What we’ve learned:
The College football world went up in flames when Brent Zwerneman reported that Oklahoma and Texas have reached out about joining the SEC.
Jason Whitely then later reported that Oklahoma & Texas early next week will petition for SEC membership and won’t renew their media contracts when they expire in 2025. HUGE if true.
More news broke later on as things unraveled, as Kirk Bohls reported that the Texas & OU move to the SEC is almost done and that this was a thing in the works for 6 months, if not longer.
When will they leave the Big-12 and how much will it cost?
Technically, OU & UT’s grant of rights with the Big-12 ends the 2024-2025 school year, but that doesn’t mean that they’re stuck with the Big-12 until then as a buyout would be an option.
This is what the Oklahoman said about a potential early breakup if it were to happen:
“…schools leaving the conference must notify the league at least 18 months in advance of departure, pay a buyout fee equal to the sum of the conference distribution money that otherwise would be paid out during the final two years of membership and forfeit all conference distributions during the period between notifying the league of departure and when the program departed.”https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.oklahoman.com/amp/8048313002
Not a cheap transaction, but the money and future in the SEC will soften the blow. Not to mention that the closer to the end of their agreement, the cheaper the price will be to move conferences.
So when will they join the SEC? In 2024, ESPN & ABC’s ten-year contract worth 3 billion dollars starts for the SEC. The Big-12’s big boys are going to want a piece of that pie. If that’s the case, they’ll play in the Big-12 this season (21-22), the season after (22-23), and potentially will be SEC members to start the 23-24 season.
That’s playing it safe, as to be honest, I can see a scenario where this is the last year Oklahoma and Texas are in the Big-12.
How does this impact the rest of the football universe?
A chain reaction to two of College Football’s top five biggest brands is going to happen and will jumpstart the conference realignment that many had suspected to begin around 2023-24 due to Expiring TV contracts.
So who will be the first to budge? Well, there are two options:
You have the ACC, who, according to an article by David M. Hale on ESPN tried to get OU, Texas, and Notre Dame to join their conference down the line, as it states:
“Several ACC athletic directors believed that their league would make a push in the next few years to add both Texas and Oklahoma along with Notre Dame which already is a partial ACC member as it looks to restructure its TV contract, but the suddenness of the Longhorns’ and Sooners’ move to the SEC took them by surprise.”https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31868545/source-oklahoma-sooners-texas-longhorns-verge-making-sec-move
Losing out on Texas and Oklahoma and fearing they’re being left behind, the ACC will probably be sure to lock down Notre Dame, who’s basically already an ACC member rather quickly.
If the ACC doesn’t act first, remaining members of the Big-12 will probably reach out to other college football conferences, in what would be a dissolving of the Big-12, Thus creating four power conferences with 16 teams apiece.
Other Big-12 teams reacting to the news and jumping ship is the reason I think Oklahoma and Texas could be in the SEC sooner rather than later.
Where will other Big-12 members go?
Bringing the ACC back for a second, I view them bringing in West Virginia to add to their addition of Notre Dame, as West Virginia fits perfectly geographically and has an already built-in rivalry with Virginia Tech.
Two other teams, Kansas and Iowa State are betting favorites to join the Big-10 if a Big-12 split happens.
Why? The Big Ten is proud of their academics, as they have Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern & Rutgers as members of the Association of American Universities. What is that you ask?
According to their website, it states: “Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of Americas leading research universities. AAU’s 66 research universities transform lives through education, research, and innovation.”
It’s a special achievement to have, as Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Princeton are among the members.
Kansas and Iowa State meet the AAU threshold for the Big-10 and gives the conference a College Basketball blue blood and a rising program led by a top-five coach in the nation in Matt Campbell. The Iowa State addition also brings in a nice little rivalry game with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The PAC-12 would be another attractive option for Big-12 teams, as TCU insider Jeremy Clark has reported that TCU, Baylor, and Texas Tech have already reached out to the PAC-12.
Although the PAC-12 may shy away from a school with a religious background like they did BYU in the past in TCU, I still see Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Baylor all being attractive options for the PAC-12.
The three new additions turn the “PAC-12” into the “PAC-15”, as they would need to add one more member to their brand. Who would that team be?
Boise State is a more attractive option for the PAC to bring in than the likes of Kansas State, considering Boise State is one of the most winningest programs of all time based on win percentage.
So, with that being said, I have the PAC-12 becoming the “PAC-16” and bringing in the reigning College Basketball national champions in Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and the best Power five football program in Boise State.
What happens to TCU and Kansas State?
With a TCU reunion to the Mountain West Conference doubtful, and a potential bidding war with the American Athletic Conference, I see the Horned Frogs joining the AAC, as the conference only will enhance its footing on the state of Texas with now TCU, Houston, and SMU.
This move would also create a twelve-team conference layout, instead of their current 11 team setup, which will be beneficial for the conference as well.
Adding TCU grows the AAC’s brand that much more, and with the implosion of the Big-12 will probably leapfrog them as far as conference prestige is concerned.
I have Kansas State settling in as the Mountain West Conference’s Boise State replacement. K-State isn’t in the biggest market, not a big brand, hasn’t had success on the football field as of late, and isn’t a member of the AAU, as they sadly will potentially get lost in the shuffle.
Not all hope is lost, however, as Kansas State would be a former power five program in the group of five, as they should be legit contenders for years to come and win conference championships.
Here’s my four 16 team “Super Conferences”:
- Texas A&M
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
- South Carolina
- Iowa State
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Penn State
- Washington State
- Oregon State
- Boise State
- Texas Tech
- Arizona State
- Oklahoma State
- Notre Dame
- Florida State
- Boston College
- NC State
- Wake Forest
- North Carolina
- Virginia Tech
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
The clock hits triple zero’s:
This is purely speculation, but one thing is for sure, Oklahoma and Texas leaving for the SEC will send shock waves in the college football world and will jumpstart college realignment. What are your guys’ thoughts on my predictions on how this college football realignment will work out? What would you change?