The red-headed step children that are the Big 12 Conference

Hoo boy, what a week it’s been for the Big 12 Conference.

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott emerged from the final day of conference meetings Sunday and announced that university presidents and chancellors have given him all the authority he needs to expand the Pac-10.

“What direction that process takes still could go in different directions, everything from remaining as we are as a Pac-10 that’s got some very bright days ahead of it to a bigger conference footprint,” Scott said. “I have the authority to take it in different directions, depending on various scenarios and discussions we’re going to have.”

What does it all mean? It means the Big 12 Conference is about to split again, and possibly some teams going to the Pac 10, or all teams going to the Pac 10, or some teams going to the Big 10, and on and on it goes. No one knows for certain where this will all end up. But apparently, Nebraska holds a lot of cards for some reason.

It appears the only way Texas and the other Big 12 schools aren’t headed west is if they get assurances from Nebraska in the next 10 days that the Cornhuskers are committed to staying in the Big 12.

When the Big 12 conference was formed 15 years ago, Nebraska was at odds with Texas over things like partial qualifiers. Nebraska wanted the old Big Eight schools to continue accepting an unlimited number of partial qualifiers. Texas opposed it. Texas prevailed.

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne didn’t like outsiders coming into his kingdom and telling him how things were going to be. Of course, that was the mid-1990s, when Nebraska was ruling college football by winning three national titles in four years (1994, 1995 and 1997).

Osborne still seems rankled by what he perceives to be a catering to Texas in the Big 12, right down to last week’s decision to keep the league’s football championship game in Cowboys Stadium the next three years.

It get complicated kids. Hang in there and watch how this all plays out.

Pac 10 ready to make moves; Nebraska’s decision is key (

Pac-10 to decide by end of year (ESPN)

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