It's that time of year - the time where the college football world speculates on conference realignment. According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, Oklahoma and Texas have reached out about joining the SEC. Before we break down how this speculated SEC news could impact BYU, let's remember that all conference realignment rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. That is not a knock on the Houston Chronicle - they undoubtedly heard something from a very reliable source. Rather, it's important to remember that realignment rumors should not be taken seriously until multiple reliable outlets are reporting the same news.
With that out of the way, let's talk about how the rumored SEC expansion could impact BYU. If Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 for the SEC, the Big 12 would be left with only eight members:
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
If that happens, the Big 12 would be forced to expand or dissolve. Given those two scenarios, that would leave three potential possibilities for BYU.
1. Remain Independent
There are some perks to being independent. That is evident on a day like today when the rest of the Big 12 is left wondering what their fate would be should Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC. Regardless of how conference realignment shakes out, BYU will always have the option to remain independent.
2. Join a Reformed Big 12
If the Big 12 decides to expand, BYU would be in the center of those expansion conversations. If the Big 12 invited BYU and Boise State, for example, BYU could join a reformed Big 12. Only time would tell how a reformed Big 12 would be viewed without Texas and Oklahoma.
Remember, the Big 12 could expand East and invite schools like UCF or Cincinnati. There are many possible scenarios where the Big 12 could expand without BYU. There would be some hurdles that BYU would have to overcome prior to joining the Big 12.
3. Join a Conference Amidst the Realignment Madness
What happens if the PAC-12 tries to absorb some schools from the Big 12? What if the Big 12 tries to steal away some schools from the PAC-12? If Oklahoma and Texas bolt for the SEC, conference realignment madness will be in full force. In that scenario, BYU could have the opportunity to join a conference amidst the madness.
What if the Mountain West picked up some of the abandoned Big 12 schools? Would that make a return to the Mountain West more appealing?
What if the AAC decides to expand West after losing schools to the Big 12?
There are too many potential scenarios to address in one article. For now, it's important to remember that most conference realignment speculation turns out to be just that: speculation.