zzz--probably my post was hard to follow because I don't yet have any firm conclusions; I'm merely listing the things that bother me.
I agree that a merge delayed past 8 seems very odd, and I'm not ready to say it's likely.
On the other hand, if there's no merge in 7, but they are told it will happen in 8, and Boran goes to TC in 7--why would they boot Teresa? I am sure Ethan would want to boot the IC threat, Clarence. They've been planning to do that all along (per some Insider clip I saw)--to boot Clarence just pre-merge. Ethan is big on eliminating "threats."
Teresa simply doesn't represent a threat of any kind in the merge episode. Therefore, if they DO boot her in 7, it's because they still don't know if they will merge in 8, IMO.
Alternative: Diane's list fails on just one person.