Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Column: Big 12 to SEC

By Andrew Owens

Journalism Student

Southeastern Conference Expansion. Texas and Oklahoma sent shockwaves through college football as they notified the Big 12 they will not be renewing their grants of media rights after their expiration in 2025. Texas and Oklahoma will apply to join the SEC. This move will cause a ripple effect through the entire landscape of college football. 

What will happen to the rest of the Big 12? 

While two of the biggest brands in college sports look to move to the SEC, the Big 12 will have to fill major holes left by Texas and Oklahoma. The conference will look to fill those voids by adding two to four teams into the conference. This would be the option that allows the Big 12 to stay alive as a conference. The teams that the conference will look to add could include BYU, Houston, UCF and Boise State.

The more likely option, in my opinion, is college football will move to four major conferences, and the Big 12 folds. The remaining teams in the conference have begun to look at their options of joining the other major conferences. TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech have reached out to the PAC 12 as an option, and Kansas has reached out to the Big 10.

I believe that teams will look to join the conferences that make the most regional sense. With that, I believe West Virginia will look to join the ACC. Kansas State, Kansas and Iowa State will look to join the Big 10, and the remaining four teams of TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State will join the PAC 12. To make this happen, the numbers will need to work out as I believe we will have four major conferences of 16. This means that some of these teams from the Big 12 will probably be left without a home and join a “group of five” conference. 

Will Texas and Texas A&M play every year?

The rivalry will be back folks. If the move of Texas to the SEC happens, then the conference will make them play every year. The SEC will not want to lose the revenue that will come from those two schools playing each other. With this move, not only will the Lone Star Showdown be back, but it will be better than ever. Texas A&M for the last 10 years has been the stronger program in the state and has been able to live outside the shadow of Texas. With Texas looking to join the SEC, Texas A&M and its fans will be looking to make a statement that they are now the premier program within the state of Texas. Residents of the state will have to wait a few more years, but the light at the end of the dark tunnel is there. 

Will Texas and Oklahoma succeed in the SEC?

Perhaps the biggest question is how these two schools will compete in the SEC. While there is no doubt the schools will be joining a more competitive conference, I believe they will have more success than may be thought. Oklahoma has consistently been a top 10 team under Lincoln Riley. Riley, Oklahoma head coach since 2017, has been able to recruit at the highest level on the offensive side of the ball and will look to take the next step.

I believe that with the ability to use the trump card of being in the SEC, Oklahoma will be able to compete on the recruiting trail and on the field in the SEC. As far as Texas goes, the last 12 years have been just short of a train wreck. As first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian looks to right the ship, a move to the best conference in college football might just be what Texas needs. Texas will have some growing pains, but, in my opinion, will right the ship and be able to compete in the SEC.