Possible Conference Changes and Dominoes

Much is being made of the possible shake up among the conferences. Guest Columnist Stephen Johnson shares a few of his thoughts on the topic and the possible implications for Texas Tech.

Let's face it, college football is about to experience a shift in lines among conferences. Whether it happens for just one conference or all of the conferences is yet to be determined, but it's likely Texas Tech could be affected by these moves.

It's impossible to figure out what every school that is involved in these talks will eventually do, but we'll look at what teams are being courted, which teams will stay and which conferences will look completely different. We'll then discuss what this means for Tech and the future of the Big XII.

The conference that started this wave of reaction is the Big 10. Then teams like Pittsburgh, Missouri and Texas were all tabbed as teams that would bolt to go join the oddly numbered conference. Although nobody truly knows what's going to happen, I have theories. Granted, they may be wrong. Indulge me while I think out loud.

Many people, including me, don't see Texas leaving the Big XII without their rival Texas A&M. Also, if Texas were to leave it would make it hard to schedule their rival, Oklahoma, every year on the football field, court and diamond. On the surface, many would believe Texas is a three team package deal, which the Big 10 may be willing to take on if it wants to transform into a 16 league team.

The one issue many see in this scenario is it's believed the Aggies would prefer to go to the SEC, which is more regional for the alumni who live in the Southeastern part of the country. It is called the SEC for a reason. Furthermore, you would figure Oklahoma would not leave without one of their main rivals … Oklahoma Sate. A one team coup for the Big 10 could easily turn into a four team package deal.

The sole reason for Texas wanting to go to the Big 10 is to be THE University in the mid-states from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. They would challenge Northwestern and Ohio State for the academic honors and football they would be king among the conference, both in revenues and in the polls. In the SEC they'll still challenge some of the colleges for the academic honors, but what hurts their ego the most is the gridiron where they are, at the very most, third best team in the conference behind Alabama and Florida. In other words, don't expect this to happen.

Now, the Pac 10 raises all two of my eyebrows, vicariously. There have been murmurs that the Pac 10 might want to go to a 16 team league. It's all but certain that Colorado and Utah end up in the Pac 10 in less than two years anyway.

So if my math is right, and I'm not claiming it is, four more teams added to the already 12 in place in the Pac 10 would give the conference 16 teams. Could those teams be Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? Maybe. Would it keep these teams happy being able to maintain their rivalries? Yes. Would it bring more interest, money and exposure to their school? Definitely.

At the end of the day because of all of these complications, it would be hard for these teams to bolt to another conference. It is very possible that Colorado leaves to the Pac 10 and Missouri leaves for the Big 10. What becomes of the Big XII at that point?

The most logical answer would be to invite two more teams to the Big XII, maybe a BYU and TCU. Shuffle the divisions around and call it a day. Though, is that really in the best interest for the Big XII or Tech?

The last five years the emphasis on college football has been on the division Tech is already in (Big 12 South), while the North has struggled for legitimacy. The South has clearly dominated while making long weekend trips to Ames, Iowa and Columbia, Missouri.

Why not, with the eventual adding of a third Tier 1 institution to Texas, make the conference based on region? With the amount of success the current South division has had on the football field, two National Championships and six appearances in the game, keeping Texas and Oklahoma automatically gives legitimacy to this conference.

Though if you cut Iowa State from the equation, you have nine or 10 teams left depending on what happens with Missouri and the Big 10. In this conference with the emphasis on South football. This would give the Big XII leverage to either expand with teams located in the South or move East or West.

Imagine an Arizona or Arizona State in the Big XII and traveling to Tucson or Tempe in November for a football game. Imagine a TCU and Arkansas in the Big XII. Wouldn't it be fun to relive the old Southwest Conference?

Change is about to occur in the state of college football. If the Big XII is prepared, they can make this conference stronger in its regional alliance. For Tech it's simple. Keep winning and persevering towards Tier 1 status and make it impossible or at least extremely unattractive for the Texas and Oklahoma schools to leave the competitive conference.

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