Big 12 Gets the Last Laugh. Is Conference Expansion Done?

We all laughed at Dan Beebe. Hell, I really laughed at Dan Beebe. But the if reports are true, the Big 12's commissioner can remove the word "embattled" from the beginning of his title.

According to Rivals, which has been the driving force behind expansion news for the last two weeks, Beebe has secured a new TV contract lucrative enough to keep his schools from bolting for what were perceived as greener pastures.

This would keep Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech from joining the Pac 10 and Texas A&M from joining the SEC. According to Rivals, Texas would start its own network (which it couldn't do in the Pac 10) and stands to make as much as $25 million a year in TV revenue and OU and Texas A&M would make as much as $20 million.

The deal is impressive and could put an end to conference expansion talk.

Each school stands to make $7-10 million more than the current league contract, giving the Big 12 the third-best TV contract in college sports, better than the one the ACC just negotiated. Each ACC school will likely make $12 million per year under its new deal with ESPN.

The Big 12 is expected to stay at 10 teams, although BYU and Air Force have been mentioned as possible replacements. This will likely put the brakes on any further conference expansion, except of the probability that the Pac 10 will add a 12th team to get to a conference championship game.

This puts to bed any fancy that we (or any other ACC team had) of joining the SEC. I seriously doubt SEC commissioner Mike Slive will look to expand his conference now that none of the others will go beyond 12.

It was fun while it lasted, but I have to admit I'm feeling pretty guilty about entertaining the idea of joining the SEC when there was absolutely nothing wrong with being a member of the ACC. I imagine Missouri fans feel the same way as I do now (if not 20 times more so).

So unless something crazy happens (like Maryland to the Big Ten), we will be able to put the idea of conference expansion and a move to the SEC to bed. Thanks, Beebe. Now what are we all supposed to talk about for the next two months?

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