Conference Realignment: Round Two

So it begins.  Just a little over a year after we came ever so close to the Big 12 doomsday, we're sitting right back in the same position with Texas A&M preparing to kick off the next wave of change in the college sports landscape.  The reports are widespread that A&M will soon announce a move to the SEC, a move that seems to be brought on by the fact that rival Texas just wields too much power in the current Big 12(-2).  The question now focuses on which domino falls next.

Florida State, Clemson and Missouri are three schools being tossed around at this point in terms of further SEC expansion.  Florida State seems the obvious choice if expanding by just one and Clemson pretty much feels like an SEC school regardless of their ACC ties.  If Missouri were included as well as the other two, then we're talking 16 team "power" conferences and one would expect some further reaction across the country. 

The Big 10 currently sits at 12 teams but could look to the East or approach Notre Dame once again about the prospect of joining.  The Pac 12 was poised to make the leap to 16 a year ago but Texas chose to keep the Big 12 together in it's current 10 team state.

Whatever the reaction by those two conferences, it's pretty clear that the fate of the Big 12 will hinge heavily on what Oklahoma and Texas decide.  There are teams that could be added, but are they the right fit and do they position the Big 12 as a power player?  Could Texas go independent with the Longhorn network and effectively dissolve the Big 12?  Do Texas and Oklahoma revisit possible alignments with the Pac 12 or in Oklahoma's case maybe even the SEC? 

At the end of the day the fate of our own Kansas Jayhawks seems to rest with those two programs.  Should they decide they want to remain in a Big 12(-4) or expand the conference to remain competitive then Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State and whoever remains will have survived round two.  If a major shakeup occurs then the best outcome for Kansas is finding themselves still involved in a major BCS conference. 

A year ago it looked as if the Pac16 might have been a last minute option for Kansas.  That may not be the case today and the talks that we now know occurred with the Big East would seem to be the most reliable fall back at this point.  It's not a great position to be in.  Unfortunately Kansas basketball doesn't carry much weight in all this and the football program hasn't been able to string together consistent success and/or support. Some will care, some won't, but either way we once again find ourselves somewhat at the mercy of everyone else.

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