Alternate Title: Let's open up a map and speculate wildly.
Conference expansion has been the off season topic of the last two off seasons. Its not even close. Usually these stories start cropping up in the summer doldrums where there is nothing actually happening and we all resort to seeking out rumor and innuendo. Not so this time.
This morning a report surfaced that the Big 12 is reconvening it's long dormant expansion committee. It has since been picked up everywhere else. In a nutshell the Big 12 is interested in expanding to some degree, but nothing can be classified as emminent, and they are most likely going to be uber passive aggressive about this* and might not do anything for months. This is basically a public statement that the Big 12 has this on their collective minds. The correct reply to that is well no shit.
From a UC perspective I would be happy with an invite to the Big 12 in a heartbeat. The Big 12 is no more stable than the Big East is but the money on the Big 12 side of things is so much greater. Consider it a risk premium. Not to mention that joining the Big 12 basically guarantees the Bearcats a seat at the table for the next iteration of the BCS. That is worth it's weight in gold, and it something that the Big East, even with the expansion set to take place in 2013 and beyond, can't match. Competitively the Big East is probably UC's best bet, but in terms of a standard of living, it can't touch the Big 12. And that will probably prove to be the difference should that decision ever have to be made.