California (Pac-10), Georgia (SEC), and Notre Dame (Big East), all of whom participated in the Old Spice Classic last Thanksgiving are ticketed for the CBE Classic in Kansas City this year, alongside Missouri (Big 12).
Everyone comes out more or less ahead... Texas gets the big television payday it wanted and the shot at a profitable network it doesn't have to share with anyone. Nebraska and Colorado both move into conferences they consider better academic and cultural fits. Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri and, yes, Baylor hold on to their spots in a big-money conference and aren't forced to seek refuge in the Mountain West, Conference USA or Big East. The Big Ten and Pac-10 (assuming it makes a play for Utah out of the Mountain West) both pick up a 12th member that facilitates a conference championship game. Assuming the Big Ten is content at an even dozen – Missouri is presumably locked into the Big 12 for the foreseeable future, and Notre Dame remains by all appearances firmly committed to independence – the once doomed Big East will remain intact without losing a single member. Even if it loses Utah, the Mountain West picks up the slack with the addition of Boise State, a net boost (albeit a small one) in the MWC's bid for an automatic BCS bid in 2012.
The Pac-10 ultimately whiffed on the blockbuster score it was hoping for, but it did expand in exactly the (relatively modest) fashion everyone expected when it first announced its plan to add teams. No one is in worse position as the smoke begins to clear than they were when the fires started burning.
A&M has been in contact with the SEC for months, despite the longstanding assumption that the Texas schools would hang together behind the wildly profitable Longhorn juggernaut. But former Aggie player/coach Gene Stallings, now an A&M regent, has taken control of the push for the SEC, where he won a national championship as Alabama's head coach in 1992. Stepping out of the back channels of Texas politics, Stallings didn't hesitate to distance A&M from the Longhorns on Alabama radio: "I think A&M is now big enough to stand on its own. We don’t need to piggyback on Texas." Truly spoken like a man with only a few months left in his term.
If A&M opts out of the Pac-10 exodus, their crucial position as the 16th team could fall to Kansas or Utah; given the political ramifications and the cold shoulder in scheduling by everyone A&M has ever considered any kind of rival, the odds remain on the Aggies' following the original route to the West Coast – especially if the SEC invite is tied to their ability to deliver Texas, as well, which appears to be a complete nonstarter.