Friday update: Football conference realignment

By Brian Wilmer -

The story we reported here Wednesday around Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the SEC appears to be gaining momentum.  Here’s what we know:

Chip Brown of 247sports and Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman both reported Friday that the move of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC was seemingly immiment (subscription required).

The story reported that the talks had been going on for “six months, at a minimum.”

CBS’ Dennis Dodd also has a story on the move, with sources indicating, among other things:

“I’m not saying it’s 100%, but it’s close to it in terms of being a done deal,” a Big 12 source intimately involved in the process told CBS Sports.

“It could be as soon as 24-48 hours and as long as two weeks before we have any clarity in terms of timing,” said the source in reference to when Texas and Oklahoma would expect to formally join the SEC.

Reports indicate that both schools could owe between $76 million and $80 million to leave the conference at the beginning of the 2022 campaign — or any time before the media rights grant expires in 2025. This would be the schools’ share of the conference’s revenue distribution.

“As you can imagine, this stung,” the source said. “… [Commissioner Bob Bowlsby] feels absolutely betrayed.”

This may not be the last of the pillaging of the Big 12.

More details will be provided as they become available.

Big 12 Football Schedules

Comments (32)

First, the PAC-12 does not want schools with any religious affiliations (TCU with the Disciples of Christ and Baylor with the Baptists). So whichever of the Big 12 remnants would end up joining the PAC 12 – it won’t be TCU or Baylor.

Secondly, you are suggesting that the SEC is to get Texas and Oklahoma while the Big Ten’s countermove is to get Kansas? Unless Notre Dame is coming along with them (and even then that would still be a relative downgrade): why would the B1G, knowingly engage in a purposeful and planned decline compared to their SEC rival (a rival they are currently financially leading)?

Third, why would the governors of Texas and Oklahoma condone the University of Texas and Oklahoma leaving Big 12, weakening or destroying the Big 12 Conference, leaving Texas Tech and Oklahoma State within the smoldering fiscal wreckage?

Clear there is more here to understand.

Big10 cares about TV households more than adding top flight football schools. Maryland and Rutgers bring nothing but media markets and easy conference wins for OSU, UM and PSU.

KU expands the footprint to Kansas City. It also makes Big 10 basketball a lot stronger (yeah, they play other sports too).

KSU might be the logical partner to come along and make it a 16-team league, but the gutsy move would be to take TCU to get the DFW media market, recruiting and another good but not great football school.

Just because TCU and Baylor had called the PAC doesn’t mean the PAC is listening to them. Realistically, I would see PAC going Texas Tech and Iowa State or even Iowa State and Kansas State. However, I think the state of Texas is to good to pass up.

Kansas is the 3rd biggest revenue school in the BIG12 besides OK and Texas. Top 5 National power house in basketball. Plus a massive Kansas City market = huge money for the Big Ten. Kansas is really the only school I’d even think the Big Ten would want, after OK & TX, of course.

After Kansas is see the Big Ten going after a ACC school. Virginia makes the most sense. Good academics, top ter basketball, decent football, and mostly the Washington DC market.

Colfax – Big Ten will only enlist membership from AAU members. Kansas State is not an AAU member.

KU only plays 6 sports on the men’s side—and I am counting CC and T&F as 2. They don’t even soccer. Adding Kansas is a bad move for the B!G. Adding Pittsburgh and Notre Dame/Syracuse makes more sense, to me.

First, the PAC-12 does not want schools with any religious affiliations (TCU with the Disciples of Christ and Baylor with the Baptists). So whichever of the Big 12 remnants would end up joining the PAC 12 – it won’t be TCU or Baylor.

Secondly, you are suggesting that the SEC is to get Texas and Oklahoma while the Big Ten’s countermove is to get Kansas? Unless Notre Dame is coming along with them (and even then that would still be a relative downgrade): why would the B1G, knowingly engage in a purposeful and managed decline compared to the moves of their SEC rival (a rival they are currently financially leading)?

Third, why would the governors of Texas and Oklahoma condone the University of Texas and Oklahoma leaving Big 12, weakening or destroying the Big 12 Conference and leaving Texas Tech and Oklahoma State within the smoldering fiscal wreckage?

