Welcome to a new week of opinion based on speculation, rumor tea leaf reading and leaks by confidants and cronies. Which of the latest have any connection to reality? Take your pick from the following.
1. Done Deal. According to Ingram Smith’s Sunday bombshell, the Noles are signed, sealed and awaiting delivery to the Big 12. After all, “two people with the strongest ties possible to Florida State's Athletic Department” pinky promise that it’s so. Meanwhile, a West Virginia site insists that “both Clemson and FSU are safely in the Big 12”.
Believability Rating: 5 on a scale of 10. It’s incredulous that Randy Spetman, Monk Bonasorte, Jimbo or anybody else “with the strongest ties” is blabbing to Ingram or the WVU Dude. Andy Haggard and the Board of Trustees? They have opinions -- which they’re now undoubtedly keeping to themselves -- but not the strongest ties to athletics. And then there’s Eric Barron. The final decision is his, and he continues to sound unconvinced.
2. Uncertainty Abounds. Here in the muddled middle ground, two Texas Longhorn sites offer reasons why the process won’t go quickly or smoothly. Burnt Orange Nation says Big 12 schools are split on expansion, with the Longhorns possibly “pushing hard to prevent it.” Meanwhile, Orangebloods believes “there’s nothing set in stone” yet, and offers a new plot twist: Texas actively courting Notre Dame to join the conference, apparently even before FSU and Clemson.
3. Forget About It. Chad Scott makes some compelling points in his recent column on why FSU switching conferences makes no sense. Among them is this argument about the paramount reason for a move to the Big 12: Money.
“For the 2010-2011 school year the University of Florida had total operating expenses in its athletic department of $107.7 million. Florida State’s total operating expenses were $86.9 million and the Seminoles have beaten the Gators like a drum in football the past two seasons. Florida State has made more good decisions and had better leadership recently. What is Tennessee doing with its monstrous $111.7 million in operating expenses ? How has Virginia Tech managed to be nationally viable in football for 15 years despite spending much less than the heavyweights, a relatively trim $62.6 million for ’10-’11? (Clemson’s total athletic operating expenses in ’10-’11 were $58.4 million).”