Earlier this year, news that the Big 10 is considering expansion hit, and college football fans everywhere started debating about which schools would be a good fit for the Big 10. Nebraska fans might have reason to be concerned because Missouri could be considered as a target for joining the Big 10.
Now news has hit that the Pac-10 is considering expansion as well as it's come out that Utah may be invited to join the conference (even more here). You know that the Pac 10 isn't going to take just one school - they're going to want another so they can hit the magic number 12 which makes them eligible for a conference championship game. As they have over the years, rumors that Colorado may make the twelfth entry have cropped again after the news about Utah broke.If the Big 10 takes Missouri and the Pac 10 takes Colorado, where does that leave the Big 12? And where does it leave Nebraska? Before you respond with "big deal, who needs them, let them leave" comments, it'd be best to consider Nebraska's position. We have a very small TV market. While our fan support is better than anyone's, it generates money for our athletic department, not necessarily for the conference. Were both those teams to leave, there is the (small, granted) possibility that the Big 12 might dissolve (stranger things have happened) and Nebraska might find themselves on the outside looking in.
On the lighter side, if Colorado were to bolt to the Pac-10 would you miss them, or would you want our athletic department to schedule them as a yearly rival so we could beat their butts on a regular basis anyway?
I have the nagging feeling that if conference re-alignment happens, it's going to happen in a big way. We will most likely see one of the conferences vanish in the next couple of seasons. I'd throw away any notion of hanging onto historical opponents because these changes aren't going to be about the past, they're going to be about the future.
If I had to bet on it, I'd say that in three years there's a better than 50-50 chance that college football looks a lot different than it does now.