The college football conference realignment has been going on for years, and the only reason people think this is all something new is historical ignorance. My own post-1992 SEC centric worldview and associated ignorance has been aptly demonstrated when Dante schools me on the history of the SWC and their relationship with the Big 8 when forming the Big XII.
All that being said, the current volume of money involved with college football is making stakes even higher. As the Big (10+1) considers conference expansion, they have spoken of including Texas. The other money-power conference is the SEC, and if you hadn't noticed, there is something of a conference rivalry between the SEC and the Big (10+1), in addition to a straight up economic war for viewers and television dollars.
But these days, the balance of power will be decided by the University of Texas. The Big (10+1) wants them. The Pac-10 wants them. The Big XII would likely implode without them. They could go independent. They could go to the SEC. And right now, all that is up in the air.
The stakes are so high, some writers worry that the SEC will not survive Big (10+1) expansion without Texas.
That is a staggering suggestion.
While I'd love to see Texas (and TAMU) in the SEC, I am hesitant to swallow a lot of the things the SEC would have to accept to make that happen. First of all, expanding beyond 12 teams has unpleasant schedule implications, unless we go to 15, which may be the least painful. (Though I would chafe at having to include Texas Tech instead of Clemson to make the move politically more sound.) I just don't see a 16 team conference being viable for very long, and 14 is really straining the seams.
Though I did think of an alternative after reading how much "little brotherism" exists on the Longhorn blogs: the SEC could just invite TAMU, and one or two other schools to get to 14 and 15. I mean, as much fun as it would be to have them both, I'd take either if we absolutely must expand.
But there is a lot of pride and money on the line, so anything is possible. You know us Southrons after all.