After trying to get Oklahoma and Texas to remain in the Big 12 by offering them a financial structure that would offer more of the conference’s revenue, the Big 12 expects the Sooners and Longhorns to make an exit from the conference by telling them they will not extend their contract on Monday following June 30, 2025. It will be decided by Wednesday if Oklahoma and Texas get the 11 of 14 votes they need to receive an invitation from the SEC to join the conference. After mainly hearing reports after Texas A&M’s hard “no” at the SEC Media Days on Wednesday, it is hard to believe everyone in College Station will say the same thing. It is likely that the worse it can be for Oklahoma and Texas is a 13 to 1 vote when it comes to SEC institutions voting them in and the two powers receiving an invitation. Oklahoma and Texas have both “committed to leaving” the Big 12 but haven’t officially done that yet. It is likely they will each buy out of their 76$ million contract that goes the Big 12 within the next 18 to 24 months which would send them to the SEC as soon as 2022 but by at least 2023. The contract with the Big 12 goes through June 30, 2025. Reports are also saying that the “pod” format will not will work. Likely a division format, looking like this will be used:
Mississippi (Ole Miss)
Likely the SEC would move to a nine or ten game conference model and eliminate permanent cross-divisional games (Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia, Arkansas-Missouri in what would be the former model). Thanksgiving rivalries for the SEC would be interesting. This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart as the SEC ripped Arkansas’ game with LSU on Black Friday away from them and put the tigers with Texas A&M. Now that Texas and Texas A&M are in the same conference again it makes things simpler and more difficult. Alabama-Auburn, Mississippi State-Ole Miss, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, and Texas-Texas A&M would likely continue (or restart) their rivalries. It should also be assumed that even if the SEC adds a game or two to the conference schedule that Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Kentucky-Louisville, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State and South Carolina-Clemson should continue as interconfertnce rivalries. Now, dealing with the remaining three teams becomes important. Football wise, Missouri has won the last six against Arkansas, but many have been close games. Arkansas’ last win over Missouri was a 28-3 beatdown in 2015. Most likely, however, the SEC will choose to act first and make sure their “darling” LSU gets a sure-fire game on Black Friday and matches the tigers with the Razorbacks once again. It will be difficult for Missouri to find an opponent on Thanksgiving weekend, so if they’re okay with it, they will just either schedule a “cupcake” game or make it their bye week.
As of this point, it is looking like the Big 12 is dead. Kansas and Iowa State are the two most likely headed to the Big Ten, as both have been on calls with the conference within the last 48 hours. Baylor, TCU, and Texas Tech have been linked (and have reached out to) the Pac-12. West Virginia has done the same with the ACC but it is unclear that the Mountaineers will be able to join due to the conference’s academic standards. Notre Dame is under contract with the ACC, and if they want to be in line with the upcoming 12-team college football playoff, contractually they will have to join the ACC. Of course, similar to Oklahoma and Texas, they can buy out of their contract, join the Big Ten and make more revenue there, but like every other move, that will take time more than anything else. In that effect, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA, and USC have reached out to the Big Ten. To be honest, it is hard to worry about that right now with Texas and Oklahoma likely moving forward in their plans with the SEC. It is hard to imagine division alignments for any of these other conferences. The Name, Image, Likeness laws being passed to eliminate amateurism set this in motion. Less than a decade from now college sports could be split into the Big Ten and the SEC, who make the most and second most revenue of any conference.
When moves associated with the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 become more of a reality I will make more posts about them.