A report by Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World sent the college football world into another spin on Thursday. The Big Ten has had "preliminary exchanges" with Texas about changing conferences, according to an anonymous source.
"People will deny that, but it's accurate," the person told Keegan.
True or not, it's another signal that we're about to enter a new era of college football. It's no longer if expansion is coming, but when.
Columnists and bloggers were busy placing their bets. Will the Longhorns leave the Big 12 and jump to the Big Ten, or is this just idle chatter.
A look at where they stand:
Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman: Texas isn't joining the Big Ten. No way, no how. So put down your Ohio State pompoms and that JoePa pennant.
Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle: Lubbock for Columbus? Check. College Station for Ann Arbor? Don't ask. As for giving up Stillwater and Manhattan, well, it would be a struggle, but the Twin Cities is way nicer than any Big 12 city. Let's do it!
Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Even with the Big Ten's TV network, it’s hard to imagine Texas would be in a significantly better financial situation by moving to the Big Ten when you factor in the increased travel costs for non-revenue sports. Don't expect this to happen.Jon Solomon, Birmingham News: Texas already receives the most amount of TV money from the Big 12, so why would the Longhorns leave? For more than a year, Texas has been studying the creation of its own state-wide TV network. Clearly, the Longhorns think there's more TV money out there than what they're currently getting through the Big 12. Frankly, they're right. Maybe that additional money is through a Big Ten Network that has already been created and has a national audience.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: From the Big Ten's perspective, this makes perfect sense. Texas provides an almost ideal package of big-time football, top-flight basketball, strong academics (47th among national universities, according to U.S. News & World report, tied with Penn State), an outstanding brand, an impressive non-revenue sports program, a $16 billion endowment and, of most importance, a huge potential revenue source. The Big Ten Network would love to delve deep in the heart of Texas.
Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: None of this looks good for the Big 12. The conference seems ripe for picking because its current TV deals don’t measure up to the Big Ten's. When the Missouri governor preens for the Big Ten, and the message boards at Colorado and Texas blow up with fans certain the grass is greener elsewhere, the Big 12 has a public relations problem. That greener grass, of course, is media dollars, which today are much more plentiful in the Big Ten.
Randy Riggs, Austin American-Statesman: Texas declined to discuss the report — "We're not going to comment on speculation and rumors," spokesman Nick Voinis said. But in a January gathering with reporters before the Bowl Championship Series title game, Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds said the school would not consider joining the Big Ten.
Josh Langenbacher, Penn Love: Follow the money. There are $10 million reasons for Texas to consider such a move. Texas would also stand to benefit academically from a move.