Once Texas A&M made it clear they wouldn’t be hanging around the Big 12, the dominoes began to fall. Al Dannity breaks down a bizarre week in conference realignment, which has seen Oklahoma all but announce it will be in the Pac-12 next season and probably bring Texas in tow.
The winners The apparent success of the Pac-12 in luring Texas into the conference has played out like many a bad romance. The Longhorns were nervous when Larry Scott and the Pac-12 first came-a-courtin’ in the spring. The folk from the West Coast sure seemed great but Texas didn’t want to give up what it had. Once the Pac-12 ignored Texas and welcomed the advances of Oklahoma, despite the Sooners always having an uncool friend (Oklahoma State) hanging around the Longhorns were soon willing to cut their old ties and embrace the Pac-12.
Before any Cowboys’ friends give out to me, you’re only uncool in the sense that the Pac-12 flat-out wouldn’t want you unless you were necessary for any deal with the Sooners. Everything else, from the way State play to T. Boone Pickens, is remarkably cool in Al’s eyes.
Larry Scott appears to have finally landed what he wants. A 16 team power conference with two big brands joining the fold. The addition of the Cowboys and, most likely, Texas Tech will ensure the Sooners and Longhorns are not isolated geographically and ensure political harmony. The Pac-12 would have rather nabbed Texas A&M but this expansion would not have been possible were it not for the Aggies bolting for the SEC
The losers The five Big 12 schools not on their way to the Pac-12 or SEC are now going to be hungry for a home. Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri, should end up in a BCS conference, albeit a lesser one, but Iowa State and Baylor probably won’t be so fortunate. Dan Beebe, the man who appeared to save the Big 12 just last spring, appears to also be a big loser here. Having gone out of his way to keep Texas happy, he angered one of his other big cash cows and the Aggies bolting appears to have blindsided him.
To be decided The Big Ten and, relatively speaking, SEC have been quiet enough in this latest round of conference realignment. Don’t expect them to stand pat. The biggest prizes on the board now, in what appears to be a race to 16 teams, are Duke and North Carolina. Virginia Tech have also been mooted as possible SEC expansion candidates but in-state rivals Virginia could hold political capital in blocking a move. That leaves the ACC and Big East in a fight to be the fourth relevant conference. The ACC has a lot more to lose, making it much more vulnerable to raids. Oddly, the Big East may yet survive because it hasn’t got any assets worth stripping.