I've been trying to stay somewhat on top of where the next moves in college football's conference shuffling palooza is heading, but as you guys know -- this is a world filled with smoke, mirrors, rumors, and a touch of not-so-dramatic daytime soaps music.
Yesterday on Tim Brando's radio show, Tony Barnhart said Louisville would be the next team added to the Big 12. This was not a statement of anything but one man's opinion -- so really it means nothing more than great blogging fodder for folks like me -- but it's another sign that people really think the college landscape will continue to shift in the coming years.
Notre Dame is playing like the girl at your prom who showed just enough leg to get all the boys excited but really wasn't looking for anything serious but a little bit of fun. There is a lot of talk around ACC and Big XII country about Notre Dame switching at least their Olympic sport allegiances with a football scheduling agreement with both conferences. Texas apparently likes the thought of all of this which is why the ACC rumors have died down.
I for one am beginning to believe the Big XII schools when they say they are happy with 10 teams, this isn't like last season when the SEC said it was happy with 12 right up until it had 13, then 14 schools -- it's possible the Big XII is really that stupid.
But then again, the Big XII is set to become one of the most stable leagues in the land with a 13 year grant of rights which will lock every school into the conference until 2027 or something crazy like that.
And honestly, if Oklahoma and Texas both feel that they can both make the National Championship playoff by going 11-1 and 12-0, they probably don't feel an urge to add teams. Why should they? More money? The league will get a huge windfall by not splitting the huge amounts of playoff money more ways...and you can always look at expanding later after all.
But forgive me, but even despite the cold poker face the Big XII is putting off about the status quo, I'm still not entirely convinced that they are comfortable staying pat at 10 teams when everyone else is at 12 or 14 -- especially when there will be actual advantages to adding several valuable brands into the conference who will be interested.
So will Louisville join the Big XII? I doubt it. Not yet at least. The Cardinals have that 'stay on the line but don't expect a call' feel to them. Sorry Card Nation.
Stubbornly, I'd suggest keeping an eye on South Bend and the Southeast -- but as your gaze switches be sure to take note of Louisville in between, a geographic fit-ish. After all, who knows where conference realignment goes from here, no one had Boise State and San Diego State going to the Big East (more like Conference USA 2.0) as of a few years ago either.