If Nebraska and Missouri leave the Big 12 to join the Big 10, what teams should take their place and what would the best alignment for the conference going forward? Ricky from Laredo, TX
North (Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Colorado, Oklahoma State, TCU)
South (Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma,
Baylor, Texas Tech, SMU)
This alignment includes two of the more likely replacements in north
Texas powers TCU and SMU. TCU would bring another credible power to the
conference, one that boasts the status of perhaps the best
non-power-conference school in the country as well as one of the best
"program faces" in Gary Patterson. SMU, meanwhile, gives the Big 12
full-time access to the Dallas market and re-energizes several older
rivalries between SMU and the other remnants of the Southwest
The layout of the teams within this alignment could be tweaked – I
split the new additions and shifted Oklahoma State to the North in an
attempt to redistribute some power away from the South, but another
viable permutation would be to place both TCU and SMU in the North to
ensure that they, as well as Oklahoma and Oklahoma State continue to
renew their rivalries annually.
Old School (Texas, Texas A&M,
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Arkansas)
New School (Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa
State, Colorado, Texas Tech, TCU)
In this case, old school refers to the charter members of the old
Southwestern Conference while the new school includes programs that
either joined later in the SWC's history or integrated with the
formation of the Big 12.
Note the inclusion of Arkansas into the Old School alignment; if the
Big 12 considered poaching from other major conferences to fill the
void of Nebraska and Missouri's defections, this would be their most
logical target given their rich history in the SWC as well as the
geographic proximity to the rest of the conference. Texas Tech gets
bumped to the North and TCU is chosen as the second addition by virtue
of their resume as the strongest available school.
Group A (Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma
State, Texas Tech, SMU, Colorado)
Group B (Oklahoma, Texas A&M,
Kansas State, TCU, Baylor, Iowa State)
This would be a sure-fire way to inspire enmity across the conference's
dividing line. Five great rivalries are split across the middle,
creating a wrinkle that has yet to be explored in college football, one
that transcends regional and conference pride – divisional pride.
If you're an Aggie, Sooner, Wildcat, or Horned frog, you hate Group A
while Longhorns, Jayhawks, Cowboys, and Mustangs have the same vitriol
for their neighbors in Group B.
There would be some kinks to work out, such as finding actual names for
the divisions and more importantly working around the rotating
schedules that would preclude rivalry games every 6 years, but talented
PR people and non-conference scheduling can handle each of those
problems with gusto. For such a unique opportunity, a little extra
legwork is well worth it.
Texas (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas
Tech, Baylor, TCU, SMU)
Everybody Else (Oklahoma, Oklahoma
State, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Iowa State)
Let's be honest – this is what we'd all like to see. Those who hail
from one of the other 49 states are generally of the opinion that Texas
is its own country and if Texans want to secede that badly, as they
sometimes admit to pondering, then we should just let them leave and
get on with it. Meanwhile, those in the Lone Star State are of the
mindset that Texas probably is its own country and it definitely is the
best state, so why not let us do everything our way?
Well, here's your football solution. If you thought the third scenario
would inspire hatred between divisions, just wait until you get the
first concrete demonstration of Texas versus the world. It would
inspire endless passion, intensity, and hostility – only the backbones
of competitive activity – while spawning an endless media buzz around
the country, as people from far and wide would embrace their
opportunity to actively root against the state of Texas. Texans, for
their part, wouldn't have it any other way.
So that's where my vote lies. If Nebraska and Missouri flee to colder
pastures, give the people what they want and create the Big
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