The possibility has emerged that the Big 12 may table expansion, at least for a few months, when the league's presidents meet next week in Dallas.
Multiple sources told CBS Sports that putting off an expansion decision has emerged as a possible option. The league's presidents meet Sunday and Monday in Dallas. Among other items on the agenda is a discussion on expansion but not necessarily a resolution.
In the rabid speculation that has raged since July, delaying a decision has hardly been mentioned. But one source said, if it goes that way, a resolution on expansion may not come until at least after Christmas.
Another said there would be no surprise Monday "if this is not going to have a lid put on it yet."
The question then becomes: What more would the Big 12 know then that it doesn't know now? In July, the conference announced it would formally explore expansion. In September, conference officials listened to presentations from all of the reported 11 finalists.
One source involved in the process credited Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby for helping the presidents even consider expansion.
Officials at two schools hoping to join the Big 12 say they haven't heard from the conference in at least four weeks.
Many expect the Big 12 next week to turn either a thumbs up or thumbs down on an expansion process that is almost three months old. The lean at the moment seems to be toward no expansion.
Several sources said they don't believe there are enough votes for any of the expansion candidates to get in. Big 12 rules require a super-majority -- eight of 10 schools -- to admit any new member.
Officials at the highest level of the Big 12 have indicated to CBS Sports over the past few weeks that they have no idea which way things are headed.
One person with intimate knowledge of the process said there was a "fairly good" chance expansion may be tabled, then quickly added, "I have no idea what's going to happen."
There are seemingly no absolutes in the Big 12. Without much warning in June, presidents added a league championship game that begins in 2017.
It was almost totally unexpected in July when Big 12 CEOs announced an exploration of expansion by two to four teams. Since then, there has been no consensus, although it is generally accepted that expansion would include no more than two teams should it occur.
Other possibilities remain on the table including one or both of the two expansion schools being football-only members.
The league remains in the process of determining the site of the 2017 championship game. It still must figure out how the participants in that game will be determined. Matching the winners of two divisions -- with Texas and Oklahoma on opposite sides -- seems to be the most likely resolution.
Oklahoma president David Boren is generally credited with creating expansion momentum. In June 2015, he advocated for the Big 12 to expand, add a conference network and championship game.
Boren, currently the Big 12 board chair, has since backed away from those comments.
If the Big 12 expands, the favorites are believed to be BYU, Cincinnati, UConn and Houston.
Sources contacted for this story did not wish to be identified due to the sensitivity regarding a private process that has yet to be decided.