When will the first domino fall?

A few days ago, the irrelevant Big 12's Commish gave Mizzou and Nebraska until the end of the week to make their intentions with his daughter...errrrrr...the conference, public knowledge. This is important, kinda. But, what if they decided simply not to answer? Would Beebe immediately replace them with Boise State and Colorado State? Then, the next week, he could rename his conference the Big 8 after the mass-exodus to the Midwest/Pac10?

The Big 12 is dealing with the ramifications years of inequitable treatment of some of its charter members and preferential treatment for the new guys. Tom Osborn, Roy Williams and others expressed their contempt ("Big Texas") for the way the old Big 8 members were treated years ago, but nothing was done to make schools like Nebraska feel more respected by the league. No one will, or should, mind you, have pity for the soon-to-be defunct B12.

There are lots of moving parts that can make or break the new conference. From lawmakers to the public's perception, outside pressures can and will change as the new conference alliances are forged. But rumors and a few signs seem to point to UND being a pivotal part of what happens in the coming weeks, at least in the BT.

In my opinion, the public's perspective on the drive for four super conferences is not at all what Jim Delany had in mind before he started squeezing the toothpaste out of the tube. The BTN's overwhelming success coupled with a low roar of disgruntled ADs and Chancellors with their current conference affiliation brought this back to the surface. And Delany's smart-enough to understand that more revenue=happier conference members and potential growth. But there's an apple of his eye that he can't help but be smitten with: UND. They've rejected him twice, talked bad about him in public, but none of that matters...his eyes are fixed on SB and he sees UND as the key to big success for the BTN and in turn, the greater conference.

I'd go as far as to say, JD only wants UND- a 12-team conference make s a ton of sense and the proximity would make logistics simple. Plus, a third of the conference already has an athletic relationship, at least in football, with Swarbrick and co. But those inside of the Irish's athletic department, from coaches to Swarbrick have yet to give any positive nods to the idea of joining a conference...but Delany keeps driving for that. Some think that the whisper leaks by the BT were all designed to force UND to join the conference as the figurative music slows down. And while Delany seems to be an excellent negotiator, even a supreme conspiracy theorist like myself thinks that's a pretty big stretch.

Will the end of this week be significant? Perhaps. But, until one of the major conference starts making moves, it seems everything is based on conjecture, psuedo-news and tea leaves.

Evil Genius?

Early B10 Football Predictions to File Away