A Big 12 without Texas, Oklahoma? Conference's best realignment options

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What happens to the Big 12 if Oklahoma and Texas leave? 

That hypothetical question hit the heartland with reports the Sooners and Longhorns are headed to the Southeastern Conference. That rumor is inching closer toward an uncomfortable reality for the conference. The Austin-American Statesman reports the move could become official next week. 

That move, which is coming much faster than expected, would create a massive domino effect across the college football landscape. Today, Sporting News looks at how that move would impact the Big 12. 

MORE: SEC's Greg Sankey should say 'no' to Texas and Oklahoma

Which Big 12 teams are left?

If Texas and Oklahoma leave, the Big 12 would be down to eight member schools:

  • Baylor 
  • Iowa State
  • Kansas
  • Kansas State
  • Oklahoma State 
  • TCU
  • Texas Tech 
  • West Virginia 

Only four of those schools— Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State — were in the original Big Eight. It would be a strong blow to lose the Sooners and Longhorns. The other eight schools have stadium capacities ranging between 45,000 to 62,000 and Oklahoma State was the last school to win a national title in 1945. 

That leaves the member schools with some intriguing options: 

Big 12 leftovers go to Pac-12

The Big 12 could jump on the super-conference idea and send anywhere from four- to eight schools to the Pac-12. That would be a tough sell for West Virginia given the geography, but new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff could work with the other schools.

A football package with Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor would give the conference a Texas footprint. A package with Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State would not be as enticing from the football standpoint, but the Jayhawks offer that basketball brand.

Big 12 survives with G5 

Didn't we do this a few years ago? The Big 12 could accept the losses and expand with Group of 5 schools such as Cincinnati, Memphis, Houston and UCF or even look at an independent such as BYU. This is more likely the least-appealing option because it would mean the Big 12 would be stuck between the Power 5 and Group of 5, much like the American Athletic Conference it would be raiding. 

At that point, why not give North Dakota State a call?

Big 12 could strike back at SEC

Hey, Texas A&M isn't going to be a fan of Texas and Oklahoma in the SEC. Why not give the Aggies a call? Why you're at it, bring Missouri, Mississippi State and Ole Miss with you. The chances of this happening are minimal, and again, it would not make up for the loss of Oklahoma and Texas.

What about Nebraska?

Nebraska coach Scott Frost said the program was happy with the Big Ten at Media Days this week, but the Huskers have struggled to build their own identity in the new conference. Nebraska left the Big 12 once. Would they be willing to come back to save a conference with so many question marks?

Why won't this work? 

The Big 12 has to convince Texas A&M, Nebraska and maybe Colorado and Missouri to come back. That would be a stretch at best. It might be better to start looking at a merger than a stand-alone league.  

What is each Big 12's school best move in realignment?

Baylor

The Pac-12/Big 12 merger would be the best-case scenario. 

Iowa State

Convince Big Ten they belong in the Big Ten West.

Kansas

The Jayhawks' next move will be a basketball move.

Kansas State

The Wildcats are a tough fit. Hope the Big 12 survives.

Oklahoma State

Save the Big 12, but the Cowboys need help.

TCU

The Horned Frogs offer the Dallas market, but which conference fits?

Texas Tech

The Pac-12/Big 12 merger would be the best-case scenario. 

West Virginia

Time to look at the Big Ten or ACC superconferences. 































 

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