The remnants of the Big East and Big 12 are discussing a proposed merger, according to media reports, but which league would fold and which league would live on?
Most speculation has Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State all headed to the Big East, assuming Texas and Oklahoma abandon the Big 12, but it's possible the Big 12 name could live on.
The Big East has been around longer and would maintain more teams, but as Bloomberg's Michele Steele pointed out on Twitter -- the Big 12 may have the money advantage.
According to Steele, the Big 12 could have a war chest as large as $120 million should Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas bail from the league. The Big East, comparatively, will have about $20 million in funds after Pittsburgh and Syracuse leave for the ACC.
Most speculation has the Big East absorbing the Big 12 leftovers, but money could ultimately complicate things.
The Big East is still the more likely of the two to keep its name, in part because its likely remaining schools have more clout than the Big 12's, but a lot of what happens could depend on what the basketball-only schools end up doing.
Some speculation has the basketball-only programs spinning off and creating a Catholic basketball league. This would include programs like Georgetown, St. John's, and Villanova while also potentially adding schools such as St. Joseph's and Xavier.
If this were to occur the Big East would have even less bargaining power and a merger into the Big 12 could be more likely.
One thing to consider, though, is that the situation is extremely fluid and constantly shifting with new rumors and speculation dominating the minds of media members and school administrators. ESPN has noted that Connecticut is fervently working to get into the ACC, but it's certainly possible that invite never comes and the school remains in the Big East.
Another report by the Orlando Sentinel stated that Villanova, along with multiple other Big East schools, indicated interest in joining the ACC to conference leaders. Whether any of this is likely to occur is hard to say, but any more departures could put a dent into the Big East's survival chances.
College realignment is moving at an incredibly rapid pace and backdoor mergers like this one could constantly be changing as leverage varies based on the day. But it's worth keeping in the back of your mind that although Big East is considered to be the more dominant of the two conferences right now, the Big 12 has a clear money advantage.
Even further, the Big 12 has a strong financial deal with ESPN and Fox, while the Big East left a lucrative deal on the table before Pittsburgh and Syracuse flew the coop.
So be prepared Big East fans -- not only is the tradition of the conference on the verge of dying, but the name might also be going down the tubes.