The buzzards are circling over the Midwest, as the Big 12 Conference is on its last leg.
Nebraska and Colorado jumped ship last season with visions of TV dollars dancing in their heads. After a tiring back-and-forth, Texas A&M has finally announced they plan to move out of the Big 12. Rumors have them joining the SEC as soon as next season.
The Big 12 began play in 1996 after combining all eight members of the former Big 8 with four schools from the Southwest Conference.
The league has competed at the top of college football, producing three National Champions (1997 Nebraska, 2000 Oklahoma, 2005 Texas), and enjoying a slew of bowl game wins. The recent upsurge of programs like Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas A&M promises to make the 2011 season one of the most competitive in conference history.
That might end soon, however. The Big 12 is being picked apart piece-by-piece as teams jostle for options to earn more money. It's sad to see teams like Nebraska and Texas A&M give up long-standing rivalries to chase greener pastures in other leagues.
And by "greener" I don't mean the color of the turf. Money-hungry athletic directors and university presidents are threatening to bring a conference with unimaginable potential to its knees.
Adding to the chaos, Texas is seemingly working toward independence with their shiny new lucrative ESPN contract, forming the 24-hour Longhorn Network.
If Oklahoma wants to continue to compete with the other half of the Red River Shootout, they must get proactive and secure a safe spot in the increasingly malleable landscape of college football or risk being left high and dry.
Luckily, there are options. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of potential options for the Sooners.
With the Big 12 as we know it looking increasingly certain to fade into history, I've ranked these options from worst to best.