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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

September 21, 2011 at 4:42 PM

The Pac-12 Conference as altruist

The announcement Tuesday night that the Pac-12 Conference is going to stay at a dozen may have brought a sigh of relief to multiple college administrators. For now, at least, it seems to signal a stabilizing of the landscape (which could last a month, but the ground isn’t shaking quite as violently as it was.)

Even if the Pac-12 had decided to take on the Oklahoma schools without Texas, it probably would have spelled the end of the Big 12, which was already sliced by two when Colorado and Nebraska exited a year ago. So a host of Big 12 schools — well, virtually all of them — live to see another day in the league that seems best-suited for them.

It may have been particularly important for schools like Iowa State and Baylor, which seemed to have nowhere to go if the league folded. They might have been consigned to an existence with the remaining schools in the Big East (which seems like the definition of a shotgun wedding).

There’s also Missouri, which is seen as a logical grab by the SEC. That may well still happen, but if there’s sentiment there to make a go of it in the Big 12, at least there’s a Big 12 still standing to rally around.

Perhaps TCU, which has been worried about a crumbling Big East — the league it’s hooked up with for next year — will now feel better about the viability of that league. If not, it would seem to be a logical fit for the Big 12. Remember, it used to be a member of the Southwest Conference, several of whose members are now in the Big 12.

In the big picture, there might be a general re-evaluation in the hurry-up movement to expand. Though the Pac-12 action was no doubt only meant to serve its own interests, maybe it did something for the greater good as well.

Here’s a link to Steve Kelley’s piece in Thursday’s Times on the rush to realign nationally:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/stevekelley/2016278650_kelley22.html

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