Big Ten Expansion Could Cause Conference Dominoes to Fall

David SingletonCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2009

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 28:  Marcus Cannon #61, Kyle Dooley #72 and Alonzo Adams #81 of the TCU Horned Frogs raise the Mountain West Regular Season Championship trophy at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Let’s climb into the wayback machine and take a trip back to early 2003.

SARS was the big health scare.

The U.S. invaded Iraq.

Chicago won the Oscar for Best Picture.

The Ohio State Buckeyes won the BCS title over the Miami Hurricanes and Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl.

In May of 2003, the ACC decided it needed to expand and put on a conference title game, raiding the Big East in the process.

Now, flash forward to late 2009:

Swine flu is the big health scare.

The U.S. is still in Iraq and is dealing with a recession.

The Oscars will nominate 10 films for best picture for some reason.

Texas and Alabama will play for the BCS title and we might be on a collision course of Indianapolis and New Orleans playing in the Super Bowl for a perfect season.

Oh, and the Big Ten might set off a new set of conference realignment dominoes;how, you ask?

If the Big East loses one of their teams to the Big Ten, the thought is that Memphis would look at joining the Big East. This would affect Conference USA who might look at taking Louisiana Tech from the WAC or Troy from the Sun Belt.

This is one possible scenario. Another scenario involves the Big Ten extending an offer to Missouri and Missouri accepting.

The Big 12 would need to act swiftly to fill the gap left by the Tigers as Mizzou shuffles off to exotic locations like West Lafayette, IN and East Lansing, MI.

Convention wisdom would say that an offer to join the Big 12 would be extended to TCU. Arkansas would be a likely candidate as well, but I doubt that the Razorbacks would leave the SEC at this point.

TCU, however, might be inclined to make the move because it would be a spot in an automatic qualifying conference and allow them to raise the profiles of their Olympic sports as well as basketball. TCU does have some history with the Texas schools from their days in the old, long-lamented Southwest Conference.

The Mountain West loses a big team and their shot at being a BCS conference would take a significant blow.

At this point, there are two possible directions:

1) The Pac-10, which has also mentioned expansion recently, would look at possibly poaching BYU and Utah from the Mountain West, or take one of those two and steal Boise State from the WAC for the 12th team.

2) The Mountain West steals Boise State from the WAC, weakening their closest mid-major competitor.

Either scenario above could cause the dominoes to fall all the way to the Football Championship Subdivision.

How likely is this to happen? Well, it truly depends on how serious the Big Ten and Pac-10 are about expanding and whom they choose.

After what we saw in 2003, I don’t doubt that anything could happen.