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Big 12 Football: How Past Conference Newcomers Have Fared

Big 12 football

When the clock struck midnight on Friday night and June turned to July, four schools also turned into Power 5 Conference members. While schools like SMU and San Diego State are still left looking for a new home, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF have officially made the jump. So here’s a look back at how other former and current Big 12 schools have fared since making the transition.

Former Big 12 Schools

Colorado to the Pac 12 in 2011

Colorado was one of the first schools to jump from the Big 12, and when you factor in both financials and on-field success, it’s been the biggest failure. While Colorado did struggle mightily in the Big 12 from 2006 to 2010, the jump to the Pac 12 was brutal. They went a combined 4-14 in their first two seasons, have appeared in just two bowl games, losing both, and have an overall conference record of 24-61. The lone bright spot was their 2016 season where they started 10-2, reaching the Pac-12 Championship, before losing to Washington 41-10, and finished the year by losing to Texas in the Alamo Bowl 38-8.

 

Nebraska to the Big Ten in 2011

Much like Colorado, Nebraska football has completely fallen off, unlike CU they at least have a lucrative TV deal to smile about. With Bo Pelini at the helm, Nebraska finished in the top three of their division in each of their first four seasons and won it in 2012. Where they somehow gave up 70 points in the Big Ten Championship to Wisconsin, where the Badgers leading passer threw for just 71 yards. That would be the beginning of the end for Nebraska football. Pelini was fired a few years later when they hired Mike Riley. He’s actually been their best coach since, as he has their most recent bowl win coming in 2015 (they went 6-7 that year), before a 9-4 record in 2016. Since 2016 however, Nebraska has not made another Bowl game, and their best finish in the Big Ten West is fifth.

Missouri to the SEC in 2012

Missouri’s transition to the SEC has been a mixed bag, in the Big 12 they were regular contenders, and reached a Bowl game in each of their last seven seasons. However, that streak was broken when they went 5-7 in their inaugural SEC season. The Tigers did bounce back though, reaching the 2013 SEC Championship Game, and could’ve played for a National Title had they not lost to Auburn 59-42. The following year they again made it to Atlanta, and lost to Alabama 42-13 before winning the Citrus Bowl, bringing their combined 2013 and 2014 record to 23-5. Since then though, Missouri has struggled, they’ve missed three Bowl games since, and have yet to even win a single Bowl Game since their 2014 season.

Texas A&M to the SEC in 2012

This is a weird one, considering Texas A&M is the only school to not make their Conference Championship game on this list, their fans are probably the most happy about the move, Aggies. Entering the 2012 season I had absolutely no hope for a Texas A&M team coming off a 7-6 season and losing Ryan Tannehill, then Johnny Manziel happened. They opened their SEC era off with a loss, but a tight one to powerhouse Florida then won five straight before falling to LSU in another tight one. Three weeks later the perception of Texas A&M changed completely as they beat the top-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, and Manziel cemented himself as the Heisman favorite. After Manziel won the Heisman they finished off their 11-2 season with a win over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, a team they had lost eight of their last nine to in Big 12 play.

 

If there was a microcosm of Texas A&M’s time in the SEC it’s the 2013 season. They came in with high hopes, and a week three loss to Alabama, where they nearly mounted an insane comeback didn’t dampen them. Texas A&M would go 8-4 in the regular season, and 0-4 against ranked teams, until they beat Duke in a Bowl game. Aside from the Covid year, A&M has yet to be an actual contender to make it to Atlanta late in the season. On the other hand, 2022 was the first time they missed out on a Bowl since they joined the SEC, and their recruiting has certainly gone up a level. While they haven’t won a Conference title, A&M is probably the only of these four schools to see their brand enhanced.

Current Big 12 Schools

TCU to the Big 12 in 2012

It’s extremely hard to argue with TCU’s success since joining the Big 12 in 2012, but it hasn’t been as smooth as some would think. 2013 was fine, they went 7-6, but 2014 was a disastrous 4-8. Then TCU made a massive jump, taking note of them having a disaster season and then making a leap forward. In 2015 they went 12-1, and if it weren’t for a 61-58 loss to Baylor, with some dicey pass interference calls, or a third-string QB for Ohio State they could’ve won a national title. In 2015 a late loss to Oklahoma doomed their Big 12 hopes, and 2016 was a mess. But in 2017 TCU made it to the first Big 12 Championship game since 2010, where they fell to Oklahoma. TCU of course spent four years in the wilderness, going a combined 23-24, before firing Gary Patterson. Then, of course, last year they went 13-2 becoming the first Big 12 team to win a Playoff game, and elevating them mightily from the Mountain West program they were just 15 years ago.

 

West Virginia to the Big 12 in 2012

While TCU has been an undeniable success despite some struggles, it hasn’t been the same for West Virginia. Under Dana Holgorsen, they made a Bowl in six of their first seven Big 12 seasons, with 2016 being their best. A 10-3 season that saw them playing a primetime game against Oklahoma in November with the Big 12 title on the line, it wasn’t to be for the Mountaineers though as they fell 56-28. Since that night it’s been a regression. Holgorsen and WVU parted ways, and since then, the Neal Brown era hasn’t taken off. Overall, Brown is a combined 22-25 in four seasons with West Virginia and faces both Pitt and Penn State in the non-conference this season. West Virginia hasn’t been a bad program at all since coming into the Big 12, but when the school that came in with you is TCU, it’s going to look disappointing.

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