The only way to save the Big 12

By Amy Daughters -

With Texas and Oklahoma presumably off to the golden streets of the SEC – where stacks of cash rain from the sky but wins are difficult to find – the remaining eight members of the Big 12 are in a precarious position.

Will each be auctioned off to the highest bidder from the remaining Power 5 leagues and/or the AAC and MWC – or instead will they hunker down, huddle together, and weather the storm – retaining their union by adding new members?

Or will one of the programs go all “BYU” and bravely declare its independence?

While the first option seems the most likely – each of the eight marketing its wares to potential suitors – what if they instead attempt to keep the sinking ship afloat and remain a Power-grade entity?

Though programs such as Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, BYU, Boise State and SMU might be worthy partners and solid future members of a new-look Big 12, that approach – selecting the very best members from the Group of 5 teams – would only extend, perhaps ever-so-briefly, the life of what is a dying league.

This truth has nothing to do with the viability of each of the programs listed. Each (and others not mentioned here) could compete in a Power 5 conference, and each would bring their own unique set of assets to the table. It would also be intriguing to see how each performed up top (a la Utah).

The issue isn’t how “good” they are or how “worthy” they might be: the issue is anchoring the Big 12 in a way that makes it seem like it’s untouchable. So that the thought of dissolving it would seem as ridiculous as disbanding the Big Ten.

The only way to do that is to add two bluebloods back in.

Think about it this way – the Big 12 is a mall that opened in 1995 with all the most fashionable, desirable stores. Everyone lined up to go, every parking space was filled, and you couldn’t even walk through the throng of eager shoppers in the food court to get a corndog. It was like a glistening city on a hill.

Then, suddenly, Von Maur (aka Nebraska) and Lord & Taylor (aka Colorado) pulled out after the 2010 season and moved their locations respectively to the Big Ten’s mall north of town and the Pac-12’s shopping center due west. While the Big 12 (now Big 10, though the mall never rebranded) certainly missed the Cornhuskers’ and Buffaloes’ ability to attract customers (aka fans/ TV viewers) the slightly downsized league (now division-less) went on.

A mere two years later, in 2012, things got worse when two of the Big 12 mall’s bigger – though not biggest tenants – pulled up stakes and relocated to the glitzy SEC mall southeast of the city center: Dillard’s (aka Texas A&M) and Belk (aka Missouri).

While the high rents and stiffer competition made it more difficult for the Aggies and Tigers to make money, there was a lot more of it to go around.

This two-store exodus finally compelled the Big 12’s mall management to add a pair of retail partners, that as opposed to just boarding up the entrance and acting like it never happened (a la Nebraska’s exit). Belk (TCU) and JC Penney (West Virginia) set up shop in 2012 filling the empty spaces left behind by A&M and Mizzou.

Was it an apples-to-apples exchange? Not exactly, but no one seemed to care because the Big 12 mall was still the only local center to have Macy’s (Oklahoma) and Nordstrom’s (Texas).

What the Big 12 mall didn’t do from 2012 to 2020 was to continue to look for new full and junior anchors to facilitate its growth in both customer base and revenue. So, when the SEC mall (the most lucrative center in the nation) built two new gleaming anchor spots, Macy’s (Oklahoma, a well-appointed, successful store that welcomed all) and Nordstrom’s (Texas, a bougie store that sells the same merchandise for higher prices but still struggles with its bottom line) were all in.

Because…seriously…why would the Sooners and Longhorns – Macy’s and Nordstrom’s for the love of all that is right in the world – want to be part of a mall that was potentially dying while others were thriving?

In as much as this analogy explains what’s happened with the Big 12, it also points to what the remaining eight stores need to do to avoid either moving to another location or watching their mall die a slow, painful, death.

Think about it – UCF, Cincinnati, Boise State, Houston, SMU, and BYU are all quality stores that people happily frequent, but they’re more regionally orientated and simply don’t draw the number of customers as would a corporate national chain.

And we’re no longer living in a “mom-and-pop” retail culture. It’s a high stakes financial game that isn’t hyper-focused on tradition or customer service.

Yes friend, lots of folks are going out of business and it’s all about the Benjamins.

It amounts to only one way for the Big 12 mall if it wants to avoid weeds growing in its cracked parking lot and a 24-hour Fitness moving into its former Macy’s – add major anchor stores. Pluck them – as other shopping centers have done successfully – from the other big malls.

Though stealing Arizona and Arizona State from the Pac-12 mall is a good mid-level move, the Big 12 must couple that type of grab with a bigger steal. It must consider going after lead-stores rather than partner stores. It’s a coup that must be as historic as Texas and Oklahoma leaving in the first place.

