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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

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:


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.


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.

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by Berry Tramel
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 Oklahoman,...
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