Pac-10 expansion, now with Big 12 and very little Big Ten.

Up at the Pac-10 meetings, the topic of expansion will once again be revisited.

I’ve talked about this several times before, but now the latest rumor has the Pac-10 inviting 6 teams from the Big 12: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado.

Of those, Colorado is probably the only one with a realistic probability of making a jump. And of those, Texas is the LEAST likely to make a jump. Here’s why:

1. Texas: $10.2 million
2. Oklahoma: $9.8 million
3. Kansas: $9.24 million
4. Texas A&M: $9.22 million
5. Nebraska: $9.1 million
6. Missouri: $8.4 million
7. Texas Tech: $8.23 million
8. Kansas State: $8.21 million
9. Oklahoma State: $8.1 million
10. Colorado: $8.0 million
11. Iowa State: $7.4 million
12. Baylor: $7.1 million

That is the revenue gained in 2007 from the conference sharing deal the Big 12 has in place. The Big 12 rewards teams based on a formula, while the Pac-10 doles out shares equally (10% to everyone). Don’t think for a moment that Texas is looking at a Pac-16 formula that would essentially give the Longhorns only 6.25%, when currently they get 9.9% of the Big-12 revenue. And don’t think for a moment that the current members of the Pac-10 would vote to give Texas a larger share of the pie at their expense.

That said, Texas isn’t really looking at the Big Ten either – they are balking at being the far southern border of that conference, with the idea of having to play Rutgers or Minnesota every season not exactly tempting. (Who could blame them?)

From a monetary breakdown, Colorado got 7.76% of the Big 12 revenue in ’07. A 1/12 split for Colorado actually nets them 8.33%, so that’s something Colorado has to consider. Oklahoma State is in the same boat (7.86%) as is Texas Tech (7.99%). Two of those three moving to a Pac-12 would benefit themselves well financially. That said, a drop from 7-8% to 6.25% isn’t a large drop either, and the difference could be made up in a TV deal.

A Pac-16 super conference would have a huge TV deal and be in three time zones – that’s something that Texas, as well as the others, MUST consider because of the exposure and recruiting for all their sports. A TV deal could make up the difference in lost conference revenue.

Now Texas A&M is considering joining the SEC – a move that would probably benefit them more than a jump to the Pac-10. Texas A&M is not enamored with playing anyone in the Pacific Time Zone, mostly because of the travel times and detriment to the student-athletes for getting back home at 6:30am and having to go straight to an 8am class – which has happened before with games against Oregon and Washington. Also, Texas A&M needs money. While Texas is easily one of the top 5 programs in the nation in terms of bringing in money (USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Michigan are the others), Texas A&M really depends on its Big 12 revenue, and a drop from 8.95% to 6.25% is probably too much. Finally, Texas A&M is the farthest SE of the entire Big 12 conference. If they played in the Pac-10/12/16, they would be the Eastern-most team of the conference. Playing in the SEC is more convenient travel-wise for them.

Oklahoma is reportedly leaning toward the SEC for some of the same reasons (outside of the financial), but that stance could change depending on who jumps where.

However, the remaining schools (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Colorado, Texas) are of the belief that academia of the SEC is not on par with their current standards – and none of the NCAA FBS conferences really are on par academically with the Pac-10 anyway.

Really, if the Pac-10 would going to expand, they are going to either do it in two ways:

1. Only add two teams to make a Pac-12 conference. More and more likely is the addition of Colorado. The other team would happily be (in preferred order) Utah, Texas Tech, San Diego State, Colorado State, Air Force, or New Mexico.

2. Add six teams to make a Pac-16 super conference. Again, Colorado, along with Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech from the Big 12. Then Utah plus one other (Texas? San Diego State?) to create a Pacific division (Washington, WSU, Oregon, OSU, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA) and a Southwest division (Arizona, Tempe Normal, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas/SDSU).