Expansion: It's coming and it's coming soon.
The latest round of rearranging the deck chairs on college football's luxury liner. You saw it in December when the Big Ten went out of its way to announce it was looking into expansion. The conservative, staid, reclusive (Walnut Park, Calif.?) Pac-10 then shook things up Tuesday by saying it is ready to "seriously" look at expansion.
I talked to a few people on Wednesday and an analysis piece is forthcoming later today, but suffice to say this comes down to three key elements at the moment:
Missouri to the Big Ten.
Colorado to the Pac-10 (as one of two expansion teams).
The Big 12 to the Rolodex to see who is interested in joining its fractured conference.
If the Large Dozen loses two teams, that damages its chances to negotiate for lucrative contracts when its TV deals come due in the next three years. Then as the Big 12 scrambles to stay together, it robs from the poor (TCU? Houston?) TV consultant Neal Pilson told me this latest round of upheaval means that the core of college football may be limited to 40 schools.
"The colleges better be careful that they don't get what they're asking for," Pilson said, "that is complete freedom to make TV deals because TV is basically interested in the big schools. I'm talking about the bigger schools within the big conferences. I think the magic number is probably 30 to 40."
That's essentially what Comrade Ratto wrote today, cutting to the chase with machete as usual.