We all knew that at some point in time conference alignment was going to happen once again in college athletics. What we didn't know was that it would happen this early, this quick, and it be two massive pieces to begin the domino effect like Texas and Oklahoma.
In the last couple of days, we have found out that Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC about joining the conference. Today, a report surfaced from Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman that both schools and the SEC "have been working on this for a minimum of six months and the A&M leadership was left out of the discussions and wasn't told about it."
Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork stated at SEC media days earlier this week that he had not heard about those two schools making a serious inquiry into joining the league. When asked about what he thought of it he said, "We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas," Bjork said. "There's a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 -- to be standalone, to have our own identity."
Unfortunately for Bjork, A&M, and the other eight members in the Big 12, Oklahoma and Texas could reach a deal with the SEC as early as the end of the week, per Bohls' report.
In the midst of the Big 12's powers looking to move elsewhere, schools such as TCU, Baylor, and Texas Tech have reached out to the PAC-12 about joining their league. This is not a surprise as it only makes sense for the other eight schools to start putting out feelers to other conferences to ensure that they won't be left behind in the dust. What this also shows is that this league can not and will not survive without Oklahoma and Texas. Adding a few Group of Five schools basically just makes it a stronger version of the American Athletic Conference and that won't hold much weight.
It would not surprise me to see West Virginia AD Shane Lyons reach out to the ACC and Big Ten to initiate conversations and see where they go. The one thing WVU can't do is be left out of a power conference. Sure, the media market isn't as large or as appealing as Oklahoma and Texas are to the SEC but we are talking about the 15th-most winningest football program in the history of college football here. This isn't Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, or some other school that hasn't been consistently competitive in football for decades.
Moving to the ACC makes the most logical sense for West Virginia obviously with the natural rivalries coming back into play. WVU should be playing the likes of Pitt, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and Syracuse every year. The ACC shot WVU down the first time around due to several reasons but one cited the lack of quality facilities the program had. That can no longer be an issue thanks to the $55 million the athletic department put into enhancing and renovating their facilities.
Who knows where West Virginia will end up. Who knows where TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech, and the others will end up. If there's one thing that seems certain, it's the collapse of the Big 12 Conference.
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