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Hurricane Conference Realignment: The Plot Thickens

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Big 12 expansion has been a reasonable possibility for a few months now, but recent developments suggest other conferences may also be looking to add to their ranks.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I promise that all I am trying to do here is make an earnest attempt to cover the possibilities of schools which may be switching conferences and if UConn might be one of them. A lot of news has emerged which could make this offseason slightly more interesting than us realignment storm chasers had previously thought.

We'll start with the Big 12. The conference leadership is meeting this week and will be presented with the findings of an independent study which concludes that taking three distinct actions will increase their schools' chances of making the college football playoff by 10-15 percent: adding two teams, having one less conference game, and holding a conference championship game. The study, conducted by Navigate Research, also contains profiles, and ostensibly recommendations, for expansion candidates.

At the moment we don't know for sure where the Big 12 member schools stand on the expansion decision. A change of this magnitude requires a super majority of 75% to pass, which would mean eight schools voting in favor. Reports are indicating that seven are currently in that camp, so perhaps only one more school needs to be swayed by the information revealed and discussions across the week to cement a decision on expansion.

While the Big 12 discussion has dominated realignment chatter, a few other "power conferences" may be looking to expand as well. The SEC will be out-earned by the Big Ten once its new deal kicks in, and the only way the SEC can renegotiate its current 20-year deal would be to expand.

That scenario could be very beneficial to UConn, or any other school hoping to join the autonomous and wealthy, because the SEC is in a much more advantageous position with regards to finding expansion candidates than the Big 12. That could open a spot up for UConn in a conference that is a slightly better fit.

Newest to the fold in the realignment rumor mill, reports have emerged that the ACC is looking to move quickly to form a conference network of its own. This could mean Notre Dame joining as a full member, and perhaps needing a moving partner to make the numbers even and claim more TV sets. The ACC also has a couple of prime targets for SEC expansion.

Why else might the ACC be motivated to expand? Simple. If your competitors are out claiming territory on college athletics' proverbial Risk board, signing lucrative TV deals, and creating television networks then you might want to start looking into doing the same. You may also want to increase your member schools' revenues to make them less likely to leave and also keep up with the palatial facilities being built around the country.

And finally, Wichita State is reportedly interested a move to the Mountain West, or maybe Conference USA or AAC, along with the addition of a football team. The Shockers could be an interesting backfill for someone as the effects of these potential changes ripple across the NCAA.