Clearly there is more here to learn and understand.

And right on cue…..Leave it to the Big 10 to go after yet another football cream puff team.

If Texas and Oklahoma left the Big 12 and join the sec. The conference divisions is East and West, but the teams will be alinement with Arkansas. Here is the East- Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, and the new comer is Oklahoma. one the other side of the division is the West- Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Texas A@M, Tennessee, Louisiana State, and new comer Texas.
Yearly Games means the teams will play every year. Here they are Florida vs Louisiana, Georgia Vs Auburn, Kentucky vs Mississippi State, Vanderbilt vs Tennessee, Missouri vs Texas A@M, South Carolina vs Alabama, and the RED RIVER REVILY OKLAHOMA VS TEXAS.


South Carolina

Ole Miss
Miss State

I know the East as of now doesn’t want to take on Bama/Auburn, but they’ll move over, so be ready.

There would be a lot to unpack here if this goes down.

Say both OK and Texas go to the SEC (BIG I’m sure is going to make their case). Say it does happen and everyone else is forced to expand and pick up teams.

The next big deal would be ND. Do they finally join a conference? If so, ACC or BIG?

The only BIG12 team I see the BIG wanting is Kansas. Kansas was number 3 in the conference in revenue, pick up a massive Kansas City market, power house basketball program (BIG is already stacked there), and a AAU school. Easy pick for BIG.

After that I don’t to many interesting teams there. BIG already has Iowa so Iowa State doesn’t do much, same with KState if they get Kansas, OK State lacks academics and don’t have much a market with OK there, I don’t see them going all the way down to Texas for tech, WVU lacks academics and market since they are technically in the PIT market.

I can see them going after a ACC team. Virginia makes the most sense. Get the DC market, great basketball program, good enough football, creep into the south for recruits.

That leaves the ACC needed 3 teams. ND and Cincy seem like easy choices. No WVU for the same reasons above. Then who else? Uconn? I don’t see them taking a team in the midwest like Baylor, unless they really want to get into the Texas market.

Then the who would the PAC want? They don’t take religious schools. That leaves Tech, ISU, OSU, Kstate. I guess they take 2 of those 4? Texas Tech and Iowa State might make the most sense.

Big 12 would try to stay alive and grab whatever American/MWC teams they could get.

Memphis, Houston, SMU, Boise, UCF, Colorado State, Air Force?

They’ll be lots of rumors going down.

As for WVU and academics are concerned, I think that ship sailed a long time ago (and I teach at a non-Power Five school). Money is what is driving the train now, particularly in light of the losses every university took last year as a result of the pandemic, not to mention the demographic cliff universities are facing over the next five years when the college-age recruiting pool will be much smaller than it is now. The university presidents and provosts are keenly aware of this fact if my school is an example.

IF Texas and Oklahoma left the big 12 to Join the SEC. The divisions is East and West. Here is the Division East- Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Arkansas, south Carolina, and New comers Oklahoma. other side is the West- Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Texas A@M, Tennessee, Louisiana, and new comer Texas.
Yearly games means they will play every year. Here They are Florida vs Louisiana, Georgia vs Auburn, Kentucky vs Mississippi state, Vanderbilt vs Tennessee, Missouri vs Texas A@M, Arkansas vs Alabama, South Carolina vs Mississippi, and the red river riverly Oklahoma vs TEXAS

No. It’s already established that UA and AU will move to the east. Then no locked crossover games are necessary. UA-TN and AU-UGa are divisional this way.
Auburn never wanted to be in the West, its traditional recruiting was in Florida and Georgia… The only reason AU landed in the West was because UA couldn’t have two locked games with AU and UT both.

The bigger deal would be you almost have to go to a nine game conference schedule with Oklahoma and Texas.

I would imagine they’d drop east and west and go with four team pods. It’s a whole lot easier to schedule that way. Everyone could play every team at home at least once in a four year span.

I saw one proposal that said:

Pod A – Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky
Pod B – Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Pod C – LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M
Pod D – Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas

You play everyone in your pod every year, then two teams from each of the other pods.

So, while you lose classic rivalries like Auburn-Georgia, you could set it up to happen every other year. You could also tweak the teams a bit to make things work a bit better, maybe.

