HOUSTON - DECEMBER 3: Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Texas Longhorns runs for a touchdown against Brian Iwuh #27 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship at Reliant Stadium December 3, 2005 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Big 12 breakup has begun, and the first school to leave is Colorado, which accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10 on Thursday morning.
The future of the Big 12 was doomed soon after the University of Nebraska began discussing joining the Big Ten Conference. Nebraska is expected to make an announcement on Friday.
Texas and Texas A&M officials met Thursday to discuss the future of their athletic programs and the Big 12, but did not make a decision on what move to make.
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has said he wants to keep the Big 12 together but that he also wasn't afraid to make a move if necessary.
Baylor and Texas Tech officials have said that even if the Big 12 breaks apart, they want to remain with Texas and Texas A&M as members of the same conference.
Colorado's acceptance is largely seen as a preemptive strike to Baylor making a push through Texas lawmakers to join the other five Big 12 South schools in forming a Pac-10 south division, along with Arizona and Arizona State.
On Wednesday, The Houston Chronicle reported that the Huskers have accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten though the school has made no formal announcement.
Nebraska's Board of Regents amended the agenda for its previously scheduled Friday meeting to include a briefing from Chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Tom Osborne on conference alignment, the newspaper reported. The regents could then vote to leave the Big 12.
"We certainly don't have anything against anybody in the Big 12," Osborne told his university's radio station Wednesday. "This decision is not going to be based on animosity towards anyone or petty jealousy. I mean, you are talking about something that could maintain for the next 75 to 100 years. This is simply not a case of us reacting to any one school, particularly to Texas."
An announcement would likely mean the 14-year-old Big 12 would dissolve and the University of Texas is the biggest prize in the conference.
With Nebraska’s announcement scheduled for Friday, the remaining Big 12 members will then have time to sort out where they’re headed, with a south division of the Pac-10 consisting of UT, A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado a very real possibility.
Mixed Emotions for College Football Fans
At sports bars across North Texas, fans have their eyes on the future.
"There's going to be a lot of changes," Texas fan Ryan Hampton said. "A lot of different people are going to be playing different teams, and it's just, I'm worried about -- the main thing, Texas/OU, that's the main thing I'm worried about."
"I think it's a great move," said another Texas fan, Tim Trotter. "I think Texas was smart to wait until Nebraska or somebody moved."
And while tradition is important, some fans said this is a great opportunity for their teams.
"I think it would be a lot more fun to go see USC or UCLA come into Kyle Field once every couple of years than some of our Big 12 brethren," Aggie fan Laurent Therivel said.
"I'd absolutely rather have them play bigger games every weekend than them playing North Texas -- and I went to North Texas," Trotter said.
Perry Staying Out of Big 12 Chaos
In the meantime, Aggie alum Gov. Rick Perry is taking a hands-off approach to the whole mess.
Perry, who was speaking at the Republican state convention in Dallas, said Thursday that he would leave the decision to the governing boards of the universities.
The Republican said he has "stayed studiously away from it." He adds, "We'll let the boards of regents at the appropriate universities make the decisions."
Perry said that, if asked, he would endorse "an all-Texas conference."
NBC DFW's Ashanti Blaize contributed to this report.