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SEC could get even stronger

Conference realignment is back. Or it could be.

Dissatisfaction is growing among Big 12 Conference members regarding Texas’ deal with ESPN for its own TV network.

The Big 12, probably worried about a revolt, nixed the idea — for now, anyway — of the network televising high school games. But that doesn’t end the story.

Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne released an extensive statement expressing concerns about the network, and there is speculation the Aggies and Oklahoma are thinking about looking into a move to the Southeastern Conference.

College football studio host Tim Brando, whose CBS network covers the SEC, tweeted that “by 2014 OU and A&M will be in the SEC West. They will be laughed at Nationally for allowing UT to dictate their profit.”

SEC commissioner Mike Slive told reporters this week that expansion is far from a dead issue. “It is my job to make sure the SEC is the premier league,” Slive said. “For me to exclude any action that would preclude that from happening would be inappropriate.”

Another conference commissioner, the Mountain West’s Craig Thompson, better be paying attention. Big 12 schools that were nearly there last year for the MWC might be available again.

As Mountain West fans learned last year, however, don’t get too excited until something happens.

■ THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR – When the Mountain West’s official predicted order of finish is released Tuesday during the conference’s football media days, UNLV should be in a familiar position of being at or near the bottom.

The Rebels are seventh in the eight-team league, according to a consensus ranking of preseason magazines.

Lindy’s, which places the Rebels fifth, is the most optimistic, but UNLV is last in Blue Ribbon/ESPN, Phil Steele and Sporting News. The Phil Steele ranking is particularly noteworthy because of its strong track record.

But Phil Steele believes the program is on the right path, writing UNLV is “likely a year away from contending in a bowl.” The magazine points out the Rebels will field another young team and argues the talent level is improving throughout the squad.

That’s true, but patience isn’t something the Rebels’ marketing department can build into an effective slogan.

■ WELL, HE WAS WARNED – The fact someone could get arrested for making an obscene gesture would be news to many Las Vegas drivers.

It apparently is illegal in Montana, where a boxer was arrested for allegedly making an obscene gesture to the crowd at a Butte outdoor ring.

While the fight was still in progress.

Brock Aleksich grew irritated when the fans chanted for his opponent, Bobby Moreno, and during one break he removed his gloves and made an obscene gesture. Police officers told Aleksich not to do it again or he would be arrested.

They weren’t kidding. Aleksich was taken out of the ring during the following break when the boxer allegedly made another obscene gesture and was handed to police.

Aleksich could be charged with disorderly conduct, according to The Montana Standard.

Moreno was awarded a technical knockout.

COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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