Lash, I agree with most of what you said except with Maryland and with the Big Ten. Maryland was out of money. That was a huge break for the Big Ten and Rutgers/Missouri/ect. would come with Maryland. The Big Ten is conference rivals (for over 100 years) with the Pac 8/10/12. Big Ten vs. SEC stuff is fun, but it's a fairly recent "North v. South" media-created thing. Anyway, the Big Ten would not take lightly to their rival conference being the only P5 maxed-out to 16. Offers would be made and I'd say it's more likely that the Big Ten would end up with 16 than with 12 in this scenario.
To honor your scenario (which I liked)...
PAC 16 (CU, TT, TAM, TX, OK, OSU)
BIG 16 (MD, RUT, UConn, Kansas)
SEC 16 (Missouri, WV, TCU, Baylor)
ACC 16 (Cincinnati, Louisville, Notre Dame in full, Memphis)
Big East 16 (it's 16, but it's a not a power conference, includes ISU, KSU, BYU and others... gets respectable bowl contract and decent TV money for what it is)
bigshotbog, of course any of these scenarios could have been possible and would be interesting to have observed how the leagues would have played out with the Pac becoming a 16 member league.
To me the only league in the country that really made sense as 16 then or now was the Pac 10 or Pac 12. The Oregon and Washington schools always have needed the LA area and the four California schools want to play each other ever year. Other that the Arizona schools getting a little shaft in missing playing close by southern California schools, picking up Texas would have been a good substitute to replace the regular California games.
I do not believe the SEC would have taken Missouri without Texas A&M wanting to join. Many schools including powerful Alabama did not necessarily want Missouri.
It was interesting when the Pac 16 proposal was in full swing, ESPN and many other media came out with the SEC plans of taking Florida State, Clemson, Texas A&M, and Missouri. I remember watching this report on ESPN and thinking is this really happening as we would discuss many of these options on this board at that time.
I personally believe the SEC had a lot to do with the failure of the Pac 16 and threw Texas A&M a bone or promise to keep them from going along and blotched the plan for Texas and the proposed Pac 16.
Everyone wants to blame Baylor and the threat of law suite, however, no one would have cared what Baylor wanted to do with the legal system. It was Texas A&M reluctance and most likely promise of SEC membership that caused a most likely chain reaction.
Had the Pac 16 been able to continue and just replace Texas A&M with Utah and the SEC proceeded with taking Florida State, Clemson, Texas A&M, and Missouri we could have a very interesting landscape in todays power leagues.
With this ESPN report of Florida State and Clemson bolting to the SEC, ACC most likely began preliminary plans to raid the Big East for Pittsburgh and Syracuse and strive for the best basketball league (aka Big East plans after first ACC raid).
What the ACC did not plan for was the Big Ten coming in as well and snatching up cash strapped Maryland. With the ACC being raided from the south by the SEC and north by the Big 12, I believe the Big East may have came out on top especially if Kansas were included in the Big East mix with the original basketball schools of Georgetown.
Remember Oliver Luck of WVU had proposed the Big East create a west division with Louisville, Missouri, Kansas, K State, Iowa State and the east with UConn, Rutgers, WVU, Cincinnati, USF, UCF.
IF the SEC and Big Ten had been successful along with the Pac 16, Syracuse and Pitt would have probably changed their decision and return back to the Big East. At that time the Big East was just as strong as the would be gutted ACC in basketball and neither would have been that strong in football with FSU and Clemson bolting for the SEC. Boston College would have probably rejoined their old league as well.
I believe the Big Ten would have went after Virginia and North Carolina with the ACC in such a vulnerable state and the Big East would have survived as the stronger league.
Maybe something like the following for Big East football and of course the Big East basketball only schools and Notre Dame would have continued to be the mix as well.
East: Boston College?, UConn, Syracuse?, Rutgers?, Miami?, Va Tech?, NC State?, Georgia Tech?
West: Pitt?, WVU, Louisville, Cincinnati, USF, Kansas?, Kansas State?, Iowa State?