With the impending departure of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 Conference to the SEC, the Oklahoma State football program figures to be a driving force for whatever move is next for the university. What happens next to the Big 12 is anyone’s guess, as different rumors about mergers with the Pac-12 or the AAC are circulating. The Big 12 could even implode and send all of its members packing to different leagues.
The possibility of the Big 12 remaining together seems less earth-shattering for the OSU faithful. Besides the familiarity of the conference and the rivalries that OSU has built over the decades, the league makes the most sense geographically for the Cowboys. The question of media revenue, which could be cut by 50% with the departure of the Sooners and the Longhorns, according to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, would be a thorny one.
If the Big 12 Conference does indeed splinter, Oklahoma State should prioritize sticking with certain schools more than others.
A lot of discussion has centered around, too, about which power conferences will swoop in and whisk away the remaining Big 12 schools. Certain athletic programs have different things to offer, ranging from TCU’s sustained consistency on the football field to the Baylor men’s basketball team, which is fresh off a national championship from April of this year.
Certain programs might be better fits for the Big Ten or the Pac-12 based on who is looking to expand to a new region of the country, which universities have strong AAU-level academics, and which conferences feel the most threatened by the SEC’s growth to 16 teams.
There’s also recent talks planned by the Pac-12 and the Big 12 about a potential merger of the two conferences, but the extent is unknown and the details are fuzzy.
If this theory comes to fruition, it would almost certainly contribute to a system of four super-conferences that would come to dominate the nation’s top level of college football.
If Big 12 members split up in search of new league homes across the country, which schools should be OSU’s priority as partners to chart a new course into the future?