Members of the Big XII conference have been scrambling for the exit door for more than a year.  Nebraska and Colorado have already exited for the Big 10 and Pac 12, respectively.  Texas A&M is actively trying to exist, and Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech are exploring their options.  If those schools all leave the conference, only five teams would remain.

Our neighbors to the Atlantic side of the country, the Big East conference, is also facing more defections.  Syracuse and Pitt will be leaving, dropping the number of football schools to six.

There has been talk of a merger between the leftovers of the two conferences.  Here’s how it would break down for football.

Old Big 12
Baylor
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Missouri

 

Old Big East
Cincinnati
Connecticut
Louisville
Rutgers
South Florida
West Virginia

 

All of those schools have had some degree of football success in the last decade, but none of the teams are fighting for a BCS bid on a regular basis.  This conference would have three teams in the current AP Top 25 (West Virginia, Baylor, and South Florida in the 16, 17, and 18 spots).  Maybe the new conference could even snag BYU to get to 12 teams.  Twelve is a magic number, as conference are allowed to have title games if there are 12 teams, and Kosmo loves title games.

I do think that this conference would be stronger on the football field than it appears.  The lack of a historically dominant program could lead to an arms race among the other schools in the conference.  Do big boosters at Baylor and South Florida come forward with big donations in an attempt to push their team to the top of the conference and into the national spotlight?  Perhaps.

Where it would get very interesting is on the basketball court.  Assuming that BYU joins the conference, here’s what it could look like:

Old Big 12 + BYU
Baylor
BYU
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Missouri

 

Old Big East Football Schools
Cincinnati
Connecticut
Louisville
Rutgers
South Florida
West Virginia

 

Old Big East Basketball-only
Depaul
Georgetown
Notre Dame
Marquette
Providence
St. John’s
Seton Hall
Villanova

 

The result here is a step up from the existing 16 team Big East basketball conference – a 20 school behemoth that would snare a tremendous number of NCAA tournament bids.  The prize for the Big East, of course, would be the addition of Kansas to the mix.

I’m a graduate of Iowa State University and a longtime support of the Big XII conference.  The implosion of the conference has been a great disappointment to me.  As of a few days ago, my preference was just to become a 1-A independent if the conference dissolved.  This would allow the leftover teams to pick their own schedules and form new rivalries.

The rumors of a merger, however, have made me re-consider.  I’m jumping on the merger bandwagon.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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