With the news that Oklahoma and Texas will formally not renew their grant of media rights in the Big 12 Conference, it’s time for the league’s remaining eight schools to act. The Sooners and the Longhorns are rumored to be headed to the SEC, and it’s widely believed that this will occur long before 2025 and what’s shaping up to be an acrimonious split.
It shouldn’t be assumed that the Big Ten, the ACC, and the Pac-12 will want to scoop up the remaining Big 12 teams just for the sake of addition. To put it terms of keeping up with the richest and most talented league in the land (which just added two prestigious heavyweights), is adding Kansas State and/or Texas Tech truly going to advance a conference’s profile moving into the future?
The Big 12 Conference might realize that its best move is to stick together. Here are the 10 best options for expansion, ranked.
The Big Ten would certainly benefit from adding Kansas and its elite men’s basketball program, but adding the Jayhawks’ football team would be a huge minus. Trying to stay on even footing with a league that just added Texas and OU could only mean seeking a “home run” move. As Notre Dame is unlikely to budge, why shouldn’t the Big Ten reach out to USC, UCLA, or Oregon instead of picking up the pieces of a shattered Big 12?
For Oklahoma State fans, it means that the Pac-12 and the Big Ten may not come calling. It might be time to embrace the idea of remaining in the Big 12 and strengthening it as much as possible after losing OU and Texas.
Retooling the Big 12 would mean adding athletic programs that have successful revenue sports (football and men’s basketball), make some kind of geographic sense (although that’s a fluid argument, given that the league still includes West Virginia), have decent endowments and student enrollments, can bring in some kind of athletic revenue, and have some kind of tie to a media market.
The last point shouldn’t be overly emphasized, however. Just look at schools like Georgia State Panthers (Atlanta), the Charlotte 49ers, or UTSA Roadrunners — large metro areas, yes, but hardly competitive football programs.
While the league is at it, why stop at adding two or four more teams? Why not rebrand and make it the Big 16?
Finally, it’s worth noting here that if the Big 12 were to lure away any of its former members such as Nebraska or Colorado away, that should take precedence over any of these teams. That’s pretty unlikely, though if the Pac-12 is gutted in a similar way to the Big 12, schools like the Buffaloes become pretty good candidates to rejoin several of their former Big 8/Big 12 foes.
Here are 10 schools, ranked, that are the best options for OSU and an expansion-minded Big 12: