Oklahoma, Oklahoma State's most likely options: Strengthen Big 12, leave for a Pac 16

LIFE AFTER A&M: For Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the options range from strengthening the Big 12 to a Bedlam breakup. The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel rates the most likely scenarios
by Berry Tramel Published: August 31, 2011

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.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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