The Big 12 must shock the world by stealing the likes of a USC and UCLA or a Clemson and Florida State.

And if you think that sounds ridiculous (because it kind of does) you get the point – the Big 12 pulling itself out of a tailspin, long-term, post Texas and Oklahoma – would be a miracle.

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Comments (37)

Invite Houston and SMU back (the old SWC), makes good sense regarding geography, and those two schools will recruit more four star kids.

I would assume no one is leaving another P5 conference (including BYU, ND) to join the Big 12.

If I was the Big12 I’d invite Cincy, Houston, Memphis, Boise ASAP.

If any of those decline you can invite SMU, UCF (distance might be the only reason not to invite off the bat), Colorado State.

They should be proactive instead of waiting for the dust to settle.

It’ll probably just be a temporary fix but better than doing nothing.

The American and the remains of the XII will merge. However, the PAC might swipe TCU, Tech, and Ok State… And take BYU to give it four private colleges total… PAC-16. (Utah & BYU go to the North Division).
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I expect the B1G to do nothing. Iowa State, maybe. Kansas? Unlikely… Trade with the SEC to get Mizzou?
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Sorry Baylor. Sorry WVU.

I can see BIG going for Kansas. Then make a push for ND/ACC team.

If they don’t get any of those maybe they’ll settle for Iowa State. Iowa State just doesn’t move the needle for athletics and they already have the small Iowa market.

There is no way to “Save The Big 12” in the sense implied by the title of this article. What is happening to the Big 12 right now is what happened to the Big East from 2003 to 2005 and again from 2010 to 2013. The BCS 6 became the Power 5, and will soon become the Dominant 4, who will each move to 16 schools (ACC may wait to pull trigger). The Big 12 can only backfill and await their eventual demotion.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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BIG TEN WEST
• Kansas / Missouri
• Nebraska / Iowa
• Minnesota / Wisconsin
• Northwestern / Illinois

BIG TEN EAST
• Purdue / Indiana
• Michigan / Michigan State
• Ohio State / Penn State
• Rutgers / Maryland
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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.
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SEC WEST
• Oklahoma / Oklahoma State
• Texas / Texas A&M
• Arkansas / LSU
• Mississippi / Mississippi State

SEC EAST
• Alabama / Auburn
• Florida / Georgia
• South Carolina / Tennessee
• Vanderbilt / Kentucky
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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.
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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.
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PAC-16 NORTH
• Washington / Washington State
• Oregon / Oregon State
• Stanford / Cal
• Nevada / UNLV

PAC-16 SOUTH
• USC / UCLA
• Arizona / Arizona State
• Utah / Colorado
• New Mexico / Texas Tech
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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.
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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).
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BIG 12 AFTER TAKING REPLACEMENTS FROM AAC
• Iowa State / Kansas State
• TCU / SMU
• Baylor / Houston
• West Virginia / Cincinnati
• Memphis / Tulane
• [Possibly add UCF / USF for 12 and create divisions]
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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.
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AAC NORTH AFTER SWITCHING FOCUS TO EAST
• UMass / Navy FB + Wichita State BB (or UConn FB + Rhode Island BB)
• Buffalo / Temple
• James Madison / Old Dominion

AAC SOUTH AFTER SWITCHING FOCUS TO EAST
• East Carolina / Charlotte
• Georgia State / Tulsa (or Coastal Carolina)
• UCF / USF (or FAU / FIU depending on whether Big 12 wants 10 or 12)
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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 thoughts on Kansas and Missouri to the B1G are interesting. The SEC should fill the Missouri vacancy with (either) N. C. State (or Virginia Tech). (While there are currently no actual SEC members in the state of North Carolina, the SEC Network headquarters are actually in North Carolina.) The ACC could then add West Virginia. The 6 remnants from the Big 12 along with Arizona and Arizona State become the Cowboy division to a Surfer division (UCLA, USC, Cal. Stanford, WSU, U-Dub, Oregon and Oregon State) of the PAC-16.

et voilà

This actually makes more sense than anything I’ve read. Not sure if Mizzou has the self-esteem to do it, but it would absolutely make sense for them. And keep them distanced from the albatross that is Texas.

PAC12 knows it can’t sit on its heels. It needs to expand meaningfully into the Central Time Zone to be relevant on TV sets, with voters, in recruiting. New commissioner comes from digital strategy and distribution working for national brands like MGM, NBCUniversal, MLB. He knows he has to take the PAC12 eastward.

