On Monday morning, Texas and Oklahoma notified the Big 12 that they will not extend their grant of rights beyond 2025. This is the first official domino in the next round of conference realignment. Even more so than 2010-2011, this round of realignment has the potential to dramatically alter the college football landscape.
Once Texas and Oklahoma receive enough votes to officially receive an SEC invite, all eyes will be on the eroded Big 12. The Big 12 is left with only eight members:
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
The remaining members of the Big 12 have a decision to make. Will they try to survive and expand? Or will the conference dissolve? If the conference decides to stick together and expand, BYU will be on the shortlist of candidates. Expansion might be unrealistic, as there have already been reports of Big 12 schools like WVU expressing interest in the ACC.
Should the Big 12 decide to expand, the expansion process could move quickly. In a matter of weeks, we could know whether the Big 12 wants BYU, and whether BYU wants the Big 12.
Accepting an invitation to an eroded Big 12 is not a slam dunk for BYU who has arrived at the scheduling prime of independence. Many questions remain, like whether or not the Big 12 retain its 'P5' status without Oklahoma and Texas. The next few weeks will provide answers.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the future of college football, independence provides BYU with very valuable flexibility that it might need down the road.