This story popped up the other day via an early report from the Houston Chronicle, but according to this guy with 47,000 Twitter followers, it appears as though the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners are indeed going to leave the Big 12:
— Chip Brown (@ChipBrown247) July 23, 2021
Texas and Oklahoma, the founding members of the Big 12, are leaving the league – and barring any unforeseen developments, will join the Southeastern Conference, a high-level source close to the situation told Horns247.
Texas and OU officials plan to inform the Big 12 on Monday that they won’t renew when the league’s grant of rights expire in 2025, a step that clears the path for the SEC to formally consider adding Texas and OU.
Again, barring unforeseen circumstances, an SEC vote on adding Texas and Oklahoma “could move quickly,” the source told Horns247.
There’s also this:
Sources: The ACC and other leagues have made inquiries — through back channels — to Oklahoma and Texas. The schools are still expected to start the process of joining the SEC next week. The Texas and OU backchannel communication to the SEC has been going on for more than a year.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) July 23, 2021
This is fascinating to me, because OU and Texas are the crown jewels of the Big 12, so to speak. When you think of Big 12 football, those are the schools that come to mind. Kansas is the basketball powerhouse, and there are other solid programs in the conference, but without the Longhorns and Sooners it’s just not the Big 12.
If they do indeed move to the SEC, the conference looks like this:
- Texas A&M*
- Ole Miss
- Miss State
- South Carolina
*I put asterisks next to TAMU and Mizzou because they’re the ex-Big 12 teams that left for the SEC in the realignment of ~10 years ago. Texas A&M seems to absolutely despite Texas and OU, and vice versa, so if there was a vote to allow the Sooners and Longhorns into the conference, I’m 99% sure that Aggie would vote no.
Apparently, they weren’t even told about it:
Prominent Big 12 source tells the American-Statesman the Texas-OU move to the SEC is almost done. "They've been working on this for a minimum of 6 months, and the A&M leadership was left out of discussions and wasn't told about it." Move could become official in a week.
— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) July 23, 2021
This doesn’t really mean much to anybody in Philadelphia, but it would probably kick off another round of conference shuffling. For Penn State fans, what do you think about going after Kansas? Iowa State is also a fit with Iowa already in the Big 10.
Couple of other random thoughts, in no particular order:
- West Virginia will probably end up in the ACC. It seems inevitable. It makes sense geographically and all of our old Big East rivals are in the conference. Problem is that the ACC currently has 14 teams, so it would be unbalanced with 15 unless Notre Dame or another team joined permanently.
- Same issue with the Big 10, which has 14 teams. They’d need to add two to keep it even.
- Colorado went to the PAC 12 when the conference shuffled last time. I could see Texas Tech fitting in.
- If the Big 12 tries to keep it together, they could go after Houston and SMU. BYU is probably the best available independent team to target. Boise State makes sense, too. If they added all four, it would be a full 12-team conference and they could do divisions again.
- I went to road games in Norman and Austin and the Longhorn and Sooner fans were super cool. Really polite and educated fan bases.
- Oklahoma and Texas get dicked nationally because they end up with that 11 a.m. time slot. I know OU was pissed about having to play Nebraska (a traditional rival) in the morning.
- Texas football won’t win anything in the SEC.
- What if TAMU said “fuck y’all we’re leaving“? Would be crazy.
Anyway, you all know how I feel about college football. I think regional teams should play each other. Temple and Penn State and Pitt should be playing each other every season. I know Nittany Lion fans aren’t totally into that, because they think the Owls and Panthers are below them, but college football is better when it’s hyper local. The traveling fan bases, the tailgates, the pageantry, all of that. Too much of this realignment from 10 years ago didn’t make any sense.