If they grab 2 schools, I think they’ll lean into Texas Tech (huge enrollment, tons of alumni in DFW) and OKST (assuming things don’t play out as you describe above).

If they want 4, they might pick 2 of Baylor, Houston and TCU to round out the Mountain & Prairie Division. There are plusses and minuses to all 3: Baylor and TCU’s religious affiliations may turn off the more progressive west coast school presidents (though TCU has been gradually secularizing); all 3 are private with modest enrollments compared to the average PAC12 school. On the other hand, TCU and Houston are in mega TV markets and in the thick of fertile recruiting territory. All 3 have been successful in football, 2 of the 3 in basketball (and TCU is on the rise), plus the occasional olympic sport (which the PAC12 loves). All 3 have nationally ranked undergrad and graduate programs.

Have to say, New Mexico, Nevada and UNLV are not getting a moment’s consideration from the PAC12. Their athletic budgets are minuscule and they don’t bring anything the league doesn’t already have. If anything I could see Boise State – strong football, evolving basketball, growing population – and BYU, who have alumni EVERYWHERE – being invited, but only if the BIG Ten gets to the Texas schools first, and even then only if Kviatkoff can get the existing Presidents to recognize the disastrous nature of maintaining the status quo.

All in all, I don’t think we’re heading for 4 16-team leagues. I’m sure West Virginia (ACC), Oklahoma State (PAC/BIG/SEC) and Texas Tech (PAC) will be picked up, somewhat confident Baylor and Kansas will find a home, and very iffy about TCU. I just don’t see how Iowa State or K State find a home in a new Power 4 structure.

Hi Spencer. The issue with NC State, Virginia Tech, or any school in the ACC, is that their Grant of Rights doesn’t expire until 2036, and there is too much money at stake for schools to risk losing a court case over trying to break the agreement. Texas and Oklahoma are even saying right now that they will stay in the Big 12 until their Grant of Rights expires in 2025. I do agree that the SEC should eventually go after some ACC schools as part of a future expansion to 20 or 24, but not until a decade from now, when the ACC Grant of Rights is closer to expiring.
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As for the ACC, I doubt that they will add a 16th team unless and until Notre Dame joins in football, but maybe West Virginia can propose joining the ACC as #16 in basketball and minor sports, while technically going independent in football. The ACC could, however, give West Virginia bowl access and a certain amount of games every year, maybe even as many as seven, as well as a signed agreement that they will be the 16th football team if and when Notre Dame joins as #15. It might sound desperate, but honestly, West Virginia will soon be desperate.
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Hi Josh. I don’t have any inside information, but I’m sure Missouri doesn’t really want to be in another conference with Texas any more than A&M wants that impending reunion, as both of those schools and Arkansas know very well how destructive Texas can be to conferences. They played a major role in ending the SWC, almost caused the Big 12 to blow up a decade ago, and are now finishing that job in cahoots with Oklahoma. Missouri originally wanted to join the Big Ten when Nebraska entered and going in alongside Kansas would be perfect for them.
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Hi Colin. The issue with Army, Navy, and Air Force is that they might be able to compete in football in a weakened Big 12, but they won’t be able to keep up in basketball or many of the minor sports over the long haul, and the travel would be a nightmare. Unlike the football factories, the service academies exist first and foremost to educate future military leaders, not train NFL prospects. There is a reason Navy only plays football in the AAC, but keeps their other sports in the Patriot League along with Army, and there is no such local option for Air Force.

bro there is no way in hell that “New Mexico, Nevada, or UNLV. In anyway a better fit for Pac12/Pac16” -Before Fresno State on any level not to mention 2 others way better then all 3 also!!! “Boise State, and San Diego State. Along side Fresno State, Now Pac16 has the West Coast Power… Yadadamean!!!

Expansion from the Pac-12 to the Pac-16 will be about adding new markets, new states, and many more television viewers for the Pac-12 Network. The Pac-12 already has four California schools. Expanding with Fresno State and San Diego State would not add anything new to the league, other than pulling in the die-hard fans of those two schools, many of whom are already casual Pac-12 fans anyway. Then there is the academic side of things. Cal and UCLA do not want to share a conference with any Cal State schools, and you can rest assured that Stanford and USC, as well as most of the rest of the Pac-12, right or wrong, will back them up on that sentiment.

As it is, UNLV would be a hard sell for the Pac-12, but they could find themselves needing direct access to the Las Vegas market, rather than just “claiming” the market, to prop up the Pac-12 Network. Boise State is considered a “truck driving school” by academic snobs throughout the Pac-12. You think UNLV would be a hard sell? Boise State would be an impossibe sell. This is about more than just football, and I don’t know why people constantly fail to see that these are still universities, and not professional football teams. As for New Mexico, they would fill a geographical hole, and serve as the flagship university of a state the Pac-12 really does not control yet.

