Skip to main content

Big 12 Football: Best-Case Conference Options for Remaining Eight Members

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State could be looking for a new conference home in the near future.

The future of the Big 12 Conference hangs in the balance with Texas and Oklahoma not renewing their grant of rights with the league and pursuing membership in the SEC. While the conference isn’t going anywhere for the 2021 college football season, what transpires over the next couple of months could dictate whether or not the eight remaining members can rebuild the Big 12 or if all choose to depart for another league.

Rebuilding the Big 12 could be the most likely option if no other power conference chooses to add teams, leaving the eight remaining members outside of the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC for now. But what happens if the Big 12 is unable to rebuild and all eight teams are free agents looking for a conference to join in the future? Athlon Sports examines the best-case power conference landing spot for the eight remaining members.

Big 12 Football: Best-Case Conference Options for Remaining Eight Members

Best-Case Scenario: Pac-12
The Bears are a longshot to get into the Big Ten (not an AAU member), so the Pac-12 is probably the best bet for a spot in the power conferences. If Pac-12 passes, then a conference that forms out of the remaining Big 12/American Athletic Conference members is the likely destination.

Kansas State
Best-Case Scenario: Pac-12
The Wildcats don’t have AAU membership to appeal to the Big Ten and would be behind rival Kansas for a spot in the ACC. The Pac-12 is the likeliest place for K-State to land in a power conference, but even then, this program would rank behind a few others from the Big 12. If the Wildcats miss out on the Pac-12, joining the American Athletic Conference or Mountain West is the next scenario.

Iowa State
Best-Case Scenario: Big Ten
Adding Iowa State doesn’t bring any new markets to the Big Ten. However, the Cyclones are a member of the AAU, have a solid all-around athletic department and can fortify the Big Ten’s West Division. Adding games versus Iowa and Nebraska would produce intrigue for the conference’s television partners.

Best-Case Scenario: Big Ten
Yes, Kansas’ football program has a long ways to go in order to be competitive in the Big Ten. But the Jayhawks bring a strong basketball program to the conference, along with the potential to tap into the Kansas City media market. Also, the program is a member of the AAU – a key component to Big Ten membership. If the ACC decides to add West Virginia and wants a full member as No. 16, then Kansas could be on the radar there as well.

Related: CFB Expansion and Realignment News and Rumors

Oklahoma State
Best-Case Scenario: Pac-12
Without AAU membership, Oklahoma State’s best fit in a power conference is likely the Pac-12. The Cowboys could join with Kansas, Texas Tech and TCU to bolster the league’s membership to 16.

Best-Case Scenario: Pac-12
With a prime location in Fort Worth, TCU would be a good candidate for the Pac-12 to add and expand its reach into the Midwest. If the Horned Frogs couldn’t get an invite to the Pac-12, a spot in the ACC would be the next option among power conferences, followed by the American/Big 12 hybrid.

Texas Tech
Best-Case Scenario: Pac-12
The Red Raiders’ penchant for producing high-powered offenses would fit in quite nicely with Pac-12 After Dark.

West Virginia
Best-Case Scenario: ACC
This one is obvious: West Virginia should be in the ACC. The Mountaineers have a passionate and sizable fan base to bring to the conference, along with igniting old rivalries against former Big East foes Virginia Tech and Pitt. 

Podcast: Breaking Down Everything to Know About CFB Conference Realignment