Since every single LSU team is on the bus to somewhere today, It's about time we weighed in on the current insanity in the Midwest.
PodKATT: I think it's gonna happen, but it wont make a much of an impact. They should only pick up ND. It makes 12 and gives them even divisions and a champ game plan, but since the Irish wont budge unless forced, the B10 will have to destroy the Big East to force them to chose. They'll take Pitt, Rutgers, 'Cuse, Mizzou for balance and that should be enough to convince the Irish. And the Big Texteen remains a "meh" conference.
I really hope the SEC doesn't expand because of this. We have our problems, but it's nearly perfect. And there is no worthy pickup that wouldn't drastically change the SEC beyond recognition.
Billy Gomila: It is starting to seem like its inevitable. To be honest, I think the SEC can easily weather a 12 or even 16 Big Eleventy-whatever, depending on what teams they get. And since there's almost no way it'll be Notre Dame, and I just don't see Texas bailing without some sort of major financial guarantee, it'll probably some combination of Missouri, Iowa State, Rutgers, Boston College, Pittsburgh or Syracuse.
Really, what its all dependent on is if the Big 10 network gets big enough that they no longer need the networks. Because even if say, ABC decided to sign a big deal with them, that's only one day a week and at most, 2 games, which is nothing on our deals with CBS and ESPN -- and neither of those are going anywhere anytime soon. Its all going to be defendant on the TV deals though -- they'd have to be reconstituted for either conference to expand. It doesn't make sense to let more hands into the pot if you can't make the pot bigger.
Poseur: I think it's going to happen, but it's going to happen without the two big fish: Texas and Notre Dame.
I think 16 teams is completely unworkable, and I would hate for the SEC to try to "keep pace" with that. It's been a disaster for the Big East in basketball and it didn't work for the old WAC. There is simply no reason to go to 16 unless the Big Ten is actively trying to kill the Big East and Big 12.
The Big East may deserve to die, given its constantly floating membership in football, but the people who need to be nervous are the Big 12 honchos. The Big 12 is completely dominated by Texas both athletically and politically, and I'm sure there's some buyer's remorse from the old Big 8 schools, who have been swallowed up by UT and the Texas schools. Nebraska and Missouri, especially, probably feel like they have been somewhat unappreciated in the Big 12 and it wouldn't take much to get them to bolt. Colorado has played footsies with the Pac-10 for about a decade. This is a conference that really could collapse like a flan in the cupboard. The SEC will probably be unaffected by the Big 10 expansion, but it could be Big 12 Armageddon.
Billy Gomila: If the Big 10 pulled away Missouri, you have to figure the Big 12 would try to replace them with Arkansas. In that case, I would vote for the SEC to bring in Clemson first and foremost, as that seems like the most natural fit -- though it would probably lead to some reshuffling as they're a natural SEC East team which means one of the current ones would have to move West. My guess there would be Vanderbilt, which I like from an LSU standpoint because it adds a good roadtrip to the schedule, as well as another conference win most of the time.
But I think it has to be said and repeated: the Big 10 will NOT get Notre Dame. At least not while they have that NBC deal. It would be an almost negligent business move for ND to join a conference under their current setup. They get all the benefits of being in a conference in terms of scheduling, and get to keep every dime of a full TV contract.
More great reads on this, from Big East Fatalism, to Doc Saturday's far future predictions, ITB's call for other conferences to make the pre-emptive strike, and Team Speed Kills' reasoning that the SEC should just ignores all this nonsense. You can find even more opinions from the CFB world in the SB Nation Big Ten Expansion story stream.
Feel free to share your own thoughts and predictions below.