The Big 12 Officially Votes To Add BYU, Cincy, Houston And UCF As Conference Alignment Rolls On

A group of football players in a huddle
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The landscape of college football is changing, and it’s changing faster than I’ve ever seen it.

Just a month or two ago we had the bombshell news that Texas and Oklahoma were looking to jump ship from the Big 12 and join the SEC, a move that was approved just a few weeks after the rumors surfaced.

This sent shockwaves throughout college football, with the two biggest names in the Big 12 joining forces with the best conference in college football (and no, I’m not an SEC fan – this is just a fact at this point).

In response, three of the other Power 5 conferences joined forces, with news coming out that the PAC 12, ACC and Big Ten intended to enter into an alliance to try to counter the SEC’s new “super-conference.”

That left the soon-to-be-depleted Big 12 as the odd man out, with their two biggest schools jumping ship and the other non-SEC power conferences partnering up.

Well today the Big 12 attempted to reload, voting to add four new schools to their league and hoping to keep pace with their fellow power conferences.

Big 12 presidents and chancellors announced that they have voted to accept American Athletic Conference members Houston, Cincinnati and UCF, as well as the independent BYU, into the conference.

The vote was announced as being “approved unanimously by the eight continuing members.” (I guess that means Texas and Oklahoma didn’t get a vote – or if they did, it didn’t matter).

According to ESPN, the AAC’s bylaws require schools give the conference a 27-month notice before leaving (in addition to a hefty $10 million buyout), which means that it’s likely we won’t see this new incarnation of the Big 12 until 2024 – although it’s possible that the schools could negotiate an earlier exit.

For their part, the AAC issued a statement saying that today’s move just proves the strength of their own conference:

“The irony that three of our schools are being asked to take the place of the two marquee schools which are leaving the Big 12 is not lost on us. Our conference was targeted for exceeding expectations in a system that wasn’t designed to accommodate our success.

All three of these institutions have enjoyed unprecedented success as members of The American, as have our remaining schools.”

The move also means that it’s now the AAC’s turn to reload, with likely targets including schools from the Mountain West Conference like Boise State, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt conference.

And I know the Big 12 has to act like today was a major victory for them, but let’s be honest: Do any of the new schools really bring what Texas and Oklahoma brought to the table?

I mean, the closest any of these new teams have come to winning a national championship was back in 2017 when UCF had an undefeated season and declared themselves the national champions.

But regardless, the landscape of college football is changing and it’s changing fast.

The only thing the rest of us can do is hold on for the ride.

A beer bottle on a dock


A beer bottle on a dock