Texas dragged the Big 12 into the Longhorn Network’s iceberg. The conference is listing heavily. The money teams are stocking their lifeboats with champagne and preparing to descend. Texas A&M is off to the SEC. According to a report on OrangeBloods.com, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be next, confirming their intent to join the Pac 12 by the end of the month. Baylor can’t sue everyone. If that report is true, the conference is sunk. Commence the reshuffling.
This isn’t surprising. Schools want stability. The three conferences guaranteed existence are the SEC, the Big Ten and the Pac 12. Perennial headaches and implosion threats or an Aspirin-free existence and trips to the West Coast? Yes, it’s kind of weird to have Washington and Oklahoma in the same conference. However, Conference USA has UTEP and East Carolina. Those schools have far fewer resources. It’s an adjustment for fans. They had to adjust just 15 years ago to joining the Big 12. Hippies and T.Boone, a match made in television revenue.
That leaves Texas, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State,Iowa State, Texas Tech and Missouri. We’ll make some predictions.
Texas Goes Independent: There are conferences that would accept Texas’ Longhorn Network deal intact. Texas would not want to play football in them. The Longhorns could recreate a version of the Southwest Conference. It’s not clear why they would want to share money, especially the money from a BCS appearance. Finding a place for their other sports teams to play is a hurdle, but not an insurmountable one. Enjoy your new rivals: ND, BYU, Army and Navy.
Pac 14: It will take a lot to add Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Without Texas, there’s no obvious 15 and 16. Texas Tech and ? Do they forego every academic qualm and go after Boise State? Division alignments will be very tricky.
Missouri to the SEC: Missouri would love to join the Big Ten. The Big Ten would only have interest to even the numbers for Notre Dame. The SEC will be looking for a 14th team. The preferred choice might be Virginia Tech, but Missouri would have far less political fallout. If SEC takes VaTech, the ACC has to take someone to get back to 12 and things get insane. Reasonable geography. Kansas City and St. Louis are decent TV markets to add.
Kansas and Kansas State to Big East: Two Big East caliber football programs. Two Big East caliber basketball programs.
Mountain West Becomes AQ: The Big 12 was a counterbalance to the Rose Bowl axis. Politically, someone must step in to fill that void. Also, consider the flack reduction for the BCS if Boise State has a route to get in every year. They take Texas Tech and Baylor, to go to 12. Maybe, they add SMU and Houston to get to 14. Snazzy new name. Big footprint. No school that is really a flight risk. They would be better than the Big East. Maybe a logical destination for Texas’ other sports.
That Leaves Iowa State: Waiting by the phone hoping for that Big Ten phone call that’s never coming? Conference USA? MAC? Oblivion?
[Photo via Getty]