Of course, we don’t know that it ends with just Oklahoma and Texas. So, who knows where this ends up.

John – In principle I agree with your opinion on Kansas. The Jayhawk’s athletic department currently generates the third most money in the Big 12 (with only a ~1.4% subside). While that number would be expected to increase, if they were playing within the Big Ten, their customary yearly Big 12 revenue still falls 14% below that of the average Big Ten school’s revenues. Could that type of percent increase be realistically expected to make B1G membership viable?

PAC-12: Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Baylor
BigTen: Kansas, Iowa State
SEC: Texas, Oklahoma
ACC: West Virginia (along with ND full member)

First, if ND came strolling into PAC-12 headquarters and said “we would like to become members of your conference”, do you honestly believe they would say no? Of course not so spare us the “PAC-12 does not want schools with religious ties”. The real reason the PAC-12 should not accept the TX schools is that they share no geographic boundaries with the PAC-12 programs, there are no legitimate rivalries, and their alumni bases in the west are negligible to say the least. The PAC-12 should then bow to the inevitable and accept that they will never catch up to the SEC in terms of prestige and money. What they should do in my opinion is bring BYU and Boise State into the PAC-12 North Division and do the same with San Diego State and Fresno State in the South Division. Under that scenario, the geographic integrity of the conference is preserved as are regional rivalries (these four schools play the PAC-12 programs regularly in non-conference games), and finally, and not unimportantly, travel costs would remain reasonable (never understood how WVU managed to make traveling to TX, OK, and KS every week affordable in football, not to mention the non-revenue sports).

As for the other conferences, Iowa State and Kansas to the Big Ten for geographical reasons not to mention representative football and basketball programs. The ACC should take WVU and Rutgers (in this case to plug the hole between BC and Syracuse in the north and the VA schools in the south. Finally, the TX schools need to reconcile themselves to competing in a non-Power Five conference, otherwise known as the All America Conference. Just my thoughts.

Should it come to be I believe the super conference would look to splitting into 4 divisions, each team plays each other in their division and two rotating teams from each other division to stay in the 9 conference format. Top four teams okay for championship in conference. Regrading where the pieces fall, I believe only two of the remainder will go to the pac 12 and to the big ten each, and possibly the acc and AAU. Who will be in each remains to be seen.

If you really want to speculate, think about a C-USA – Sun Belt merger. I came up with a 28 team conference split into four divisions (Middle Atlantic, Florida-Alabama, Louisiana-Mississippi, and Texas-Arkansas). Two semi-final games and then a conference championship game. Not like anyone in those two conferences will ever.see a CFP slot anytime soon.

The B-10’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) generated about 9.2 billion through educational research in 2019, as compared to about 780 million via athletics. In my opinion, Educational Research should be the guiding element for university associations expansion. Since athletics are a part of the college experience, excellence in sport should be a considered a significant factor.

At a quick glance, Iowa State & Kansas (both are members of the AAU & are recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning as; research I Universities) are attractive candidates. Kansas has a medical school & fields one of the best basketball programs in the country (As we all know, B-10 universities play more sports than just football) & Iowa State has an excellent Pre-Med & Veterinary schools of study, while working extensively with the USDA in areas of of academic & educational research. On the athletic side, Matty Campbell has done outstanding work with ISU football program! All good!

Finally, the Big Ten Academic Alliance is the nation’s preeminent model for effective collaboration among research universities. If you believe realignment is all about the money, you should know, the big money is on the academic side (9.2 billion in Academic & Educational Research) and B-10 Administrators are clearly aware of that economic reality. That said, they understand the 780 million is not “chump change” and are mindful of making good decisions re: the integration athletic excellence into the Universities primary mission of establishing & then expanding Academic Excellence!

No, everyone got 1 permanent crossover and 1 rotating opponent – 6 division games, 2 crossover games with 8 conference games in total.

Enjoy the egg.
The *one* crossover happened because Alabama must play Tennessee and Auburn must play Georgia. No other crossover matters.

PAC12 and B10 are huge academic conferences as are the ACC schools. I don’t think anyone outside of Iowa St and KU are looking too good in that department.

