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Big 12's Future Hangs In Balance Today With Decisions Anticipated In Oklahoma, Texas

The biggest news coming out of the Big 12 will have nothing to do with how collectively well the conference football teams are doing, but rather the direction taken on realignment when the Board of Regents in Oklahoma and Texas meet today.

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Big 12 Conference
Big 12 Conference

Over the weekend top-ranked Oklahoma defeated fifth-ranked Florida State in a huge football contest with potential national championship implications, but the outcome of the meeting today of the Oklahoma Board of Regents may be even bigger news.

Sometime today, word is expected on the direction to be taken by the University of Oklahoma regarding whether the Sooners will remain committed to the stability and continuation of the Big 12 Conference or pursue affiliation with another athletic conference, rumored to be the Pac-12. This is a prime agenda item being discussed today by the Oklahoma Board of Regents. A similar meeting also is being held in Austin by the Texas Board of Regents, who are also expected to discuss the subject of conference realignment and Texas' future plans.

All told, this could be a bellwether day insofar as defining the fate of the once-proud and nationally prominent Big 12 Conference.

Reports are widely circulating that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be joined by neighboring state rivals Texas and Texas Tech in applying for membership as the 13th through 16th members of a newly formed Pac-16 superconference, just as was originally proposed a year ago when Nebraska and Colorado announced their exit plans from the Big 12.

There would be a number of issues to be worked out before a mass exodus of this sort would be workable, of course, not the least of which would be how the Longhorn Network would be dealt with. Nevertheless, it appears that the four schools and the Pac-12 may be getting close to an agreement in principle, at the very least.

While the rumored breakup of the Big 12 has been the big news the last month or so in the college sports world because of the developments involving Texas A&M and, more recently, Oklahoma, The Big East and Atlantic Coast conferences sized the spotlight over this past weekend with news that Syracuse and Pittsburgh out of the Big East had applied for and been unanimously accepted as new members of the ACC. There were also unconfirmed reports that Iowa State and Baylor from the Big 12 had made inquiries with officials of the ACC.

It looks like a number of dominoes are about to fall that will trigger a landslide of unprecedented proportions in the college sports landscape. As far as the Big 12 and our local schools are concerned, here is the lay of the land as of midday Monday: Assuming that OU, Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are intent on departing for the Pac-12, that leaves nine spots in three major conferences (four in the Big Ten, Three in the SEC and two in the ACC) potentially open for expansion (with football as the primary consideration), and five Big 12 schools left ripe for the picking or the choosing, including Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State.

This could be the real beginning of the end for the Big 12 and one of the worst days in the last century insofar as sports in the Greater Kansas City area is concerned.

Make sure to check out all conference updates via SB Nation's college football home.