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Seven Unanswered Questions About the New Big 12

Seven burning questions about the new Big 12 conference

Last month, the Big 12 extended invitations to BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston. Now that we know which schools will comprise the new-look Big 12, there are still plenty of unanswered questions that must be answered over the next few years. Here are seven of of the most important questions that need to be answered in the coming months.

1. When will the AAC schools join?

byu football vs ucf

BYU will join the Big 12 in 2023. When will UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston join the Big 12? No later than 2024, no earlier than 2023. Contractually, they can't leave the AAC until the 2024 football season unless they buy out their existing contracts with the AAC.

2. When will Texas and Oklahoma leave?

Texas and Oklahoma are set to join the SEC in 2025. Like the three AAC schools set to join the Big 12, however, Texas and OU could buy their way out of the Big 12 early. Most people expect the Longhorns and the Sooners to find a way out of the Big 12 before 2025.

3. How will the Big 12 be divided?

The Big 12 will be divided into two divisions. Based on the the geographical layout of the conference, dividing the schools into an east division and a west division is most likely. 

In this case, BYU and Texas Tech would certainly play in the west division, while UCF, West Virginia, and Cincinnati would unquestionably belong in the east division. Here is one of the many ways the new Big 12 could be divided:

Big 12 West

  1. BYU
  2. Texas Tech
  3. TCU
  4. Baylor
  5. Oklahoma State
  6. Houson

Big 12 East

  1. Kansas
  2. Kansas State
  3. Iowa State
  4. West Virginia
  5. Cincinnati
  6. UCF

4. How many conference games per season?

West Virginia Big 12 logo

The Big 12 currently plays nine conference games per season. The new Big 12 could stick to nine conference games, or it could reduce its conference schedule to eight games per season.

Whether it be eight or nine conference games, each team would play every school in its division on an annual basis. They would rotate playing schools in the other division - the rotation would change depending on the number of conference games.

5. Will the conference expand beyond 12?

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported that Boise State and Memphis could be Big 12 targets if the conference decides to expand beyond 12 members. Most notably, Dodd reported that "there is a feeling within the Big 12 some Pac-12 schools might be interested in joining." That is, of course, "if the Pac-12 media rights revenue approximates that of the Big 12 at that time."

6. What will the TV money look like?

One of the most important questions regarding the new Big 12, but this one won't be answered for a few more years. The Big 12's TV deal will expire after the 2025 season. Without Texas and Oklahoma in the fold, the new TV deal will be critical for the financial future and stability of the conference. 

7. Will the new Big 12 be able to regularly compete for national titles?

The SEC has Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and LSU. The Big Ten has Ohio State, the ACC has Clemson and Florida State, and the PAC-12 has (or perhaps used to have) Oregon and USC. For years, it was Oklahoma that represented the Big 12 in the College Football Playoff. Will one of the new Big 12 schools emerge as a national contender?

Only time will tell. But the answer will probably determine the perception of this conference in the future.

For better or for worse, college football conferences are judged by their success in the playoff.