The Big 12’s expansion buzz has started to re-open old wounds and create the possibility for the conference to change its character and face once again.
The Big 12 seems set to expand in the race for more television revenue and the quest to hold a more legitimate championship game. It is all about relevance and eyeballs for conferences these days.
The conference though has always been on shaky ground. The relationship between the schools has never been a particularly strong one and there is always as much chance the Big 12 expands as it will contract again. The disagreement on exactly how to expand and which schools to add will only further unite or divide the conference in this new television-based reality.
The Big 12 seems certain to expand this time around, not merely teasing fans with change and teasing some smaller schools looking to take a bigger piece of the pie.
Undoubtedly though, the Big 12’s revenue model with Texas getting some extreme favor could eventually be the wedge in the conference. And many are still thinking the Big 12 could split.
That is what Paul Finebaum thinks at least. Despite the Big 12’s talk of expansion, he still believes the conference is in enough chaos that one of its bigger members could do better elsewhere.
“I think the bigger question is will the Big 12 survive when all this is over,” Finebaum said on ESPN earlier this week. “There are rumors all over the place about other leagues poaching. I believe Oklahoma would probably rather be in the SEC or the Big Ten than the Big 12.”
There is no sign at this point that Oklahoma is looking to leave the Big 12. It seemed in the last round of expansion, this could have been a possibility. The Sooners though elected to remain in the conference.
Conditions with the Big 12 though seem to change often. The conference is trying to solidify itself more to prevent these kinds of raids from happening down the road.