Big 12 Football: 4 Reasons the Oklahoma Sooners Will Kill Expansion Talk
Oklahoma should kill all expansion talk in the Big 12.
Expansion mania has been sweeping college football, and attention has shifted toward the Big 12 with the departures of Nebraska and Colorado. The Big 12 needs to add two teams in order to stage a championship game.
There are a number of good reasons why the Big 12 could expand, but there are equally good reasons why they will not expand.
The biggest reason is Oklahoma, as the Sooners simply have the most to lose from a conference expansion.
Oklahoma Doesn't Need a Conference Championship
Expansion means a championship game and an extra opportunity for Oklahoma to slip up on their path to a National Championship.
Oklahoma does not need exposure from a conference championship to reach the BCS.
This season the Sooners are a favorite and will top most preseason polls. If they go undefeated, they will reach the championship game.
They simply have no incentive to want an extra game and the associated risk.
Oklahoma made it to the National Championship game after a loss in the 2003 conference championship when they were upset by Kansas State.
At the time, few conferences had championship games, and now the spot would go to a conference winner.
Big 12 Expansion Would End the Red River Rivalry
To expand back to 12 teams, there would need to be two divisions.
For expansion to be beneficial, the divisions need to be evenly matched, and there are no legitimate counterweights to Texas and Oklahoma to anchor a northern division. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would have to move to the North Division.
Neither Texas nor Oklahoma would agree to continue their rivalry if they would face each other in a championship game.
Playing each other once is dangerous for their National Championship aspirations; twice could be disastrous.
Oklahoma Would Be Devastated by Ending the Red River Rivalry
Ending the Oklahoma vs. Texas rivalry would be disastrous for the Sooners.
OU/Texas is consistently the most visible game for the Sooners in the regular season. The exposure from that game is vital for maintaining the ranking needed to make a run at the BCS.
The annual game is invaluable as a recruiting tool for access to the fertile Texas recruiting ground, and the exposure is a prime selling point for potential recruits.
Theoretically, OU and Texas could meet in the conference championship game, but there is no guarantee they will on a consistent basis.
Consider that Florida State and Miami were placed in separate divisions, but have yet to meet in a championship. While the idea of a Texas vs. Oklahoma championship game would be great for the Big 12, the loss of the regular-season game would be a huge blow.
Oklahoma Can Stop Any Big 12 Expansion by Talking to the SEC
During the previous round of expansion talks, the SEC made it clear it wants Oklahoma.
If they pushed expansion, Oklahoma could threaten to go to the SEC.
While the Big 12 survived losing Nebraska and Colorado, they would not be able to survive losing Oklahoma.
They would be unable to find an established team with a depleted conference, and Dan Bebe knows that.
If Oklahoma threatens to leave, the Big 12 will not expand.