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Thursday, February 11, 2010
Texas reportedly talks with Big Ten

By Adam Rittenberg

I swear I didn't plan this.

It's pure coincidence that on the day I fill in for the Big 12 blog, a report is published about Texas engaging in preliminary discussions with the Big Ten about joining the conference. A source with Big Ten ties tells the Lawrence Journal-World that the Big Ten and Texas have had "preliminary exchanges."

"People will deny that, but it's accurate," the source said.

Until now, the Texas-to-the-Big-Ten talk had been purely speculation. Ever since the Big Ten announced in December that it will actively explore the possibility of expansion, a lot of junk has been thrown out, particularly the recent bogus rumors about Pitt. But this is the first legitimate news outlet to report discussions between the Big Ten and an institution.

There are numerous reasons why Texas would be a great addition to the Big Ten (or any league, for that matter). But this ultimately will come down to Texas' willingness to leave the Big 12, a league where it has flourished.

What happens to the Texas A&M and Oklahoma rivalries? Will the increased revenue from the Big Ten's TV deal offset increased travel costs Texas will face by being an outlier in the Big Ten? Would Texas only join as part of a package deal with A&M or Oklahoma?

The Big 12 certainly doesn't want to lose Texas, and I'd expect the league to put up a strong fight if these talks get more serious.

As a reminder, I'll be chatting about Big Ten and Big 12 football today at 4 p.m. at Sports Nation. Please join me.