Kansas State Wildcats

If Big 12 Fails, Does Kansas State Fit in Big Ten or Pac-12?

NCAA Football: Kansas State at West Virginia

With Oklahoma and Texas leaving the Big 12, the conference could fall apart and die, what should the Kansas State Wildcats do next?

Kansas State presents a tricky proposition. The Wildcats aren’t the state’s flagship institution. Manhattan isn’t a large media market. But the Wildcats boast a solid, well-rounded athletic department with quality facilities and good leadership, headed by athletic director Gene Taylor. K-State doesn’t have that ‘name-brand program’ like Kansas basketball or Texas football, but in the right situation the Wildcats can be a great fit for the future and become a backbone for that new conference.

Like Kansas, the Wildcats spent their early days in the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which eventually split, with K-State moving into what would become the Big 8, and then the Big 12. If the Big 12 is no longer an option — it could fall apart and die — what should the Wildcats do next?


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First, let’s eliminate the ACC. I think that conference would be more likely to add West Virginia (as we wrote earlier this week) or even Kansas. Heck, I think the ACC would be interested in pursuing a Texas school like TCU or even Houston before entertaining Kansas State.

Can They Convince the Big Ten?

Next, there’s the Big Ten. Geographically, the Wildcats would be a solid fit. The Jayhawks, reportedly, are already talking with the Big Ten. In a 16-team alignment, there are two spots in the Big Ten. If Kansas were to pursue the Big Ten, would the Jayhawks try to make themselves and K-State a ‘package deal?’ Well, if OU isn’t willing to do that for Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M wasn’t willing to do that for Texas (and now that the Aggies are pitching a fit about UT joining the SEC), I wouldn’t count on it. This is a ‘look out for yourself’ situation.


Pac-12 a Last Resort?

That leaves the Pac-12. Geographically, it’s not great. But, geography doesn’t matter nearly as much these days. In a 16-team scenario, Kansas State would be attractive because it’s a good fit with the Pac-12’s non-west coast schools (including former Big 12 rival Colorado). It’s a program that is built to be competitive immediately. If the Pac-12 does pick up other Big 12 schools, K-State would have familiar mates. I could see a Pac-12 East with K-State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State. And I could see K-State being successful in that alignment.

The Big Ten is probably the ‘better’ home for the Big Ten. But, as the Wildcats aren’t in a bigger media market, and because the school doesn’t have American Associations of Universities membership (and Kansas does), the more LIKELY home is the Pac-12. K-State won’t get as much revenue from the Pac-12 as it would the Big Ten, but in a competitive division and an expanded playoff, who knows? Maybe the Wildcats make more noise on a national stage.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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