Oklahoma football: What Sooners’ move to SEC means for Big 12

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 07: (L-R) Todd Hudson #23 of the Oklahoma Sooners and teammate Nick Basquine #83 celebrate the teams 30-23 win over the Baylor Bears following the Big 12 Football Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 7, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 07: (L-R) Todd Hudson #23 of the Oklahoma Sooners and teammate Nick Basquine #83 celebrate the teams 30-23 win over the Baylor Bears following the Big 12 Football Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 7, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

Last week, an absolute bombshell was dropped on the college football world by the Houston Chronicle. While most of the nation was frozen in shock, diehard fans of Oklahoma football could see this coming.

The Chronicle article stated that both Oklahoma and Texas have been in discussions with the SEC (Southeastern Conference) for a while about  joining of the league. The part that was most shocking was that these talks had been going on for at the very least, the last six months.

Now, a week after that news was dropped, Oklahoma and Texas have taken almost all necessary steps for them to be exiting the Big 12 and heading to the SEC. Both schools informed the Big 12 on Monday that they were planning on NOT renewing the grant of rights agreement (which is mostly about media revenue) after the current contract ends in June of 2025.

So, what does this mean for the Big 12? Here is what I think could happen.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

The Big 12 is left with probably only two options. Neither are appealing, but one prevents the Big 12 from dissolving completely.

The first option, which I assume is the one with the greatest favorability, is to add new teams to the conference. There have been some teams mentioned, and I would not be surprised if the Big 12 looked at adding an SMU, UCF, BYU, or Houston. This would keep the Big 12 from capsizing and being forced to dissolve.

The second option: The eight remaining teams disband and find homes in other Power Five or Group of Five conferences. This is the scenario  I feel is most likely to happen. So, where do the other teams end up?

This is all speculation, but these are plausible scenarios. Iowa State and Kansas head for the Big Ten. Iowa state already has an in-state, Big 10 rival in Iowa. The Midwest geographic locations also make the most sense for Kansas and Iowa State to head to the Big 10. The Big Ten wouldn’t be as welcoming to the Kansas football program, but the blue blood Kansas basketball history would be the prime selling point for the Jayhawks.

Baylor and Texas Tech seek membership in the AAC (American Athletic Conference). This move makes a lot of sense, seeing how Houston and SMU are already in the AAC. So they would already have in-state rivals ready for matchups.

Kansas State, could head to the MWC (Mountain West Conference). While this would be considered  a step down compared to the Big 12, it co extremely beneficial for K-State. Lesser competition could vault Kansas State to the head of the conference, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Wildcats winning the conference in football.

West Virginia, which has only been part of the Big 12 since 2012 and is the one member school that sits well outside of the main Big 12 geographic footprint, could be the lone team moving to the ACC. It just makes way too much sense geographically. West Virginia is smack dab in the middle of ACC country, and this move gives them a chance to renew a rivalry with former Backyard Brawl foe Pittsburgh.

Finally, there is Oklahoma State and TCU. I’m thinking Pac-12 is a probable landing spot for both. While the Big 10 would be an option, the Pac-12 just makes more sense. Oklahoma State would benefit from this in a big way. The Cowboys already play second fiddle to Oklahoma in recruiting. This would help separate the two, particularly if the Bedlam series with OU no longer is an annual event. The separation from the Sooners should help OSU in recruiting the state and the Pokes might also have an easier path through the conference.

TCU has been a good enough program in the Big 12 such that they should not have to settle for a Group of Five conference. Although, it should be noted that they were members of the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA and the Western Athletic Conference previously.

TCU has won at least 10 football games in three separate seasons since joining the Big 12, and that includes a conference co-championship in 2014.they even won the conference title in 2014.

Any way you slice and dice it, though, the future of the Big 12 — particularly without its two big flag barriers and revenue generators — appears very shaky at best.

Moreover, in light of the tornadic-force winds this week that threaten to tear the Big 12 apart, it appears Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has gone into full-scale attack mode.

The Big 12 commissioner is accusing ESPN of encouraging other conference to pick apart the Big 12 so that Oklahoma and Texas can transfer their conference affiliation more quickly and avoid paying a large buyout.

“I have absolute certainty that they (ESPN) have been involved in manipulating other conferences to go after our members,” Bowlsby said in a cease-and-desist letter sent to the network.

“ESPN is incentivizing other conferences to destabilize the Big 12,” he added.

Oklahoma and Texas have lowered the Boom and lit the match. The firestorm is just beginning