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The Future of the Big 12: Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios

The future of college football has changed, and this isn't your grandfather's game anymore. Good or bad, it's changing rapidly.
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We may not have realized it at the time, but last year when Texas and Oklahoma announced they were leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, it changed college football forever

Teams have moved conferences before, and recently. Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC back in 2012. Arkansas left the Southwest Conference to join the SEC back in 1991, which was the beginning of the end of the SWC and ironically enough what created the Big 12 from the then-Big 8.

But with Texas and Oklahoma abandoning what was already considered a powerful conference for an even more powerful one, other schools followed suit.

And less than a year after that announcement, another one came. Pac-12 rivals UCLA and USC bolted for greener pastures 2,000 miles away in the Big Ten.

What does it all mean for conferences like the Big 12 and Pac-12 now struggling to remain afloat?

Expand or be dissolved. 

For the Big 12, the best-case scenario is to be aggressive in attacking and poaching the Pac-12 before they do it to you. If other leagues are moving to 16, 18, or even 20 teams, get there first. Or second. Just don't be last.

The Big 12 was reactionary in adding the four schools that will join next July 1. Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, and BYU were good add-ins at the time, but now, more are needed.

Leave geography out of it, too. That's irrelevant. The days of geographical rivalries are done. That's the old way of thinking. That's your grandfather's college football.

But the fact that the Big 12 is - more or less - located in the center of the country could be a big benefit in attracting schools from either coast.

Adding schools like Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado is appealing since BYU is already set to join in 2023. It would be easy and convenient for the Big 12 to have a west "pod" with some or all of these teams.

The worst-case scenario for the Big 12, along with the Pac-12 and even the ACC would be to stand by and do nothing as they get picked over and cease to exist.

The Big 12 is in a perfect position to eat rather than be eaten.

Take a long, hard look at the college football landscape as it is now. It's going to look very different in the coming seasons.

Follow Timm Hamm on Twitter at @IndyCarTim

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