Not to worry -- this FanPost is not another speculation about who goes where, or my own plan for the next great Texas-led Megaconference. I want to explore how much of a factor y'all believe academic prowess will play in conference realignment.
BevoBoy94's post on the rumor that the Pac-10 wants to invite UT + 5 to its conference, and the many references from commenting BONers about academics and AAU membership, led me to do some quick research. Of the 63 AAU member institutions, seven are from the Pac-10 (Arizona, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Washington) and seven from the Big XII (A&M, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas). All 11 Big Ten schools are AAU members. The SEC? Just two (Florida, Vanderbilt).
My questions: Even though "most of us will be going pro in something other than sports," I think of the conferences more in athletic than academic terms. What am I missing? Where and how strongly does academic prestige come into play, particularly in realignment discussions? Would academics alone be enough to tank any Texas interest in the SEC? Can the Pac-10 possibly be serious about OU, OSU and Tech?
I'd appreciate some enlightenment. Thanks.