In the end, little changed. After two weeks of panic across the world of college sports, it appears the landscape of collegiate athletics will stay intact.
With a last-minute ditch effort by the Big 12 and a gutsy move by Texas, the major powers of the Big 12 will not accept bids to other conferences and move forward with a 10-team Big 12. (Now the question is, what do we call the 10-team Big 12 and the 12-team Big Ten? Seriously, it's a legitimate, albeit minor, question that nobody has addressed.)
Nebraska will still join the Big Ten and Colorado and presumably one other school from a mid-major conference will join the Pacific-10. The Big Ten and Pac-10 will likely create a conference championship game, and the Big 12, because NCAA rules do not allow for 10-team leagues to have conference championships, will lose its final game.
Oh, and the Bowl Championship Series which I know so many of you love so dearly will not be affected.
How about the conference Kentucky sits in? How will the final moves of the Big 12 schools affect UK and the Southeastern Conference? In the end, little changed for UK as well.
After a minor love affair with Texas A&M, the league will stay put with its current 12-team, championship-game format. Kentucky will still play in the toughest league in America and serve the benefit from it, both financially and in terms of exposure. You can almost certainly guess that the league will continue to produce the same national championship contenders that it has over the last decade.
Is this the final word that we'll hear of expansion? My gut tells me no, but for the time being, college sports as we know it has returned to normalcy. The SEC is still the SEC.
- Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News sums up the final results better than I ever could in his "What we learned from conference expansion derby" story.