Conference realignment. The never-ending college football talking point.
In 2010, Nebraska joined the Big Ten, bolting the Big 12, which seemed a sinking ship at the time as rumors flew around that Texas was going to leave for the Pac-10.
But perhaps far more than just the Cornhuskers could have made the move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten, as reported Sunday by the Omaha World-Herald's Lee Barfknecht.
Big 12 schools were so panicked, apparently, that a group of five of them — Nebraska, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M — tried to join the Big Ten as a packaged deal.
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Here are some details via Barfknecht's report:
A Big 12 athletic director, who spoke to The World-Herald on condition of anonymity, said he contacted Big Ten athletic directors and presidents with whom he was familiar in June 2010.
The topic: Was the Big Ten, which had 11 members at the time, interested in adding five Big 12 schools?
The feedback from Big Ten school officials was positive, both sources said. The sticking point was devising a revenue-sharing plan to satisfy all. It would have taken at least three to four years for that many incoming schools to hit the financial payoffs sought for moving.
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The five-school transfer never happened, of course, and Barfknecht pointed out that it was never a concrete proposal, either. While that was all being discussed, Nebraska and Colorado got antsy, leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten and Pac-12, respectively. The following year, Missouri and Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC. The Big 12 got Texas to calm down and stay and plugged its holes with TCU and West Virginia. The Big Ten added Maryland and Rutgers last year, moving to 14 instead of the 16-school mega-conference that would have developed had that five-team swing happened five years ago.
Conference realignment never seems to stop — at least talk of it doesn't, anyway — as plenty of pressure lies with the Big 12 these days thanks to last season's situation in which a tie for the league championship likely kept the conference out of the inaugural College Football Playoff.
The Big Ten, meanwhile, seems happy at 14.
We'll just have to sit back and use our imaginations to picture what it would have been like to have Texas A&M in the same conference as Penn State or have Ohio State vs. Oklahoma become a burgeoning rivalry.