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Originally published June 11, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Page modified June 12, 2010 at 9:19 PM

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Nebraska moves to Big Ten, Boise State to Mountain West; Pac-16 soon?

College game of musical chairs continues, with Nebraska getting the OK to move to Big Ten, Boise State leaving Western Athletic Conference to join Mountain West.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The kaleidoscope of college sports continued spinning Friday, with two more prominent football programs finding new homes and the prospect that a revolutionized Pac-10 Conference might be reality by early next week.

Boise State jumped from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Friday morning, followed by Nebraska's move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten. Those came on the heels of Colorado's switch from the Big 12 to the Pac-10 Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Austin American-Statesman quoted a high official at a Big 12 school as saying "the decision has been made" that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be announced as Pac-10-bound next week. Texas and Texas Tech regents are scheduled to meet Tuesday.

Still undetermined is the fate of Texas A&M, described to be torn about possible invitations to the Pac-10 and Southeastern Conference. The newspaper said the Aggies have a 72-hour window to decide, and if they go east rather than west, the probability is the Pac-10 would look to add a 16th team for 2012, possibly Utah.

Nebraska's defection from the Big 12 is seen as a likely death knell for that conference, although on a national conference call, commissioner Dan Beebe said, "We have pretty good evidence that we have better (TV) value as 10 than the 11 in that conference (the Pac-10)."

Beebe conceded it had "been a couple of pretty disappointing days here at the Big 12 Conference."

He insisted there was "high interest" in conference members wanting to remain intact, but conceded, "I would not be candid if I didn't say there were institutions studying options otherwise."

The Big Ten's addition of Nebraska was its first move since commissioner Jim Delany announced last December the league would, in the next 12-18 months, explore expansion. He said the accelerated pace recently led to the quicker move on the Huskers and added, "I think we're back to the slower tempo sort of game.

"But it's very hard to predict the unpredictable. We're prepared to act faster if the need presents itself."

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne seemed to refer to the rift between his school and the Big 12 South when he talked about the culture of his school fitting the Big Ten model.

"Sometimes the reasons these things don't work out very well is, we smash cultures together," he said. "One reason we feel good about (the move) is, we feel we share a lot of values with Big Ten institutions."

While Colorado doesn't join the Pac-10 until 2012, Nebraska will play a Big Ten football schedule in 2011, Delany said.

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Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, in announcing Boise State's addition, said the Broncos add "great value" to the league's TV profile.

If the Big 12 folds, the Mountain West could be a draw for some of the orphaned programs in that league like Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri.

There is more potential change for another Pac-10 program. USC, heavily sanctioned by the NCAA Thursday, could lose junior or senior football players, who can transfer without a sit-out period to schools other than those in the conference.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com

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