Sometimes just standing still isn’t an option when it comes to conference realignment, and according to a report from CBS Sports, the Big 12 has a plan to act if the opportunity presents itself.
The Big 12, which has a rich history and a current designation as one of the “Power 5” conferences, will be experiencing a major change, possibly even sooner than initially expected. Its two marque programs and brands in Oklahoma and Texas are bolting for the SEC. That situation triggered the Big 12 to react and extend invitations to four new members – Cincinnati, Houston, BYU and UCF. But in its hope to stabilize itself as a major conference, CBS Sports is now reporting that sources have told the outlet that the Big 12 will look to add current Pac 12 programs if that conference collapses.
One big reason the Pac 12 is in jeopardy of suffering the same fate the old Big East football conference did in the midst of a wave of realignment from a decade ago is the rumor the Big Ten has its eyes on plucking some Pac 12 programs. California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington are the programs indicated as possibly attractive to the Big Ten.
If the Big Ten does look to steal away Pac 12 schools as it competes with the SEC for super conference supremacy, that then opens the door for the Big 12 to finish out what’s left of the Pac 12, a conference that’s also losing two top brands entrenched in the fabric of the conference’s history when USC and UCLA join the Big Ten, a deal that has already been agreed to by all parties involved and made public. It is then believer the Big 12 would look to add Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah to their already expanding conference.
While nothing is in stone and a lot of conference realignment talk is simply speculation, it’s pretty clear the landscape of college athletics, most notably college football, has ventured down a rabbit hole of no return. And the question always becomes if and when teams change conferences, how will that impact the rest? Will other conferences like the ACC make a move? Will programs like West Virginia, who many feel are misplaced in a conference, actively seek another conference home? To no surprise, another report concerning conference realignment lends itself to more questions than answers.