Conference realignments are a part of college sports. As different schools gain and lose popularity, decisions must be made as to what the best way is to group them, both from a marketing and competitive standpoint.
Sometimes this can mean bad things for a conference, as teams may decide they are better off playing in another division. This was precisely the case when news broke during SEC media day that both Oklahoma and Texas would be leaving the Big 12 and heading to the SEC.
The announcement shocked the College Football world and is now leading many to question the future of the Big 12.
After the last major conference realignment, the Big 12 lost powerhouses Nebraska, Colorado, and Texas A&M to various conferences. Forcing the conference to bring in replacements TCU and West Virginia to survive. Which it did for about a decade.
But now, with two of the conference headliners announcing their departure, many question whether the eight remaining teams have enough power to save the conference from extinction.
With the new expansion of College Football Playoffs, which guarantees 6 playoff slots for conference champions, less emphasis will be placed on a team's status as a Power 5 program.
If the Big 12 were to dissolve into the remaining major conferences, where would the remaining eight teams end up?
Iowa State to the Big Ten
Iowa State has had connections to the Big Ten in the past. And with their long-standing rivalry with fellow in-state Big Ten powerhouse Iowa, the fit seems almost too good to be true.
Iowa State’s reputation as a formidable opponent and status as reigning Fiesta Bowl champions makes them an attractive addition for the Big 10.
Kansas to the Big Ten
Kansas is a member of the Association of American Universities, something that is very coveted amongst Big Ten decision-makers. Everything that Kansas lacks on the football field, it more than makes up for on the basketball court.
By adding Kansas to the division, the Big Ten would continue to cement itself as a basketball powerhouse.
Oklahoma State to the Pac 12, AAC, or ACC
Oklahoma State will likely receive the most consideration by all the remaining major conferences. The Cowboys have a long history of excellence and would be a great addition to the AAC, ACC and Pac-12 markets.
Specifically for the last option, the addition of Oklahoma State could be exactly what the Pac-12 needs to help re-establish its status as the top college football conference.
Texas Tech to the Pac 12, AAC, or ACC
Texas Tech, like many other schools, will inevitably try to win a bid into the Pac-12. The only issue is, they will have to wait in a long line of major programs longing for entrance into the conference. Therefore, it seems like the AAC or ACC would be a more likely fit for the Red Raiders.
Adding Texas Tech to an already solid field of programs would help make ACC football a must-watch event.
Baylor to the Pac 12 or ACC
Baylor will also receive strong consideration, especially from the ACC and Pac 12. After making it through a series of NCAA sanctions, the Bears have managed to continue their success in College Sports. Of the two mentioned conferences, the ACC seems the more proper and likely fit.
The remaining teams West Virginia, TCU, and Kansas State will most likely be spread out between the ACC, American Athletic Conference, and the Pac-12.
There is of course a world where the Big 12 manages to add programs with enough strength to help keep the conference afloat. But with the shortlist of major programs looking to find a new home, it seems more than likely that the clock is ticking for the Big 12.