It seems not all that long ago we were in a state of panic over the future of the Big 12 Conference. Texas and OU were going to the SEC, and conferences were going to start picking teams off left and right. Some schools would definitely find homes, while others would be left out in the cold to adapt or die in a G5 conference.
What a difference 11+ months make...right?
If you have been off of social media, not around a TV, or generally under a rock for the past 10 or so days, you might have missed the news that USC and UCLA are leaving the PAC 12 for the Big 10 in the coming years, most likely for the 2024 Academic Year. Now, while the PAC 12 has been eager to negotiate new media rights for the future after 2024, not many schools have expressed interest in doing so, thus, almost guaranteeing the dissolving of “The Conference of Champions”.
USC and UCLA have been accepted as members of the Big Ten beginning in 2024 sources tell CBS Sports. @PeteThamel first to report.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) June 30, 2022
The Big 12 has been in talks since then with six schools. Those schools are Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. If the conference was successful in luring these six to the Big 12 for 2024, The Big 12 will have expanded to 18 teams, including the arrival of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.
Hypothetically, you could have all sorts of scenarios when it comes to how to divide the conference. There is always the north/south idea, or the east/west divider. You could also make an argument for a geographical “pod” system, helping the Texas schools stay together and continue playing every football season.
No matter what your preference is when it comes to layout, the sentiment is the same: This conference could look VERY different in just two or three years time.
We could be talking about Texas Tech and Oregon playing, Utah and BYU re-hashing “The Holy War” rivalry, all while UCF and TCU are playing in Orlando. While the latter of those scenarios is a given, the idea of teams stretching from Orlando, Florida, all the way to Seattle, Washington, all but guarantees an intriguing schedule of games for fans across the country.
However, the other argument would be the angry yells of people who say, “Why would I be excited about Arizona playing West Virginia at 1 am my time?” While there is some merit to that argument as well, I think new matchups are good for the game, as long as you can keep some familiarity.
Utah and BYU would need to play every year, as would the Texas schools and Oklahoma State. Arizona and Arizona State, along with Oregon and Washington as well. This type of schedule shouldn’t be hard to come up with, and this way it satisfies both sides of the spectrum, the nay-sayers, and the all-in groups.
While I am typing this, we don’t know what will happen with realignment, but, we do know this: There are many intriguing story lines happening right now, with the current lineup of teams.
Can OU continue its run without Lincoln Riley? How does Texas Tech shape up after year one in the McGuire era? Can Adrian Martinez bring K-State back to glory in the conference? Will Texas ever be “back”? These are four storylines and we haven’t even mentioned the two teams that were in the championship game last year in Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Big 12 Media Days are July 13-14 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, with new commissioner Brett Yormark in attendance, along with representatives from all 10 current schools.
Realignment will be the headline, but I’m also looking forward to the other storylines for this season as well.
Until something concrete happens, all we can do is speculate.