Chances are that if you read Down The Drive you have at least visited one of the half a dozen message boards that cater to Bearcat fans. A meme has sprouted from those very places that an invite to the Big 12 for UC is in the pipeline. Last week when discussing UC's prospects in the coming conference shuffle I suggested that the way forward for UC was to merge with the remnants of the Big 12 when Oklahoma went west.
Now it seems that UC's fortunes are indeed pointed westward, but not for the reasons I foresaw. The Big 12 is keeping the band together for now, with a contract that has an eye on keeping the band together for a while more. The only school expressing dissent for now is Missouri. Missouri kept the Big 12 contract from being ratified and the common consensus is that the Tigers are SEC bound. With the flight of Nebraska and Colorado last year, Texas A&M and Missouri this year the Big 12 needs to add some teams. If the Big East has proven one thing conclusively since 2005 it is that an 8 team Football league just doesn't work
The rumors that are currently igniting message boards en mass has the Big 12 looking east for additions. Several random message board posters have claimed that some combination of Cincinnati, Louisville and West Virginia will be receiving invites to the Big 12 by the end of the week. The voracity of those making the claims is far from certain, and I certainly wouldn't be betting the house on any one of them being true. But the rumors, whispers and innuendo surrounding UC's place in this rapidly changing environment have changed markedly over the weekend. Where there were tails of apocalypse and inexorable decline there now exists a kind of serene calm, something bordering on optimism in Bearcat Nation. Time will tell whether the rumors turn out to be founded on anything at all. But from where I am sitting, and what I am hearing, the situation isn't looking anywhere near as dreadful as it was 10 days ago. Nothing is certain, and as they like to say it's a fluid situation. UC could very well be stuck on the H.M.S. Big East. By the way that ship is in the process as we speak of being scuttled on it's second iceberg in less than a decade. But there is a hint of a light at the end of the tunnel for the Bearcats. Stay tuned.