The PAC12 would need to see a significant bump in value to add two or four more schools. That means a university has to bring lets say 35 million value plus an additional 24 million value to the conference just to make sense. And that would only bump P12 pay up 2 million per school and still would lag behind the B10 and SEC. So what school/s can jump the P12 contract up another $120 million just to compete with the SEC/B10. No one.

The P12 is better off reducing to 10 and trying to garner a bigger contract to have a greater distribution number. Oregon St and Washington St are currently in the no value added category. However it is doubtful any culling occurs and the risk is adding another team or two that do not drive market. Typically the majority of the contract is top weighted and with Oregon, Washington, UCLA, and USC driving most that market you need at least another school on that level to provide strong incentive. Stanford, Cal, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona St all bring added value…but essentially you are still paying for the 10 USC games and the Arizona matchup just adds value to the game you buy. No one left in the B12 adds value close to Stanford, Cal, Colorado, Arizona, and ASU. They are filler games and the PAC12 would do better just playing an OOC game at home with paying the conference split.

Same said for the B10. The only real potential added value in the B12 are WVU, KU, and perhaps TCU with the Fort Worth area. Even then those markets dont leap at you. B10 has KC market with Nebraska and the Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philly, Pittsburgh, DC, New York, New Jersey…Explain how valuable the 4th biggest draw in Dallas builds on that resume. Perhaps being in Texas with a lower tier program would help…guess we will see.

They are going. That’s a given. Why does this spell the end of the BigXII? I say when it happens, cut loose West Virginia, after all why are they in the XII except for the money games of Texas and Oklahoma. So then the XII is only 7 for all you math jeanyues that are SEC fans that’s 5 short of 12

Prove my math:

You instead add schools to be XII

They are, in no particular order…
Boise State
and North Dakota State (if they decline, Air Force).

This gives them clear conference lines. Keeps them active in the Gulf Area.

I can see the dominoes falling a bit differently from most of you. Let’s start with how the Big Ten responds. We know news has leaked that Kansas has approached the Big Ten. I understand people saying the Big Ten should grab an ACC school for #16, but the ACC has a long-term grant-of-rights in place, so taking ACC schools might need to wait until the next round of expansion a few years down the road.

What if, instead, the Big Ten makes a move to bring in the biggest rival of Kansas, an opponent they should have never been separated from, and a school that looks and feels like a Big Ten school. I’m talking about Missouri. The SEC has no grant-of-rights or exit fee, and while Missouri is okay there, they look and feel out of place. Reuniting with Kansas and switching to the Big Ten would be a game changer.

The combination of Kansas and Missouri locks up both the Kansas City and St. Louis markets for the Big Ten, rekindles old rivalries for Nebraska, and adds new natural rivalries for Iowa. Big Ten basketball would remain on par with ACC basketball as the best in the nation year in and year out. I know Kansas and Missouri don’t do much for football, but the Big Ten has other schools to do the lifting in that sport.

• Kansas / Missouri
• Nebraska / Iowa
• Minnesota / Wisconsin
• Northwestern / Illinois

• Purdue / Indiana
• Michigan / Michigan State
• Ohio State / Penn State
• Rutgers / Maryland

Picking up MIssouri from the SEC also opens the door for Oklahoma State to follow Texas and Oklahoma into the SEC as school #16 with no real damage done. Although the SEC would be annoyed about losing Missouri to the Big Ten, it’s not like they really care about Missouri, and both conferences would benefit from the switch anyway, so no actual harm, no actual foul. Easiest way to solve that dilemma.

• Oklahoma / Oklahoma State
• Texas / Texas A&M
• Arkansas / LSU
• Mississippi / Mississippi State

• Alabama / Auburn
• Florida / Georgia
• South Carolina / Tennessee
• Vanderbilt / Kentucky

Now we turn to the Pac-12. Everybody knows about their television network problems, but they need to be careful about expanding too far east, at the risk of becoming too unwieldy. I think taking Texas Tech is a no brainer, and my unconventional recommendation would be to add New Mexico to fill the geographical hole and bring a new state into the footprint. Then tack on Nevada and UNLV to get to 16.

