The Big 12 underwent plastic surgery during the BCS era, ceding teams like Nebraska, Texas A&M, Missouri and Colorado to other leagues as a result of conference expansion.
But those programs were still an important part of the Big 12's BCS-era narrative, even if none ever found the same success as Texas and Oklahoma (and even Oklahoma State) as a member of the league. They still have a distinct place in its history.
Thus, making this list was a difficult chore. Someone like former Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David might have been included without conference expansion, but he only played one year in the Big 12 before his team moved to the Big Ten.
Likewise, four of the players who actually did make the list play for teams that are no longer in the conference, and the six who did all played for one of two current members. This list makes vivid how much the Big 12 has lost.
But with new powers like Baylor starting to rise, perhaps the future isn't quite as bleak as it seems.