How the Big 12 Should Set Up Two Seven-Team Divisions
As we close the book on the 2021 college football season, there are still plenty of hot topics to keep us busy throughout the offseason. With changes coming to the Big 12 Conference, the league is already planning for the future by talking about having two seven-team divisions that include Texas and Oklahoma.
According to a report from CBS Sport’s Dennis Dodd, the Big 12 athletic directors met last month in Las Vegas to begin deciding how the league will look for three seasons (2023-25) before Texas and Oklahoma bolt to the SEC in 2025.
Since they were in Las Vegas, it is possible that they let Vegas get the best of them because thinking Texas and Oklahoma will stick around until 2025 is wishful thinking. I mean I don’t blame them because Vegas has certainly gotten the best of me a time or two.
Whether or not they stick around that long apparently doesn’t matter, because they are talking about making changes regardless, and unless something drastic happens, Texas and Oklahoma should be in the Big 12 for a few more years.
Creating two seven-team divisions seems interesting due to the fact that the conference hasn’t had two divisions since 2010 and since then, the Big 12 has played a full round-robin schedule. But I thought it would be fun to talk about what the divisions could potentially look like. Keep in mind that the Big 12 is going to be the same next season, since BYU, Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati won’t be joining the party until the 2023 season.
Obviously, the main thing here will be keeping Texas and Oklahoma in the same division. Why? Because it would be a shame to see the two schools leaving potentially meeting up to play for a Big 12 title. So, with Texas and Oklahoma in the same division, who else should be with them?
I would break the conference into the North and South divisions.
Here’s how they should look:
South: Oklahoma, TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas, Houston, and UCF
North: BYU, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Cincinnati, and West Virginia
Some may have an issue with that, but I feel like that would be fair to all 14 teams. The big issue would be what to do with Oklahoma State because if they are placed in the South division, that means a school, such as UCF, would be outcast playing in the North division. However, there will be rotating schedules for cross-division play, and they could install something like the SEC has with cross-division rivalries. That means Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would play each year despite being in two separate divisions.
Another way to break things up would be doing the classic east/west thing. I am opposed to that though, because that would put Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, BYU, TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Texas in the same division. To me, that would make the conference very unbalanced like the Big Ten. My goal would be to make these divisions as even as possible but at the same time make sense geographically.
No matter how you slice it, the Big 12 looks to be in good shape. If Texas and Oklahoma stick around for a few more years, I love the idea of making them play with the four new schools coming in. Did they sign up for that? No, but who cares if they are on their way out? The Big 12 should squeeze every dollar they can from those two schools before they head off to the SEC. Whether they leave or stick around for a bit longer, I am looking forward to the new-look Big 12. It’s going to be a lot of fun to cover and a blast to watch.