Colorado leaves the Big 12 for the Pac-10

And so it begins. From KOCO.com (ABC affiliate, channel 5 here in Oklahoma City for those of you who’ve been away a while):

The University of Colorado has made the first move, joining the Pac 10 conference on Thursday.

“This is an historic moment for the Conference, as the Pac-10 is poised for tremendous growth. The University of Colorado is a great fit for the Conference both academically and athletically and we are incredibly excited to welcome Colorado to the Pac-10,” said Commissioner Larry Scott.

The move is not contingent on what Nebraska might do relative to the Big 10. The Buffaloes will begin play in the Pac 10 in 2012.

KOCO references an ESPN.com report that if Nebraska leaves the Big 12 (and this was before Colorado announced anything), the conference would simply dissolve.

I have no more insight (and perhaps less) into this than any of you do, so I can only guess. We’ve all heard the rumors that the Pac-10 is poised to invite the entire Big 12 South minus Baylor (and including Colorado, so that part’s obviously true) and become the Pac-16, or something renamed since it would then stretch from Seattle to College Station. We’ve heard that Nebraska and Missouri were invited to join the Big Ten, and lately I’ve read that while Nebraska has indeed been invited, Missouri has not and is (metaphorically) waiting in its prom dress for the Big Ten to ring the doorbell and take her to the dance.

OK, it was a bad metaphor. Sorry.

All I know is that CU is now gone. They had games scheduled against OU on October 25, 2014 (in Norman) and October 31, 2015 (in Boulder) that I’ve now removed from the Events Calendar.

Unlikely speculation? If Nebraska now stays in the Big 12 (far less probable now that CU has already bolted), the Big 12 can stay together if it adds a marquee football school—to the North division. (That would rule out a school like TCU.) I can think of names like Boise State and BYU, and with less successful football programs but a good academic reputation, the Air Force Academy — but these all seem unlikely for various reasons.

And since football is driving these issues, it’s also driving schools like Kansas crazy. Every story I’ve read, from raw speculation to “I have high-placed sources,” says that Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State are left out of all discussions (the Big Ten allegedly only wants Nebraska and Missouri, if both; the Pac-10 just got Colorado, and those six schools are the whole Big 12 North—the historic Big Eight Conference minus OU and OSU).

On the football side, due to existing schedules and TV contracts and such, the 2010 and 2011 schedules are pretty much untouchable as far as I know. OU will host Colorado in a Big 12 Conference game on October 30 (two weeks after homecoming) and travel to Boulder for a game on October 29, 2011. I don’t see how the 2010 schedule could change at this late stage in the game, and I’m having difficulty seeing how the 2011 schedule could change much. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

I would not bet a quarter that the Big 12 Conference will be operating for the 2012 football season. :-(: