Here at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction weekend in Knoxville, Tenn., I chatted with former Maryland coach Chris Weller, who is in this year’s class.
She acknowledged she hadn’t given much thought to how the ongoing various conference realignments would impact women’s basketball. But she looked completely stunned when asked about the potential of Maryland being wooed away from the ACC to the Big Ten, which is one of the many, many, many rumors that have been put forth.
Weller looked stricken at the idea that her alma mater could even be mentioned as potentially leaving the ACC. The ACC without the Terps, and vice versa? Perish the thought, she basically said, because that would be inconceivable.
Which I’m sure is the way a lot of people felt about the idea of Nebraska no longer being linked to its longtime former “Big Eight” mates from Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma and Colorado.
With the Buffs “stealing” just a little thunder with their announcement Thursday they were headed to the Pac-10 and then Nebraska’s expected-but-still-a-bombshell decision to go to the Big Ten, we all know the Big 12 was pushed even further toward the end of the plank. And with the Texas schools apparently set to announce their intentions early next week, the Big 12 looks like it’s right near the edge of falling over into complete oblivion.
If it doesn’t happen – if the league holds on to the 10 schools it still has – it will be a little like in the movies when a character is presumed dead but actually isn’t, prompting an amazed celebration by loved ones. But if the kingpin of all of the remaining dominoes, Texas, makes its move west or east, the Big 12 becomes a relic.
The oddest thing is that as much as this conference realignment talk has been buzzing, as much as we had to know that something was going to come out of it, it still seems unreal to any of us who grew up following the Big Eight that Nebraska and Colorado are really … gone.