As the Big 12 Conference debates the merits of expansion, the Texas Longhorns are reportedly pressuring in-state schools like the Texas Tech Red Raiders and TCU Horned Frogs to withhold the critical vote in favor of moving back to 12 teams while waiting for a "clear, compelling case" to emerge in favor of it.
One other critical entity is ready for its own showdown -- Oklahoma board of regents chairman Max Weitzenhoffer told CBS Sports that the regents will meet on Thursday to discuss Big 12 expansion and the role president David Boren is playing in it. Boren is chairman of the Big 12 presidents and has been a vocal advocate for expansion and the dissolution of the Longhorn Network in recent months.
However, Weiztenhoffer also told ESPN's Jake Trotter that expansion is not on the agenda for Thursday and he doesn't think it will get brought up. So the ultimate discussion between the regents and with Boren may not happen this week.
But back to the larger point -- Weitzenhoffer and at least one other Oklahoma regent aren't in favor of expansion and want to press Boren on what the school plans to do:
"We will have a lot of input [on Oklahoma's view of expansion]," Weitzenhoffer said of the regents. "The problems is, the reason I got so bent out of shape on this is we're coming to that crunch time and they're all trying to decide what to do.
"We think all these Big 12 presidents can do this thing without going through boards of regents. We're not sure about Texas. The fact is we just want to make sure he [Boren] understands where we are. I don't want to speak for all of us.
"We're going to force the president to tell us where we stand."
In another conversation, Weitzenhoffer was much more strident about his opposition to expansion:
Spoke to OU board chair Max Weitzenhoffer, as well. He said, "I just don't feel expansion is in the best interest of our football program."— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) May 9, 2016
Much like Texas, Weitzenhoffer wants to hear a strong case made for expansion because he recognizes that only schools from Power Five conferences make sense as additions and none of those schools are currently available because of grants of rights.
More than anything else, the looming issue with Big 12 expansion is that while the conference may have a better chance of making the College Football Playoffs with 12 teams and a conference title game, adding schools like BYU, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Memphis, or South Florida doesn't necessarily make the league more appealing to television networks that are preparing for major upheaval in how customers consume their products.
And while the supposed pressuring tactics of Texas make the 'Horns once again look like the big bullies in the neighborhood, remaining realistic about the quality of programs available is a prudent move. Now it looks like Texas has an unexpected ally in that stance.