Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas did his best to quell any rumors regarding Big 12 expansion following the first day of the Big 12 meetings on Wednesday. Neinas came out and told the media that the Big 12 athletic directors are content with the conference's current 10 members.
That's all well and good, but what would you expect the acting commissioner, who has mused that bigger does not equal better, to say?
The fact of the matter is that the Big 12 will look to expand, if and only if it makes sense for the current 10 schools financially. If each school will receive increased revenue as a consequence of expansion, it will eventually occur -- and it will occur sooner rather than later.
The University of Texas' presence in the conference does complicate things, however. As we pointed out here at SB Nation Dallas and Burnt Orange Nation yesterday, there are plenty of reasons why Texas might be against expanding the conference beyond its current 10 teams. Among other reasons, expansion could have a domino effect on the college conference landscape.
Assume for a minute that Florida State and Clemson become members of the Big 12 for the 2013 season. The 12 teams in the conference would enable the conference to utilize a conference championship game again. Dennis Dodd over at CBS Sports connected the dots a bit regarding a Big 12 championship game, and the SEC/Big 12 bowl game:
Here's how it would work: If the Big 12 goes to a dozen teams (or 14, or 16) it would reinstall a conference championship game. That would crystallize what the Champions Bowl announcement helped formalize -- that the base of power in college football exists with the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and Big 12.
"It absolutely does that ...," Dodds said of the bowl that kicks off in 2014. "It puts us in the role of being in the top four."
In that scenario, the Big Four all would have conference title games. That means eight division winners playing off for four conference titles in leagues that have won national championships in 16 of the last 18 seasons. Given that history, each of those division winners, playing the top schedules in the country, could conceivably be in the running for the national championship.
In effect, this will create a super-conference scenario, even if the Big 12 expands just to 12 teams. You can pretty much bank on other schools in the ACC and Big East trying to get into one of the super-conferences, in effect creating four, 16 member conferences before long.
As Peter Bean at Burnt Orange Nation put it yesterday, the Longhorns aren't trying to build the biggest, baddest, super-conference around. If Texas wanted to start a super-conference movement, they would have left the Big 12 for dead last year and joined the PAC-12.
Of course, if the money is right, I'm sure the Longhorns would be game for anything.
It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds later this summer, and if the Big 12 continues to flirt behind closed doors with Florida State, Clemson and other schools.
Be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas for all the latest on Big 12 expansion.