In a decision that will have profound implications for the future of University of Colorado athletics, officials from the Pac-10 are expected to announce plans this week for expanding the conference by taking on several teams from the Big 12 conference.
The Pac-10 reportedly hopes to add 6 colleges in order to expand to 16 teams.
Preliminary reports indicate that the Pac 10 will extend invitations to five Big 12 colleges in Texas and Oklahoma, including powerhouses like the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma.
It has been widely rumored that Colorado, which recruits heavily in the Pac-10 stronghold of California, will receive the 6th invitation to join the storied conference.
However, ESPN reported over the weekend that lawmakers in Texas are insisting that Baylor University in Waco, Texas receive the 6th invitation in order to keep the college in the same conference as the 3 other Texas schools that are reportedly locks to receive Pac-10 invitations.
"If you're going to have an exported commodity involved in this, do you think we're going to allow a school from outside the state of Texas to replace one of our schools in the Big 12 South? I don't think so. We're already at work on this," an unnamed member of the Texas legislature told Orangebloods.com over the weekend.
The legislator also pointed to CU's recent struggles withing the Big 12 conference to bolster Baylor's case.
The Pac-10 granted commissioner Larry Scott the authority to move forward on an expansion plan, and reports have varied as to how conference officials would proceed. Recent reports, however, have largely confirmed that the conference intends to act on a plan to add 6 Big 12 teams and create two separate sub-conferences.
The conference hopes to finalize plans this year before negotiating a new television contract.
The immediate effects of a conference change for CU are unclear at this point. As the Colorado Daily points out, the move would make CU more geographically isolated, which could make it more difficult for fans to travel to road games.
Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post has suggested that CU should also consider joining the Mountain West Conference, which would allow closer geographic proximity to rival schools.
The switch to a Pac-10 conference that includes Texas and Oklahoma would force the Buffs to compete against elite competition on an almost-weekly basis.
The CU football team was 2-6 in 2009 against current Big 12 teams.
Much has also been made of CU's recruiting pipeline to California, which many believe would be strengthened by a move to the Pac-10, which would allow CU teams to play more games in the state.
The decisions made over the following weeks will also depend on whether other Big 12 schools not in the running for a Pac 1o invite decide to stay in the conference. The schools that are expected to receive Pac-10 invitations have not said whether they will accept.