The Big 12 paid a consulting firm to determine it should expand to 12 teams. Announcing that guarantees the conference will expand to 12 teams.
A problem for that mission is the non-power five well is dry. No individual program would add anything. The Big 12 could add the fourth and fifth biggest programs in Florida to add footprint for a non-existent (and not happening) network. It could add UConn and Cincy to ease West Virginia’s travel burden (and exacerbate every other school’s). It could add more schools in Texas because Houston and SMU have hot coaches.
No rationale is compelling. No option increases the chance Texas and Oklahoma will stay after the grant of rights expires. Big 12 expansion options are so bleak that, in the age of relentless media debate, we find the hypotheticals too boring to debate
Expansion would be a boon for desperate Group of 5 programs. It offers Texas/Oklahoma…less flexibility, perhaps some insignificant profits from a title game.
There’s one conclusion to draw from this: The Big 12, as constituted, is dead. That should have been apparent when even Colorado had better places to be. It would be more apparent if not for loyal, historically great coaches propping up Kansas State, Baylor, and TCU.
Realignment will return. Equilibrium is probably four, closed off, 16-team super conferences.
Texas/Oklahoma could join the Big Ten, turning the conference into a television super colossus. Four programs – Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, Notre dame – move the meter for TV ratings. The Big Ten would have three of them.
Texas/Oklahoma could join the Pac 12. The Pac 12 may need those schools more than those schools need the Pac 12. But, it means more fancy parties and golfing in California. What is this whole college athletics racket about if not more fancy parties and golfing in California?
Texas/Oklahoma could also merge to form a new super conference with the football relevant portion of the ACC – Florida State, Clemson, Miami etc. Not the SEC, but it may get those schools a bona fide conference network.
The thing about those three options? They each seem more exciting, more lucrative, and more sell-able than standing pat in the Big 12. The argument for Texas and Oklahoma is not why to blow up the Big 12, it is why not to. No available school changes that dynamic. Therefore, expansion is pointless. The conference is already dead.