Big 12 conference options with Texas and Oklahoma exiting
With powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma following the money to the SEC, it leaves the Big 12 with just eight non-contenders. The Big 12 is now the smallest conference in the Power 5 and could lose a few more in the future: West Virginia to the ACC and Kansas to the Big Ten? The entire college football landscape has been rocked this summer by a powershift in favor of the SEC.
From a financial viewpoint, the Big 12 handed out $34.5 million to each team in 2020, which was a lower amount from the previous year due to COVID-19. The SEC, on the other hand, is expected to bring in up to $70 million per team in the near future. Texas and Oklahoma were big-ticket programs for the Big 12 and their TV contract value could be cut in half when they leave. So what is the next move for the crumbling Big 12 conference?
Could the Big 12 bring in other teams?
This is doubtful since the Big 12 isn't a big draw right now and there aren't many teams that could be willing to make the jump that makes sense. The only real option would be calling up non-Power 5 teams to the big leagues and the AAC makes the most sense: Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston. All of these teams have large markets that could help bring in revenue, but would it be enough it bolster their TV contract value? The AAC teams would garner more revenue in the Big 12, but it would still leave them as the weakest Power 5 conference.
Could the Big 12 merger with another conference?
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Pac-12 commissioner George Kilavkoff have met to discuss a potential merger for the Pac-12 to absorb the Big 12 teams. A full merger would bring along a large TV contract and would elevate the power of the Pac-12. They currently consist of Washington, Washington State, Standford, Orgeon, Oregon State, USC, UCLA, Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado. This isn't the most exciting group, but the additions of Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia could provide some competition.
Could the Big 12 disban and send their remaining teams elsewhere?
A complete disbanning is as likely as a full merger. The Big 12 could send all of their teams to other conferences and it could elevate the AAC to Power 5 status.
- Baylor - AAC - gives them a clear path to the CFP
- Iowa State - Big 10 - in-state rivalry with Iowa
- Kansas - Big 10 - it has been rumored that Kansas has already been in talks with Big 10
- Kansas State - MWC - increases their revenue and could be the top dog in the MWC
- Oklahoma State - Pac-12 - one of the best Big 12 teams is a hot commodity and it gives them a better path to CFP
- TCU - Pac-12 - it brings Texas to the Pac-12 and improves TV partnerships
- Texas Tech - AAC - with Baylor, the AAC can quietly become a competitive conference
- West Virginia - ACC - makes most sense with rivalry with Pittsburgh and location
The best option for the Big 12 is to disband rather than bog down the Pac-12 with middle-of-the-pack teams. Their teams can bolster other conferences and it can bring fresh faces with the AAC to the table.