Looks like the second scenario is the one that will play out. The Big 12 will survive and will likely expand back to at least 10, though I think 12 is more likely for stability.
However, that 6th AQ spot seems to be very much in the air. Unless the Big 12 takes Boise, the MWC may have the edge over the Big East for the last AQ, especially if TCU can be convinced to stay. That being said, I think the Big East keeps their AQ spot. This means the MWC and C-USA are about to get raided.
My expectation is:
Big 12 adds Houston, BYU, AFA, and Boise (if Missouri leaves)
Big East adds Temple, Nova, UCF. I think they only go to 12 if they can get Army/Navy as football only members or if two non football schools leave for the ACC.
MWC adds SMU, UTEP, and potentially USU and SJSU depending on losses.
C-USA will be so torn apart I wonder if they will rebuild or if the West schools (Rice, Tulane, Tulsa) join the WAC and bring the SWC name and the East schools merge with the Sun Belt (but take the C-USA name). But even at 6 members, they can probably still rebuild with a mix WAC, Sun Belt, and FCS schools like Charlotte and App St.
Interestingly enough, C-USA is in a similar position as the ACC. They might be better off making a preemptive strike so they don't risk having to fold.
I'll keep repeating this until I'm blue in the face, or of course I'm wrong...but Texas will not let ANY school from Texas into the Big 12, period. Right now if Texas was to go independent or alone to the PAC/B1G/ACC, we'd have to make sure Tech and possibly even Baylor would find a landing spot, if not our state legislature may threaten to withhold funding or possibly even pass a law forcing us to stay. If we add Houston (another big public school that the Houston area congressmen would make us look after) or TCU/SMU (private school that have many supporter due to their law school and general support in DFW) then their is no way Texas can go anywhere. That being said...
The Big 12 should add (and I'm hearing they may) Louisville, Cincinnati, and West Virginia.
This kills the Big East, forces TCU back to the MWC which will virtually guarantee them an AQ.
This also put pressure on the ACC to take UConn and Rutgers (making them look like the bad guys that started this whole thing) which starts the ball rolling on this whole super conference bonanza.
And this send USF back to CUSA (w/ UCF) who finally take LA Tech in to help balance out the divisions.
Now the SEC could take Lville, WVU, or even Mizzou before the Big 12 is able to actually get these schools officially into the conference, however even then I'm pretty sure BYU gets in over TCU.
Now if this happens, it opens up a new Western AQ league that already has a footprint in Texas, so if OU and OSU actually get an invitation from the PAC or decide to join the SEC then Texas could bolt almost free and clear. The MWC could easily pickup BYU, Baylor, Tech, and Houston (or SMU/UTEP) to strengthen their conference and make it well rounded. This New AQ MWC (w/ TCU, BYU, Tech, Baylor, Houston, and Utah St<<to balance the divisions FSA) would be as good in fb as the ACC, bball as the PAC, and academics as the SEC. It may never be 1 or 2 in anything but I bet it could sneak in spots 3 or 4 pretty often.
This honestly kill three birds with one stone for me so I am biased, it sets up Texas to have the ability to move where they please and it kills BE fb which I've despised (except WVU/Pitt) for years and it gives the MWC its long deserving AQ bid that they've been fighting for so long. This also sets CUSA up to take back its schools like Cinncy, and Lville, plus Iowa St and Kansas St (assuming either UH or SMU bolts to the MWC which may get them an AQ bid after the Big 12 eventually falls apart.
Fan of the Big 12 Conference, the Mountain West Conference and...