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September 22, 2011

Sources: TCU could be top target as No. 10 in B12

The Big 12 presidents were scheduled to meet on a conference call at 5 p.m. CT tonight.

There is a lot to talk about, including the imminent resignation of commissioner Dan Beebe and the naming of former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas as Beebe's interim replacement, two high-ranking Big 12 officials told Orangebloods.com.

The presidents will also discuss Big 12 expansion and whether to add one school or three schools, sources said.

And TCU may be rising up the list of candidates to become No. 10, two key sources said Thursday.

While BYU has been the popular thought as a replacement for Texas A&M, a key source close to the situation says BYU may no longer be interested in joining the Big 12 because of the recent instability.

While BYU seemed very interested in the possibility of joining the Big 12 a month ago, a key source close to the situation said, that was before all the rancor erupted involving Oklahoma, the Big 12 and OU's attempt to land in the Pac-12.

BYU would stand to grow exponentially financially with a move to the Big 12 because the Cougars made less than $2 million in TV revenue last year and would stand to make $18 million in the Big 12 next year.

But BYU is not hung up on money, the source said.

TCU is moving up the list of potential candidates because of its presence in college football under Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs have announced they will leave the Mountain West for the Big East after this season. But those plans could be on hold, sources said.

Expanding outside the current geographic footprint of the Big 12 has always been seen as a priority of the league (it was verbalized by Dan Beebe last year) to draw more television sets. But it appears the TV partners of the Big 12 (ABC/ESPN and Fox) would be comfortable enough with TCU replacing A&M to continue paying out the money in their current contracts with the league, sources said.

Texas appears to want to grow only to 10 schools. UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds said Wednesday he favors 10 because the path to a BCS championship is more clear without a league title game. But Dodds said it will obviously be discussed by everyone in the Big 12.

The possibility of adding schools like Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati will be discussed by Big 12 presidents, sources said. But some wonder if that makes a lot of geographic sense. Others want the Big 12 to grow to 12 immediately to try and solidify the conference with more numbers.

Either way, keep an eye on TCU as a rising candidate to join the Big 12.

There was some concern early in the day that Missouri might still be entertaining thoughts of joining the Southeastern Conference. But Mizzou chancellor Brady Deaton, as the chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors, has been leading the charge to hold the Big 12 together over the past several days.

Sources indicate if the SEC were to make any move involving Missouri that the SEC would face the same kind of legal threat when Texas A&M was about to be added as the 13th member of the SEC.

Sources say the SEC had previously indicated it would not get involved with Missouri if would mean the Big 12 would unravel. But that was before Oklahoma caused such an uproar on Sept. 2, when OU president David Boren said no one was more active in looking at its conference options than OU.

The three weeks following Boren's comments have included the destabilizing of the Big East with Syracuse and Pitt joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Boren, a former governor of Oklahoma, has been trying to spin the Sooners' lack of a stand-alone invitation to the Pac-12 since Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced on Tuesday night that his league would not expand.

Boren has ruffled even more feathers tonight by calling a press conference for 6:30 p.m. CT with athletic director Joe Castiglione and Bob Stoops to discuss OU's view of things.

That's because a press conference had been called much earlier in the day by Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton for 6:45 p.m. CT.

"What is Boren doing upstaging the chairman of the Big 12 Board of Directors?" one Big 12 administrator wondered aloud. "That's just uncalled for."

Stay tuned.


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