They still have Oklahoma and Texas. Powerhouse programs like Kansas Basketball and Oklahoma State football are staying put. So in some ways, the Big 12 still has its shining stars and several pillars upon which to stand.
Then again, we’ve all played Jenga enough to know that it takes one wrong piece for the whole tower to fall.
At this stage, the once-powerful Big 12 almost looks like the kid hoping the bell will ring soon so gym class is over and everyone will leave him alone. The bigger kids are picking who they want at this point, and Texas A&M is in the process of leaving. To lose another team — specifically the Missouri Tigers — would only devastate the situation.
That leaves the Big 12 as a “shell of its former powerful self,” says Dave Sittler. And he’s right. The conference has lost Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big 10. Now it’s clear the Aggies are headed to the SEC, leaving the Big 12 with only 9 constituents. That handcuffs them from having a championship game and leaves them several teams short of coming close to the power numbers and structure of the other power players.
The Big 12 will undoubtedly add someone soon. Notre Dame was a reach that they won’t entice. Brigham Young is an interesting addition and apparently there’s rumored interest on both sides. Southern Methodist has already confirmed its interest in joining the Big 12, and Houston remains a possibility as well. But none of those schools deliver the impact player that other conferences are adding, and if Missouri goes, that’s another Top 25 program in both football and basketball playing in another conference.
The Big 12 needs to work quickly and under the radar to stop the bleeding at this point. They need to develop a plan, get some silent agreements and then go public with a plan that no one could have seen coming. That’s the best case scenario at this point — for the conference to surprise with some good news. Otherwise, it’s a slowly sinking ship that will end up as prime feasting grounds for the vultures from other conferences. And in the end, we’ll look back on this time as the tipping point for the Big 12’s demise.