It’s the nightmare scenario for the rest of the Big 12 — what if Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12, as they are reportedly exploring the idea of joining the Southeastern Conference?
Well, the Big 12 just might be dead, if that’s the case.
The league has been on life support before. But it’s always been the presence of OU and UT that saves them. But if the two tent-pole programs of the conference leave for the Big 12, well, then all bets are off.
Sure, the Big 12 could TRY to make a go of it as a Power 5 conference without them. It would require adding a lot of freight and getting some notable programs to decide to join the Big 12.
But, if the OU and UT move becomes official, the other Power 5 conferences won’t wait to see what the Big 12 does. They’ll pounce, and they’ll do it quickly. The other eight Big 12 teams won’t sit on their hands, either. They’ll explore new opportunities as quickly as possible.
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It could all fall apart fast. If it does, this is how I think it will go.
With the SEC full, it leaves three Power 5 conferences, eight teams and eight openings. The ACC, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 could almost just have a meeting and divvy up the spoils.
ACC: West Virginia and TCU
The Mountaineers make total sense geographically. TCU doesn’t make a ton of sense to the ACC, but really, beyond WVU, no one else does. But the ACC will want what the Horned Frogs can give them — access to a Top 10 media market and Texas recruiting. The wild card here is Notre Dame. If the Irish finally decide to join the league full-time for football (or are compelled to do so by College Football Playoff renegotiations), either the Mountaineers or the Horned Frogs are going home unhappy.
Big Ten: Kansas and Iowa State
The Big Ten is picky. They like their members to be part of the American Association of Universities. Guess which two remaining Big 12 schools are members? Yup. The Big Ten will take the Cyclones for their new-found football rep, and the Jayhawks for their basketball pedigree, though Iowa might put up a fight about allowing the Cyclones in the league.
Pac-12: Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech
The Pac-12 gets what remains. The Pac-12 gets its wish from nearly a decade ago.
And the Big 12 would be no more.
It could happen. All we can do now is watch.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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