Texas A&M’s invitation to the Southeastern Conference could come as early as Wednesday, according to multiple reports, and the Aggies’ expected acceptance could touch off an unraveling of the Big 12.
Oklahoma continues to drop hints that it is bound for the Pac-12. At his news conference Tuesday, coach Bob Stoops suggested the Sooners might disrupt their annual grudge match with Texas, if the teams find themselves in different conferences.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to keep the OU-Texas game if we do move out of a conference with Texas,” Stoops said. “I know no one wants to hear that, but things change.
“I love the game, but if it doesn’t work out, we will find other places to play and get excited about. All of a sudden we weren’t playing Nebraska anymore, but we are still here. Life goes on.”
If a Pac-12 move happens, expect Oklahoma State to follow the Sooners. Texas and Texas Tech could fill out a Pac-16.
That would leave Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor. A year ago, the Big East was prepared to invite all but Baylor, had the Big 12 folded with the losses of Nebraska and Colorado and a Texas-led charge into the Pac-10.
The Big East again could be in a position to pick up schools, if the Big 12 collapses. The league stands at eight football and 16 basketball schools. TCU will add to each total next year.
One scenario has Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State joining the Big East, bringing the conference to 12 football schools, split into divisions with a championship game, and 20 basketball schools separated into scheduling pods.
But speculation also finds Missouri joining Texas A&M in the SEC, and if that happens, a Big East spot could open for Iowa State.
Some in the Missouri fan base have long desired to be part of the Big Ten. Would a series of conference shifts open a spot for the Tigers there?
Baylor took to public relations on Tuesday when the university issued a news release urging its fellow Texas schools to stick together and urging Texans to ask leaders at Texas A&M, Texas and Texas Tech “to take a stand for Texas and to stop this madness that will lead to the dissolution of the Big 12 and the end of an era for Texas.”
Can the Big 12 be saved, or continue in some fashion?
That’s up to university presidents, some of whom have expressed serious doubts about the viability of 16-team super conferences. If A&M’s expected move to the SEC is the only shift in the landscape, the Big 12 might cheat death for the second time in 15 months.