UPDATE, 2:02pm: POLL ADDED.
I'm not going to dive into this too much because ... well, it comes from Chip Brown, who has been right AND wrong more often than everybody else in the last two weeks. That said, this is interesting.
Three different sources at Big 12 South schools being targeted by the Pac-10 told Orangebloods.com Sunday morning that Dan Beebe's attempts to secure a new TV deal on par with the SEC's $17 million/school payout for the 10 remaining schools in the Big 12 is in play.
If somehow Beebe really does have something lined up that can raise revenue that much ... well, then things get interesting. Clearly there is a draw for Texas to keep the Big 12 together -- they can rule over it, and they don't have to risk going to another conference (Pac-16, for instance) and losing their clout. Plus...
Individal [sic] institutions would be allowed to pursue their own networks, which has been a goal of Texas. If the Longhorns went to the Pac-10, they would have to forgo their own distribution platforms, including a network, because the Pac-16 would seek to have a conference network in which all inventory is shared.
(Consultants have put Texas' ability to generate revenue from its own network at between $3 million and $5 million after a start-up window of about three years.)
Obviously, only Texas could probably make a viable "network" of sorts, but this would likely allow the other schools to make sure every game is televised at least locally, which is a decent fallback.
The Big 12 would proceed with 10 teams. Everyone would play everyone in football, providing a nine-game conference schedule. And the option to save or dump the conference championship game would be determined by the institutions.
Like I've been saying, the Big 12's goal has to be to outlive the Big East. If they can do that, then some really interesting teams become available, and just by surviving, the Big 12 might actually be able to eventually expand to 16.
This doesn't qualify as a true breakthrough yet, because it will require A&M to pass on the SEC's advances and everybody else to pass on the Pac-16 concept. Both of those are obviously very appealing. But if the money satisfies everybody, and the thought of further control and their own network satisfies Texas, then it becomes a viable alternative.
In other words...