Golden Nuggets: Get Ready for the Pac-16

Larry Scott's Pac-16 expansion plan is a couple steps from becoming reality.  Nebraska is primed to bolt from the Big 12 to join the Big Televen.  Due to formal application procedures, Nebraska will not officially join until late this week or early next week.  This is the first in a series of events that will likely pave the way for the emergence of the Pac-16.

Meanwhile, an anonymous source from the University of Oklahoma told The Oklahoman to "load up on your sunscreen."  TMZ (I know, I know) is reporting that the Oklahoma State Cowboys will soon make an announcement accepting the Pac-10's invitation.

Expansion is already officially underway as Colorado has accepted its invitation to the Pac-10.  The four Texas schools are having a meeting today to decide how they can all remain in the same conference.

A source with direct knowledge of the Pac-10's discussions about adding more Big 12 teams told ESPN's Joe Schad on Thursday that from the Pac-10's perspective, it's "simply a matter of who signs next."

Colorado's move might spell the end for the Big 12 Conference. Nebraska is also poised to announce its move from the conference to the Big Ten.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has asked Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor to meet Thursday so they can talk about ways the four state schools could remain in the same conference. A source confirmed to ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan that the four schools will meet Thursday.

Now that it looks like this expansion is underway, what will the new conference look like?  Who would get BCS bids? Will there be a championship game?  I think you all will be quite pleased...

The new conference would be split into divisions with the Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado forming an Eastern Division with Arizona and Arizona State opposite the former Pac-8 (USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State) in the Western Division.

The coach said it's possible the Pac-16 would push for two automatic bids to the BCS, one for each division champion. That potential bonanza could open the possibility of the two division champs from one league playing for the national title, and it would eliminate the need for a conference championship game.

"The Pac-10 doesn't believe in a championship game," the coach said. "And coaches in the Big 12 don't like it anyway."

At last night's Coaches Tour, Tedford voiced support of the expansion, saying "I’d like another shot at Texas after they screwed us out of the Rose Bowl."

We wouldn't be Cal fans if we didn't meticulously examine all the ways the Pac-16 could fail to emerge, but we can do that after the jump.  Also after the jump JO covers last night's Coaches Tour, Bruce Feldman tries to name the new conference, Cal sports score well on the latest APR, and Cal picks up an offensive lineman.

Now that Colorado has joined the Pac-10 and Nebraska is about to leave for the Big Televen, let's take a look at the Big-12 minus two.

As it exists (or will exist within the next few days), the Big 12 has ten teams.  Suddenly, the conference has no need for a championship game anymore, which makes it easier for the conference (aka Texas and second place) to earn two BCS bids.  Additionally, under this layout the Big 12 would allow Texas to move forward with the Longhorn Network.  With an easier road to the BCS and a possible Texas-exclusive television network (as opposed to a Pac-16 network), has the Big 12 suddenly become more attractive to its remaining members?

ESPN Texas says that independent of what Nebraska does, the fate of the Big 12 is with Texas.

Some seem to think Nebraska is the linchpin school here, that what the Huskers decide to do will determine the collegiate landscape for years to come. I beg to differ. The choice, as it should be, is with Texas.

If Texas wants the Big 12 to survive, with or without Nebraska, then it will survive and even flourish. That's how strong the Longhorns are in collegiate athletics. They can make this happen any way they want it to happen.

As fans, we are at Texas' mercy here. The Big 12 isn't the old SWC -- more's the pity -- but it's what we were left with in the aftermath of that great shake-up. It is ours, such as it us, and we have reluctantly been learning to make the best of it, even without TCU, SMU, Rice and Arkansas. It is what it is.

Another snag in the potential Pac-16 is Baylor.  The red headed stepchild of Texas athletics insists that the four Texas schools remain in the same conference.

In any scenario, whether staying in the Big 12 or ending up elsewhere, [Baylor president Ken] Starr [yes, that Kenneth Starr] emphasized that he wants Baylor to remain with Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

"The current situation is extremely fluid," Starr said. "What we firmly believe is that the Big 12 should stick together and the Lone Star State schools of the Big 12 should stick together. That's what's in best interest of Baylor, of Texas and our own community here in Waco."

To preserve the unity of the four Texas schools, Texas legislators were working to force the Pac-10 to extend its invitation to Baylor instead of Colorado.  That obviously did not happen.  Governor Perry's meeting today may be as effective as the Texas legislature's attempt to keep the conference together.  Nonetheless, there is a chance the Texas schools will insist on staying together.  Will Baylor be the hanger-on that forces the Texas schools to remain in the Big 12 or will the Texas schools tell Baylor there is only room for one Bear in the Pac-16?

Ultimately, this all rests with Texas.  If Texas wants to remain in the Big 12, the conference will be preserved in a new ten-member format.  If Texas decides to join the Pac-10 (11?), the Big 12 will be dissolved, leaving Baylor and the former Big 12 North schools without a membership in a BCS conference.

Although the Pac-16 is not official yet, that hasn't stopped Bruce Feldman from having fun trying to come up with names for the conference.

 

On to the Cal-related news:

The latest APR scores were released and Cal scored 969, good enough for second in the Pac-10 (behind Stanford).  The score puts Cal somewhere in the 80th-90th percentile nationwide.  Monty's team scored an impressive 1000(perfect score).  Nine others had a perfect score, including men's cross country, men's gymnastics, men's tennis, men's indoor and outdoor track & field, women's rowing, lacrosse, volleyball and women's water polo.

Cal Football

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