The latest news is that the Big East and Big 12 are talking merger.
It's obvious this is a move to simply salvage what's left of the ragged conferences but the real question is, will they also make a move to compete with the 16-team superconferences?
There's no way this merger doesn't happen.
The SEC made the first move by taking Texas A&M. Make no mistake, A&M will go to the SEC. The embroiled threat of litigation by Baylor and any other Big 12 remaining members will be quelled once the Big 12 comes to a decision on these merger talks with the Big East.
Then Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech decided to explore their options. Translation: the Big 12 is falling apart and they're going to the Pac-12.
And then Pitt and Syracuse, in a hush-hush move, bolted from the Big East and applied for membership in the ACC. The ACC accepted them on Sunday.
So with the remaining 6 members of the Big East (plus next year's new member TCU) and the 5 remaining members of the Big 12, that makes a 12-team conference and allows them a conference championship game.
The new watered-down Big East/Big 12 conference will need some serious programs to make it a competitor in football. Boise State has to be #1 on their RADAR.
So assuming they invite Boise State, that still only makes 13. To keep up, they're going to need 16 teams which means 3 more strong ones with solid TV markets.
I see East Carolina, UCF, Hawaii, Nevada, Fresno State, San Diego State, Air Force, Houston, BYU and SMU all being viable options that would make the conference that much stronger. Of those, SMU, Houston, SD State, UCF and East Carolina all have a strong TV market, if not a great one (SMU, Houston).
The new Big 16 could be broken down like this:
Big West division
Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State, Missouri, Boise State and 2 of the following (Houston, SMU, San Diego State, Nevada Fresno State, Air Force, BYU). BYU would be a top choice IF they are willing to forego independence and come back to playing in a conference.
Big East division
Louisville, Cincy, USF, TCU, Rutgers, UConn, WVU (assuming the SEC doesn't poach them) and either UCF or East Carolina (or both if West Virginia goes to the SEC)
What are your thoughts? Is this a possibility or just pipe dreams? Would the conference still keep its AQ status? Something else you want to add? Something I'm not taking into account?