First of all, I will say I am am Alabama Crimson Tide fan and a college football fan.

If Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 for the SEC, I would like to see Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M leave the SEC for the Big 12. All of the recent moves of a team from one conference to another has not bee for the good of college football. These moves are solely driven by GREED!

I hope the leftover 8 don’t grieve too long to realize they’re now in direct competition with the AAC for that #5 spot. Nobody is coming to save them, and imagine if the AAC were able to hold its membership and land BYU and Boise St.

The American and Boise State broke off talks a long time ago, so I’m not sure why that transaction keeps being thrown around at this point. If the American adds anyone, don’t expect it to be anyone that far west (including BYU). The American footprint is already somewhat unwieldy as it is.

This is going to be fascinating to see how it all plays out but if I was running the BIG 10 I’d reach out to the PAC 12 and come up with a super conference. Four Divisions: Pacific, Mountain, Central and Northern. For football, play inside your division each year and then mix up games with the other ones. Have a four team playoff with division champs and a championship each year in the Rose Bowl.

As far as the Pac 12 grabbing Big 12 teams they would take Texas Tech and Houston as they are major markets and would increase viewership on their network. I don’t think the Pac 12 would bring in religious schools like TCU or Baylor (?) or even BYU.

Bi12 should add Boise St BYU Houston Memphis Cincinnati UCF USF & Temple or Colorado st or UNLV or San Diego St
The reason why I would say no to SMU b/c Big 12 has DFW area with TCU

Dollar General (kansas) and Younkers (Iowa State) need to go to the Missouri Valley. Casey’s General Store (kstate) to the Mountain West. Big Lots (Okie State) should go wherever Tulsa is. Seriously, they are all doomed

Like somebody else posted above, adding Fresno State and San Diego State would not give the Pac-12 anything new, because the conference already has four schools in California. It needs new states to increase the distribution of the TV network. I can see how adding Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico, and Texas Tech could help with that effort. The only switch I might advocate is replacing Nevada with UTEP so that Texas Tech has another school in their state, located in the biggest city in Western Texas, and which has previously won a national title in basketball.

POD 1: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State

POD 2: Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA

POD 3: Arizona, Arizona State, UNLV, Utah

POD 4: Colorado, New Mexico, Texas Tech, UTEP

Boise State has a nice football program, but isn’t really the type of university that the Pac-12 associates with as an overall member of the conference, and stretches the geography in a different direction from where the TV sets are located. I’m not even going to get into the litany of issues that BYU would bring and will simply say it is also not a school the Pac-12 would want in the conference. Some people might think New Mexico and UTEP shouldn’t get in ahead of TCU and Baylor, but again, they would bring similar issues as BYU, although not nearly as extreme.

The only replacement that would work would be an all sports replacement and find a way to assume that West Virginia leaves the Big 12. The travel cost to West Virginia are expensive.

Try to get Tulsa from Oklahoma and North Texas and Texas State to replace West Virginia.

#1 – Oklahoma State does not want to share a conference with Tulsa and none of the other Big 12 schools would want Tulsa badly enough to tick off the Cowboys. That means the only way Tulsa gets in is if Oklahoma State figures out a way to follow Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC, somehow, or else finds a way to join a Pac-14/16 alongside Texas Tech and/or who knows who else.

#2 – Leaving the West Virginia issue aside – and they aren’t leaving unless they can pull off a miracle and get into the ACC, B1G, or SEC – are you seriously advocating for North Texas and Texas State ahead of SMU and Houston? The Cougars are coming off a run to the NCAA Basketball Final Four and have been one of the better G5 football programs over the last 15 years or so!

Texas State and North Texas are virgin teams to the Big 12. Houston and SMU reminds me too much to the SWC. SMU have always the death penalty in their history.

Texas State would be a good replacement for Texas, Tulsa vs. Oklahoma State would be a very hot rivalry. North Texas would regionally fit into the Big 12.

Fictional divisions would be:
Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Tulsa

Baylor, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, Texas State, North Texas

West Virginia could be lucky, if they became a football independent. For their rivalry could be a possible move to the Conference USA (Marshall, Western Kentucky, East Carolina). West Virginia has moved their soccer team to the C-USA.

LOL @ the notion of Texas Tech sharing a conference with something called “North Texas” (a.k.a. “Directional Texas”) while bypassing schools that have proven they can compete on the big stage in the past like Houston and SMU.

