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Doomsday for the Big 12?


By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)

With the news Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are inching closer to joining the Pac-12, the writing is on the wall for the death of the Big 12. Some issues need to be worked out, namely how the Longhorn Network will work with the Pac-12's current television plan.

Barring a miracle by commissioner Dan Beebe or the Pac-12 not approving expansion, the Big 12 is finished.

Oklahoma and Texas are holding regents meetings on Monday, which are expected to authorize school presidents to make a decision on conference realignment. After the power is handed to the presidents, it is expected Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will apply to join the Pac-12.

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With Pittsburgh and Syracuse officially accepted into the ACC, realignment news is expected to dominate the college football world this week.

The Panthers were believed to be a target of Big 12 expansion, which could have helped to keep the conference together, even after Texas A&M decided to bolt for the SEC. BYU was also a rumored target and one that appeared to be a very attractive option for the conference.

The Big 12 was formed in 1994 and began athletic competition in 1996. The conference was created with the eight members of the Big Eight Conference combining with Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Baylor.

The Big 12 began to crumble last summer with Nebraska’s departure to the Big Ten and Colorado’s exit to the Pac-12.

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The Cornhuskers were fed up with unequal revenue sharing in the and wanted to get away from Texas.

Colorado was a good fit for the Pac-12, especially with a large alumni base in Los Angeles.

The Big 12 believed it could continue with 10 members, but that notion fell apart in August. Texas A&M announced its intention to withdraw for the Big 12, which caused the conference to become even more unstable.

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After the news out of College Station, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State became interested in looking to the Pac-12. Texas is in the first year of having its own television channel (Longhorn Network), which was an obstacle to joining the conference. However, it appears those issues won’t derail the Longhorns from going west.

Conferences in college football could look a lot different by next week, and the death of the Big 12 could be imminent.

While Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State head for stability in the Pac-16, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri are left to pick up the pieces.

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All five schools are believed to be targets of Big East expansion, which seems likely considering the news out of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

However, as realignment has shown over the last couple of days, nothing is official until the dust clears.

Needless to say, school administrators will be sweating it out at those schools until something is finalized. If any of those five teams are left out from realignment, the losses could be significant.

Money from television contracts and an automatic spot into the BCS are incredibly valuable and you can bet Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor will be fighting to keep both of those options in the pocket.

When a conference breaks apart, there’s a lot of lost history and tradition. Sure, matchups like Texas-Oklahoma will continue in a new conference, but Missouri and Oklahoma will no longer play as conference rivals. The same for Oklahoma-Nebraska, which was one of the top rivalries in the Big Eight Conference.

New rivalries will always pop up, but there’s a certain part of college football that is lost when conferences like the Big 12 break apart.

College football will always remain the same and I don’t think most fans will turn off the television sets or stop going to games as a result of what happens with realignment.

And it’s very likely 16-team super conferences will break apart in the future, as teams are unhappy with the setup and how the money is distributed.

The clock is winding down and unless Beebe can make a last-minute appeal to Texas and Oklahoma to stay, Pac-12 presidents won't allow the conference to expand or Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott can't work out the Longhorn Network specifics, the Big 12 is done.

If the Big 12 falls apart, college football fans can welcome the first 16-team super conference to the world.