Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, the Texas Longhorns Rivals site, is reporting that he has been told by numerous "sources" that the Pac-10 is preparing to offer 6 Big 12 schools the opportunity to join a new, 16 team conference. The 6 teams would be Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Texas. The newly added Big 12 schools would combine with Arizona and Arizona State to form the eastern division and USC, UCLA, Stanford, California, Oregon, and Oregon State would make up the western division.
The thought is the Big 16 (or whatever they decide for the name) would start its own television network that could command premium subscriber dollars from cable providers on par with the Big Ten Network and pay out upwards of $20 million to each of the 16 schools in TV revenue.
Such a merger between the six Big 12 schools and the Pac-10 would build a conference with seven of the country's top 20 TV markets (Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento). And such a league would likely command attention from every cable system in the country and command a premium rate from every cable system west of the Mississippi.
Those projected TV revenues would double the current payouts of roughly $9 million to Big 12 and Pac-10 members. If the Big 16 reached its projections, the league would also surpass the SEC's projected payout of $17 million per school reached in a 15-year TV deal with ABC/ESPN and CBS signed in 2008.
Obviously, we have heard numerous rumors of imminent offers coming from a bunch of different conferences to a bunch of different schools that were nothing but neato fabrications so this should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt. However, as a Buff and Sooner and Pac-10 football fan, this would be absolute heaven for me. Seriously, I can't think of anything more perfect and I don't think I would ever need to leave this new conference's own channel. You would have to assume that this would definitely mean Missouri to the Big 10 and possibly Nebraska if an offer was put on the table. Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor would be left scrambling. Maybe a possible jump with Boise State to the Mountain West?
Anyways, even though there is only a minuscule chance that this will happen as outlined above, it's still extremely fun to think about on a slow Thursday afternoon...