The Big 12 meetings are taking place this week in Dallas. And it’s certainly a unique time in the conference as Texas and Oklahoma are leaving for the SEC, while BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and UCF are coming in.
And one of the biggest questions surrounding the Big 12, whenever it does settle in with its new 12 teams: What will the league look like? Two six-team divisions? No divisions? Could pods be an option?
“We’re still considering whether divisions are the right thing for us, or whether one group together is the right thing,” said Bowlsby. Bowlsby also pointed out that that decision could differ by sport.
After Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M and Nebraska left the league over 10 years ago, the Big 12 became a 10-team conference and removed divisions in 2011. A few years later, changes in NCAA legislation allowed the Big 12 to bring back its football championship game.
The Big 12 then wisely branded itself as the only league that was truly putting No. 1 vs. No. 2 in its conference championship game. No other Power 5 conference still does that, but others have started having the conversation about removing divisions.
It was reported in recent weeks that the Big 12 was very open to remaining division-less when it increases to 12 teams.
Of course, a complicating factor is what happens in 2023 and 2024 when the four new teams come in and Oklahoma and Texas remain before leaving for the SEC in 2025.
Another option that we have proposed is going with protected rivalries over pods or divisions.
Regardless, the Big 12 Conference has time to make this decision, and it doesn’t seem like a decision is being made in the near future.