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NCAA Conference Realignment: Big XII Could Collapse Before Pitt Makes A Move?

Reports of the Big XII's interest in Pitt as a replacement for Texas A&M are getting a lot of play at the moment, but before any move could be made on Pitt's part, that conference would have to achieve some level of stability. If you believe Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, said stability could be a long way off, if not a fantasy.

Should Oklahoma act upon its earnest desires and seek an invitation to join the Pacific-12 Conference — something I'm fully expecting to happen within days, if not hours — that decision could well be the killing blow to the Big 12 while also providing Texas the political cover to follow suit and ask for admission as well.

The Pac-12's not going to ask first. It's been down that road before, led along until the eleventh hour a year ago.

If OU gives notice that it is leaving the Big 12 — or if any of the other remaining eight members do, for that matter — the very foundation of the league would crumble.

Here's what I think will happen, probably before the calendar turns to October:

Your new Pac-16 members: Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The era of the super conference begins.

This is a little too doomsday for my tastes. Texas A&M's slow defection proves these kind of seismic shifts don't happen overnight, and while Oklahoma and Co. may well wish to leave the Big XII for greener pastures, there are a lot of steps to take and red tape to cut through before paper scenarios become reality.

Nevertheless, as long as people like Kirk Bohls are even thinking things like this could happen, let alone predicting them, Pitt administration would be crazy to take Big XII overtures seriously. If I'm Mark Nordenberg or Steve Pederson hearing these rumors while being courted by Texas or Oklahoma brass, I feel like little more than a fallback position in case a move to the Pac-12 falls through. That's not exactly a good way to start a relationship with a potential new athletic league.

Pitt leadership is smart enough to avoid getting caught up in these rumors. So long as there are whispers of upheaval like this, talk of the Panthers moving the Big XII will be just that: talk.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.