It wasn't so many years ago that the old Southwestern Conference was breaking up and lawmakers were keeping Texas Christian University out of the newly forming Big XII and clearing paths for the Baylor Bears to become the football doormat of the league.
Now with conference armageddon on the horizon TCU sits in a much better position than Baylor having secured a move to the Big East next year. With A&M expected to hear from the SEC by Wednesday and Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State flirting with the Pac-12 (16) the Big XII appears to be on very shaky ground.
However, Baylor fans don't need to panic. Here's why:
1. The Big XII is NOT dead. A&M is as good as gone, but Texas and crew are far from it. There are multiple obstacles standing in the way of the Pac-12 (16) exodus. Texas is tangled within the Longhorn Network and while it appears that they are capable of getting out of that web (read here
), it might not be beneficial for them. Texas doesn't have to deal with equal revenue sharing in the Big XII and hold more power than they ever could in another league.
Along those same lines, many think the fate of Oklahoma is tied very closely to that of Texas. Oklahoma would lose leverage in recruiting the state of Texas without the anual Red River shoot out and the loss of games against Baylor and Texas Tech within the state of Texas. On top of all of this is the fact that Oklahoma reached out to the Pac-12, not the other way around.
2. A bid from the Big East isn't out of the question. Sources have said the Big East has reached out to at least some of the Big XII have not's (Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor, and maybe Missouri). Why not believe that Baylor could secure one of those invitations? TCU has one and we all saw what happened the last time Baylor and TCU met in football. Also, maybe the Big East would piggy back onto the Pac-12's "Noah's Arc" theory and want there teams in two's. If that is the case, what better option is there in Texas than the Bears.
Even if the Big East doesn't want to go with the Noah's Arc idea, Baylor is worth an invite. The Big East would be able to recruit Texas more easily, guaranteeing perspective players at least Four games in their home state over four years. The Big East also has the reputation of being a basketball conference, and in case you didn't know, Baylor has been pulling in some very good recruits.
3. Worst case scenario (at least temporarily) for Baylor is an invite from a lower conference, most likely either the Mountain West or Conference USA. Baylor would take a hit financially, not making nearly as much money in a smaller conference with a lesser TV deal. However, Baylor could ride their current athletic momentum and become a dominant force in one of these conferences. It would take continued success in recruiting, and the retainment of big time coaches (Briles, Drew, Mulkey), but it could be done.
Look at the Gonzaga's or Boise State. Then realize that Baylor has a leg up on them by moving from a major conference with excellent competition, to a minor conference. Baylor would be a top team in football (the only sport that matters), and basketball (the only other sport anyone cares about).
No matter what happens in the conference landscape, if Baylor continues to spend smart money, recruit the right players, and draw in more fans, they'll be just fine.