As I said in the Big Ten thread...
I don't think this ushers in a "Super Conference" era with the BCS conferences expanding to four or five conferences of 16.
#1 - The Big Ten Network.
As stated previously, the Big Ten Network is the reason that conference can go past 12. Simply put, more teams means more markets with higher prices and more revenue.
Ideal for the Big Ten: Texas, Rutgers and Syracuse. This adds 18 million households to the Big Ten Networks primary markets. Getting on primary cable in those two markets (NY/Texas) would mean about $18 million more in revenue in just carriage fees. Not to mention an increase in advertising revenue as more companies want to reach their wider audience.
The Big Ten has the ability to make more money with more teams that other conferences (as of yet) do not have.
#2 - The law of diminishing returns.
For other conferences, adding more schools means slicing their pie two more ways. This means each school has to bring in their share to the pot of revenue. There's only so many institutions out there who can do that.
Short of carving up the carcass of the Big East and Big 12, who can the Pac 10 add if Texas is gone and after Colorado and Utah climb on board who can bring in their weight in revenue?
#3 - So Who's out There?
TCU, BYU, UNLV, Colorado State, Boise State, Houston... they can't bring the Pac 10 or Big 12 enough bang for their buck for them to go to 14 or 16.
Either their markets are too small, or they are the second or third (or fourth or fifth) fiddle in their state.
The Big East is already up against this problem, where Memphis, UCF and ECU are not desireable for their conference even though they need a 9th football team.
#4 - The SEC TV contract is locked in
They aren't expanding to divide their pie 2 or 4 more ways for another 15 years. No reason to.
Even if Texas and Texas A&M said "Hey, we'll join you." The SEC would say "Sure, in 13 years when we're negotiating our next TV deal"
IF the Big Ten lands Texas, Syracuse and Rutgers (their ideal); the Pac 10 takes Colorado and Utah, the only real expansion beyond 12 for the rest of the conferences would be what, exactly?
The ACC could go after UConn, Notre Dame. No one else is going to bring enough revenue to the table for them to consider.
The Pac 10? Oklahoma and Oklahoma State?
For the Super Conference Era to start, the Pac 10 and/or ACC are going to have to SUCCESSFULLY launch TV networks.
We'd really need to read the fine print in these contracts to know for sure that anyone is "locked in". Do you really think that an exodus by Texas wouldn't trigger a renegotiation or other adjustement of the Big XII contract?
Do you think that if the SEC, for example, could add Texas that the networkds wouldn't be willing to take a new look at that 15 year contract?