It isn't as though most people in Big 12 country would be shocked to hear Louisville had been extended an offer to join the conference.
But, it is a little bit surprising that, considering Big 12 interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas' stance that 10 teams is the magic number for now, the Cardinals football coaches are telling recruits that their playing futures "no doubt" reside there.
Louisville's apparent actions would seem to undercut the Big East's hard-line stance toward member institutions wanting to leave the conference while giving credence to the thought that the Big 12 does want to find its way back to the actual number of teams in its name; though probably not until the 2012 season at the earliest.
In early November, West Virginia was sued by the conference for breach of contract as it was announced the Mountaineers would join the Big 12. At the time, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto indicated a heavy hand would be played toward West Virginia's bid to join its new home in 2012.
"Today's legal action underscores Big East position it will vigorously pursue enforcement of its rights and West Virginia's obligations, which WVU agreed and helped construct," Marinatto said then.
That stance, however, seemed to hinge on the thought and/or hope that several schools, including Brigham Young, Boise State, Air Force, Navy and several from Conference USA would join the Big East and keep it viable. Since that time, the plan is in an extremely precarious position after negotiations with BYU reached an impasse, Boise State is dealing with potential Chris Peterson interest from other schools and has yet to accept (and may be hinting it is okay with where it sits), and none of the other invitees have committed as of yet. There is also the possibility that Rutgers and UCONN are still on the ACC's radar as well.
On West Virginia's side, there is a hope that an announcement regarding 2012 Big 12 participation could come before the end of the year, and a source said a schedule is nearly complete.*
*Of course, anyone can put games on paper. That's one thing. However, the source also said while the schedule isn't confirmed, media in both West Virginia and Texas have heard the Mountaineers could replace Texas A&M on the schedule and play Texas on Thanksgiving. The fact that both sides are hearing pieces of the same story makes it at least a little believable.
With all of that in play, the source felt strongly that WVU would be a part of the Big 12 in 2012. And, now Louisville is not-so-quietly hinting it may be planning to depart as well.