Have you ever watched one of those movies where half the time you have no clue what's going on, but then somehow it all comes together at the end? I'm not sure what this is worth to you, but it just gave me one of those "ah ha" moments. Let me explain how I interpret this:
1) Chuck Neinas plucks TCU from the Big East. Everyone said the Big 12 doesn't want TCU, "it doesn't expand their market, the teams won't accept another Texas school". But it was much bigger than that. It was easy. It makes more geographical and financial sense for TCU. More importantly it crippled the Big East and it did so without leaving the bad "conference killer" taste in your mouth. No one really faulted TCU for leaving an unstable conference they were never actually a part of.
2) This sends the Big East into total conference realignment chaos. All of a sudden the unstable Big 12 looks like a conference paradise. Neinas then announces "We're happy with 10 teams" (Re: We're not going to obliterate the Big East). Mind you everyone believes/knows discussions have been and still are going on.
3) Meanwhile the Big East can't get anyone to commit, not even the teams already in the conference. The basketball schools want to block any new basketball members. And potential new members don't want to put their football programs aboard the Titanic. There were plenty of reports of discussions, but it seemed most programs were uninterested.
4a) What does Chuck Neinas do? Apparently he's making calls and pulling strings. What at face value didn't make much sense, the merger of two average conferences, now does. The conferences were probably persuaded with talks of AQ status and threats of a Big East raid. "Hello Big East selection pool"
4b) Out of nowhere you now have 5 schools (all of which are aware of each others' offers)with the choice to either: A) Stay in the 22 team modge podge conference and hope you get AQ status or B) Go to the Big East and GET AQ status and more TV money. Tough decision right? And if the Big East gets dismantled where do they end up? Probably back where they started.
5) So now the fun part. Assuming all 5 schools accept, the Big East now has 11 football schools. The Big 12 has 9 and a half football schools. Guess what happens next? If my predictions are right Chuck Neinas and the Big 12 take the BE team(s) they want without landing the proverbial death blow on the Big East. More importantly they avoid the ethical and legal clusterfuck that seemed unavoidable for all parties involved with the Big East's implosion.
Chuck Neinas giveth and Chuck Neinas hath taken away
I'm going to go out on a limb here and make an even bolder prediction. The Big 12 adds Louisville sooner rather than later. They don't wait for Missourri. Right now Missourri has the Big 12 by the balls. By adding Louisville now they cut down on the potential 2 years we'd have to wait to join the conference. And it puts the power back into the hands of the conference instead of waiting on one school to make up its mind. If they leave at the end of the year the Big 12 still has 10, if they don't Neinas adds 1 more and the Big 12 returns to 12.
I don't know how much of that is accurate interpretation and how much is delusional hope, but if it is true:
I want to be in that man's conference