans to this year. The talks have also included ESPN officials and even some input from Notre Dame representatives, whom BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe has referred to as “partners” in the past year.

It isn’t terribly surprisingly that the Longhorns Big 12 reached out to BYU. The Big 12 is hemorrhaging teams, and one of the primary reasons is the Longhorn Network, because it has created a significant advantage (recruiting, partnership with ESPN) for Texas. So the smart move for the Longhorns would be to try and reel in another team with its own network, as if to say, “hey, these guys have their own network – see, it really isn’t that big of a deal!”

Desperate schools with no other options (Kansas St., Baylor, etc) may just decide, “ok, fine, you win” … but what will Oklahoma do? The Sooners are a national power with a strong football tradition and unlike the dregs of the Big 12, Oklahoma will have suitors. Perhaps OU’s academics aren’t up to snuff for the Big Ten, but the Pac-12 will eventually come calling.

If you’re Oklahoma, besides the Red River Rivalry – if Texas pulled this stunt with Texas A&M, you can be sure it’ll hold the Red River Rivalry over OU’s head – what’s the point of staying? Kirk Bohls of the Statesmen, a veteran newspaper guy who I don’t think has broken a story in conference realignment, but often tosses up wacky scenarios, floated this one last night: Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State are Pac 12-bound, which would create a Pac-16 beast that yes, would rival the SEC. If you’re wondering what the logistics would be like of the Longhorn Network and the Pac-12 network …

The Longhorn Network gets folded into the Pac-16 as a downsized regional network, joining the six regional networks that already exist within the conference.

There’s a lot to chew on in that sentence. Rumors! Weeeee!

I’ll speculate this: Larry Scott, the Pac-12 commish, is aggressive, savvy, and on the make to expand. Frankly, I’m surprised the Big Ten and SEC are operating so slowly. If Scott gobbles up Texas and Oklahoma, his conference covers half the country and in terms of talent, is deeper than the SEC. [via the Wiz of Odds]

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