I would not venture too far into Texas, meaning east of Interstate 35, because the Pac-16 would not be able to make a dent in the dominance of the SEC with Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State in the fold. By focusing on Texas Tech and doing everything to make them happy, however, the western side of the state could be, a bit slowly, transformed into Pac-16 territory with the passage of time.

• Washington / Washington State
• Oregon / Oregon State
• Stanford / Cal
• Nevada / UNLV

• Arizona / Arizona State
• Utah / Colorado
• New Mexico / Texas Tech

I don’t think the ACC will make a move unless and until Notre Dame decides to join in football. Should the ACC finally convince the Fighting Irish to give up their long-cherished independence, then they can add #16 from among the group of West Virginia, Cincinnati, Temple, UConn, and any lesser leftovers they might like for some reason or another. In the meantime, the rest of the Big 12 will be forced to rebuild.

Remaining in the Big 12 after these moves are West Virginia, Iowa State, Kansas State, TCU, and Baylor. Cincinnati is a no-brainer addition to help the travel issues of the Mountaineers. Houston is the best remaining school in Texas. SMU adds a fourth Texas member and old rival. Memphis is the next best school and should be #9 with Tulane tagging along as #10 (UCF and USF can be added to reach 12).

• Iowa State / Kansas State
• Baylor / Houston
• West Virginia / Cincinnati
• Memphis / Tulane
• [Possibly add UCF / USF for 12 and create divisions]

The AAC would be left with Temple, East Carolina, and Tulsa as full members, possibly UCF and USF depending on whether the Big 12 wants to return to 10 or expand all the way to 12, plus Navy in football-only along with Wichita State in basketball and everything else. My recommendation would be to focus on building an East Coast league while telling Tulsa and WSU / Navy they can decide to stay or leave.

• UMass / Navy FB + Wichita State BB (or UConn FB + Rhode Island BB)
• Buffalo / Temple
• James Madison / Old Dominion

• East Carolina / Charlotte
• Georgia State / Tulsa (or Coastal Carolina)
• UCF / USF (or FAU / FIU depending on whether Big 12 wants 10 or 12)

CUSA and the SBC would then be left to reorganize themselves along better geographical lines. I know BYU gets mentioned a lot and has a huge fanbase, but also adds a lot of travel miles, cultural baggage, and extra demands that the Big 12 can really do without. In other words, plenty of pluses, but a lot of minuses as well. My belief is that the scenarios I am proposing can work out better over the long haul.

Your B1G flip with Mizzou makes sense, and it solves the Ok State problem. Kansas & Mizzou together again makes mostly irrelevant football at least have a historic marquee Border Showdown game. And it’s all aces on basketball.
And, Arkansas would love to see nearby Ok State (an easy trip over US 412) in place of a hellish road trip to Mizzou.
But I depart with you from there. Vanderbilt is an issue solved by them leaving for the ACC. They have much more in common with Wake Forest, Duke, and Notre Dame. Work a deal with the SEC/ACC challenges, and the only game that mattered ever, Vanderbilt/Tennessee can be at the end of the season with Louisville/Kentucky, Georgia Tech/Georgia, Florida State/Florida, and Clemson/South Carolina.
The SEC would take West Virginia then… meaning the only four schools that really mattered from the XII, UT, OU, Ok State, and WVU… all come in together. WVU adds in a state that’s adjacent to Kentucky, and a great basketball program too. Plus, another SEC/ACC pairing with a season ending Pitt/WVU game. Get those couches ready!!
End result, the SEC is all large state institutions, no privates. The ACC maintains a number of historically athletic private universities: Notre Dame, WFU, Duke, Vandy, Syracuse, Miami, BC. That creates a bit of “parity” there.
The PAC 12 and B1G should just partner up then for interscheduling. And the SEC/ACC already have done that a lot. Two de facto super conferences. If you want the PAC (just rename it Premier Athletic Conference) to go to 16, that’s fine… but who goes is the open question. K State, Iowa State, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech would be sitting out there. Makes more sense for the remaining 5 to merge into the AAC.

As conferences become monstrous the odds of a team becoming champion diminishes rapidly.
Conference playoffs may require an eastern and western champion?? But probably won’t happen.