Adios, Big 12

The Big 12 Conference is not long for this world.

I don't see how any other conclusion can be reached. The Board of Regents at Texas A & M has given the school president authority to take any action he deems necessary in terms of conference realignment. There was a time last summer when it seemed A & M might be headed to the Southeastern Conference, but they remained in the Big 12, even as Nebraska and Colorado bolted for the Big 10 and the Pac 10 (now Pac 12) respectively. It was thought, after the shuffling of last summer that there would be some peace for a while. An uneasy peace to be sure. No one was really confident that the forced marriage of the old Big 8 and refugees from the defunct Southwest Conference could survive long term, especially after last summer's defections. I suspect most thought it would be several seasons before the dominoes started to fall again, however.

But that would be wrong.

Now, there is no timetable for anything to happen and no invitations have be formally extended to A & M, at least as I write this. But it seems clear that A & M wants to move and when the SEC decides to invite them, and they probably will, then the Aggies will go. And the SEC will have 13 teams and the Big 12 will have 9. The Big 12 can live with 9, but might not. The SEC cannot live with 13 and will not. And you know what that means boys and girls? Some other team is going to join the SEC.

Who will it be?

We don't know, but there are some suspects. They are, in no particular order: Florida State, Clemson, and our beloved Missouri Tigers. Yes, some are suggesting that Mizzou could go to the SEC. I don't know what to make of that. On the one hand, it would be flattering to belong to the country's best college football conference. You want to be the best, you have to beat the best and why not be in the best league? On the other hand, Mizzou is not really a cultural fit in the Southeastern Conference. If we were to switch, the Big 10 is a better fit.

Obviously, it's out of my hands but for what it's worth - say "Yes" if the SEC comes calling, but in the meantime, hope for the Big 10 to send an invite.

In any event, if A & M leaves (or 'when A & M leaves'), I don't think the Big 12 survives. They can, but the Big 10 and the Pac 12 will not stand pat if the conference jumping starts up again. Mizzou will start to look like a nice piece to add somewhere and maybe the Big 10 decides they want them before somebody else takes them. Kansas will look good to somebody and for heaven's sake, so will Oklahoma. And I've heard there's another school in Texas that's pretty competitive. Maybe they go somewhere.

How ever it shakes out, the Big 12 is on its last legs.

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