Whether part of another new-look Big 12 or a move to another league, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State most likely will remain together in the same conference.
Officials from both schools have said the Bedlam relationship has never been better. And while it's debatable whether state politics would intervene should OU seek to join another conference and leave OSU behind, such a scenario is unlikely.
The Sooners, who carry more clout in conference realignment discussions because of their national brand, would be looking for allies if they were to consider another league, for purposes of scheduling and maintaining familiar rivalries.
Fans are split on the Bedlam relationship.
“I want to stay with OU for sure,” said OSU senior Matthew Roche. “I want to keep that Bedlam rivalry going. It would be cool to keep the Big 12. But I don't know what teams (to get), especially with TCU signing on with the Big East.”
John Lovoi, an OU graduate and a Houston doctor, said it's essential the Cowboys and Sooners play in the same league.
“The rivalry issue is a real sticking point for OU for any move with UT and OSU,” Lovoi said. “It is very important to keep playing UT and OSU every year.”
Regardless how the Big 12 saga unfolds, OSU megabooster Boone Pickens is confident the Cowboys and Sooners will be in the same conference, whether that's the Big 12 or a proposed Pac-16.
“OU and OSU have to stick together,” Pickens said.
Some OU fans believe the Pac-16 would be a mistake. Even if it means separating from OSU.
Shane Walker, who graduated from OU's law school, has formed a group of Sooner graduates that has peppered athletic director Joe Castiglione and president David Boren with emails and phone calls encouraging school officials to join either the Southeastern Conference or the Big Ten.
“We are not knee-jerk reactionaries,” Walker said. “To us, this is the most important issue of our time, and we have a chance to seize an opportunity that may never present itself again. When it is thought out and fully discussed, it's a no-brainer to move to the SEC or Big Ten."
Sean King, a '91 OU graduate, said the Sooners shouldn't feel obligated to remain with the Cowboys.
“Why does OSU have no offers that do not include hanging on OU's coattails?” King said. “Why, if they are on the rise with money and facilities, does no one pursue them without OU? And why should OU continue to make choices based on Oklahoma State's future?”
The biggest benefit to the Sooners and Cowboys sticking together is the rivalry would continue in all sports.
“You've got to have the rivalry,” said Cade Colburn, an OSU junior. “It's Bedlam. It's kind of the way things work.”
(Staff writer Gina Mizell contributed to this story)