With Texas A&M's impending departure from the Big 12, here's a look at OU's and OSU's options for the future:
PLAN A: STRONG BIG 12
Action: Add Brigham Young and preferably two other notable schools, like TCU and any number of candidates. Louisville, Pitt, Air Force.
Upside: Going back to 12 teams would signal that the Big 12 is ready to stand and fight. BYU is a national brand, and TCU just won the Rose Bowl. A trio of BYU, TCU and take-your-pick would at least get the Big 12 back close to where it was before the 2010 defections.
Downside: Travel would be stretched, perhaps from the Eastern Time Zone to Provo, Utah. Long-term viability would still be in question. Overall television appeal wouldn't be quite as high as pre-2010.
Chances: 34 percent. BYU isn't sure it wants to join a shaky league, Texas apparently doesn't want TCU in the league and some in the Big 12 still are stuck on the idea of 10.
PLAN B: PAC-16
Action: OU and OSU join with two other Big 12 members, preferably Texas Tech and Texas, in going West and forming an East Division of the Pac-16, which also would include Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State.
Upside: The Bedlam rivals would be in the first megaconference, which has a bright economic future thanks to the innovations of commissioner Larry Scott. They also would retain recruiting ties to the state of Texas, thanks to membership with UT and Tech. And they would be entering a new conference among friends; five of the eight teams in their division would have come from the Big 12.
Downside: Travel, especially for non-football, could be a hassle, depending on the scheduling format. And while the Texas recruiting ties are retained, they won't be as strong as in the Big 12. OU and OSU also would be leaving long-time friends Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas and Missouri.
Chances: 45 percent. Texas will be a difficult sell, because of its Longhorn Network and its exalted status in the Big 12. Without Texas, the Pac-12 isn't as excited about expansion, and the Sooners and Cowboys aren't as excited about going. A Texas Tech/Missouri pairing with OU and OSU doesn't have quite the same luster.
PLAN C: WEAKENED BIG 12
Action: Find a solitary replacement for A&M – Houston, anyone? – and keep plugging along.
Upside: The Texas recruiting ties would stay strong, and avenues to the BCS are easier than ever, with a weakened league.
Downside: The Big 12's long-term viability would be minimal. The conference would remain a league for poaching, with OU and Missouri, primarily, candidates to be plucked by another conference at any time. Pragmatically, the league's football reputation would take a hit, too. The Big 12 would be considered better than only the Big East among BCS conferences, perhaps on par with the ACC.
Chances: 17 percent.
PLAN D: SEC
Action: If OU is left with no good options, the Sooners could reconsider their reluctance to join the Southeastern Conference and even could petition for the Cowboys to come with them. The SEC has stated it does not want to destroy a conference, which means if it wants to expand to 16, it could look at the deathbed Big 12 rather than the ACC.
Upside: The Bedlam rivals would be in the nation's premier football conference. Lots of money, lots of notoriety, lots of prestige.
Downside: OU and OSU would be in a league they really don't want to be in, culturally, with little more Texas ties than the teams they're suddenly competing against. The road to the BCS or a national championship would be more difficult.
Chances: 1 percent.
PLAN E: SEPARATE
Action: OU eventually could be left with no good options and reconsider the SEC, or possibly even the Big Ten, should that league look Southwest, leaving OSU to cobble together a league with the remnants of the Big 12, perhaps as a western division of Big East football.
Upside: OU would be in a premier conference. OSU would theoretically retain Texas recruiting ties.
Downside: In the SEC, OU would be in a league it really doesn't want to be in, with few familiar faces. OSU would be in a sub-par league, with less financial benefits.
Chances: 3 percent.