Meanwhile there is no way Oklahoma State willl lower themselves to being in the same conference as “Tulsa” after having Oklahoma as their rival for all of their history. Texas State has potential but UTSA sits in nearby San Antonio.

Interesting.

As a teenager I loved malls. Now I passionately loathe them, unless they are half-empty. On the other hand, I now love mom & pop stores. I guess I’m just a curmudgeonly contrarian, but I hope the Big XII adds similar teams and plays football rather than adding teams with their noses in the clouds, but that aren’t half as good as the sports writers think.

Agree. There are several ambitious schools, UCF and Cincinnati to name 2, that crave to move up
that could fill the gaps. Of course, the only reason to keep Kansas in the B-12 is basketball. Maybe
football would be best suited to Conference USA or the Missouri Valley? But, keep a 5th power 5 group. Be patient. Five years from now a rebuilt Big-12 (a new name please) could be a tough bunch to play against.

It would be best for everyone to take a deep breath and sit tight. I’m an SEC guy and I do not like the move but no one asked me. But, money and prestige did the talking. In reality, the move may prove to be a mistake. Keep in mind that Arkansas hated being in a league dominated by Texas and A & M shares that view. Football fans like stability and they could influence the arrangement in the future. Keeping old rivalries together is always a good thing. I do recall a few years before the SWC died that Texas, Arkansas and Houston were 1-2-3 in the country.

Clearly, a mass shift in programs may not be the ideal situation. The AD’s and school presidents need to protect not just their programs but each other.

And the end of the day we will see a lot of realignments. At the end of the day there will be perfect ten team conferences.

I see the future of the Big 12 raiding the AAC and Mountain West way for than I see the AAC raiding the Big 12. If that happens I still see a bright future for one or two of the football programs in the playoff.

The Big 12 would look to the Teams from the Southwest which could fit in. Teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas.

I think the only way the Big 12 stays together is if the state of TX pays them to stay together and then adds lots more Texas teams from the list of a surprisingly large number of remaining candidates:

Houston
UT San Antonio
Texas State
Rice
UTEP
North Texas

Logically the Big 12 probably loses KS and IS to Big 10, Texas Tech to PAC12, WV to ACC (seat filler there just like they were a seat filler in Big 12) and that leaves TCU, Baylor, OK St, K State (who maybe goes to MWC)

This new college football with its paid athletes and endorsements is all about the money right? Well, convince the state of Texas to pay them the money just like NFL teams do with publicly financed stadiums.

Rebrand the conference as being all about the glory of Texas football. “Lone Star Conference”

Good chance that with a stable stream of public funding you could convince some hangers around to come in too like

Tulsa
Memphis
Tulane
La Tech
ULM/ULL
AR St
New Mexico St pushing their little puppy nose at the window hoping.

I think any conversation about Big 12 sticking together has to start and end with how devastating it is to the revenue of the conference without TX and OK (who account for about half the revenue). If we look at the current “Big 8” revenue numbers we must further understand that, as teams that used to get to play TX/OK every year that those numbers are now destined to drop even further. The Big 8 is a conference ejected from the P5 and has a history of hemorrhaging teams. They no longer have a character like one would find in the other conferences. What does the BIg 8 have going for them that promises stability?

Part of the TX takeover of the conference could also be backed up with whatever settlement they squeeze out of TX/OK to let them out of the conference after this year without any legal hassle from Texas politicians.

Iowa State and Missouri to Big Ten
Oklahoma State to SEC
Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Houston, Memphis, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane to Big 12
Cincinnati and (if they can right their football ship) UConn to ACC

I also think CBS will play a huge role in keeping the Big 12 as a Power Five conference despite the major changes I am predicting to their membership.

They are losing the SEC in 2024, and it is possible many affiliates in the SEC footprint will switch to ABC to keep SEC football games on those stations. This is not unlike the exodus of CBS affiliates in NFC markets to Fox when that network picked up that package in 1994.

CBS would ideally team up with NBC, who only has Notre Dame, to give the Big 12 the most generous TV contract of all the P5 conferences, especially if the Big Ten decides against those networks.

CBS would use Paramount Movie Network as their cable partner, and NBC would use USA.

So yeah, CBS is desperate to remain relevant in the CFB broadcasting world.

Big 12 can let West Virginia go to the ACC and add:

AAC:
Houston – Houston market
SMU – Dallas market
Cincinnati – Cincinnati market
Memphis – Memphis market
Central Florida – Orlando market

Mountain West
Colorado State – Denver market
Boise State – Boise market
UNLV – Las Vegas market
Nevada – Reno market

These markets sound better than a Pac12 Pullman, WA