OFF THE RIM: Might be time to break up the Big 12

News Press File Photo Oklahoma State and seven other Big 12 Conference schools could be looking for a new league or might be helping the Big 12 expand if Oklahoma and Texas leave the conference to join the SEC, which was reported Wednesday.

“Hold on to your butts.”

Samuel L. Jackson’s character from the 1993 classic “Jurassic Park” gave the world a quote that can be used in so many different situations. My 6-year-old daughter laughs at me when I say it to her.

But, no one in college athletics is laughing right now. Most people are holding their breath, waiting to see what happens next.

It appears conference realignment is at the forefront of college sports once again after Wednesday’s news that Oklahoma and Texas are wanting to join the SEC.

The conversation about realignment seems to come up every few years, so it’s time once again. It just comes at a crazy time for college athletics with the COVID pandemic still around and athletes being able to make money off their name, image and likeness, and of course the crazy transfer portal.

If OU and Texas move to the SEC, is the Big 12 done? Is its 25-year run over?

Folks in Stillwater might not want to hear it, but OU has been the conference powerhouse when it comes to football for a long time. Losing the Sooners, who are also quite good in a variety of sports and have a large fan base, would be a huge loss to the Big 12.

Texas is still a power, despite its struggles to get back on top of the conference in football. Yet, the Longhorns won this year’s Learfield Director’s Cup Division I standings because of their success in nearly every other sport.

It’s hard to believe the Big 12 could survive as a Power Five Conference without OU and Texas. It wouldn’t fall to one of the Group of 5, but it would need some additional schools to avoid falling to the bottom of the Power Five.

There were a handful of schools that tried to join the Big 12 a couple years ago, but they were rejected. Would they try to join again? Or just let the Big 12 crumble?

It would almost make more sense to demolish the conference that was the Big 8 for a long time until it became the Big 12. I’m sure most of the schools would be attractive to other conferences, even Kansas, because of the money and prestige of its men’s basketball program.

Maybe Oklahoma State and the schools in Texas join the PAC-12. It almost happened during the last big realignment.

It’s hard to predict what might happen during the next several days or weeks. There is one fun scenario that could bring most of the old-school Big 8 back together.

Bring back Missouri and Nebraska to fill the void left by OU and Texas. Bringing some of those old rivalries back – especially the Border War between Kansas and Missouri – could be fun again.

An even crazier addition would be Texas A&M, who doesn’t seem to want Texas in the SEC. Throw in Colorado again or maybe Memphis or Houston to bring the number of teams to 12.

Whatever happens, if the Big 12 survives, please bring the total to 12 teams. No more 10 teams in a league called Big 12.

Jimmy Gillispie is a sports reporter for the Stillwater News Press. He can be contacted at jgillispie@stwnewspress.com.

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