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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Pac-10 AD: Big Ten contacted Texas, A&M

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said Texas isn't among the 15 schools included in an initial report by a search firm helping the Big Ten with its expansion study.

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds recently told The Oklahoma's Berry Tramel that "something drastic" would need to happen for Texas to leave the Big 12.

So the Big Ten-Texas talk is dying down, right?

Not so fast, my friends.

Washington athletic director Steve Woodward shared this interesting tidbit over the weekend with The Seattle Times (scroll down to the bottom).
Woodward also talked about expansion and said the Pac-10 and the Big Ten have reached out to officials at Texas and Texas A&M. "I'd be surprised if our office is not in contact with them," he said. "I'm sure those conversations have happened and are taking place."

When asked if the league might expand beyond two teams, Woodward said that's a possibility. "It could be two, four or a merger of Big 12. ... There's a theory that at the end of the day there's only going to be four super conferences. Now that it's going to look like, God only knows."

Though phrases like "I'd be surprised" don't sound overly concrete, it's interesting that Woodward mentioned both Texas and Texas A&M. It's unlikely the Texas legislature would let Texas go without A&M being part of the package.

Could the Big Ten and Pac-10 get into a bidding war over the Texas schools? Nothing against the Pac-10, but from a revenue and media rights perspective, it doesn't compete with what the Big Ten has to offer.

In the end, I don't think Texas and Texas A&M will leave the Big 12. But as I've written before, it would be silly for the Big Ten to not at least gauge the interest. And if Woodward is to be believed, the talk about Texas as an expansion candidate isn't going away.