Texas and Oklahoma may be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC sooner than expected.
Brett McMurphy of The Action Network reported the "climate is right" for the two powerhouses to get out of their SEC contracts ahead of the 2024 season. Texas and Oklahoma are currently slated to join the SEC in 2025.
While the Big 12 appeared to be in danger of dissolving in the immediate aftermath of Texas and Oklahoma announcing their departures, the league instead rebounded to add BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston. The addition of those four schools helped the Big 12 land a new television contract and arguably helped pave the way for the Red River Rivals to leave early.
The SEC may also be motivated to bring Texas and Oklahoma into the fold in 2024 ahead of the College Football Playoff's expansion to 12 teams. The Big Ten will add USC and UCLA in 2024, potentially getting a year headstart on the "superconference" trend.
Adding Texas and Oklahoma in 2024 would keep the SEC on equal footing with the Big Ten. The SEC's new television contract with ESPN also starts in 2024 and includes a clause that requires the network to increase the value of the deal for new members.
"The Big 12 would like it to happen a year early, the SEC would like OU and Texas a year early, but FOX could care less and I'm not sure what ESPN will do," a source told McMurphy.
ESPN's desire to start paying out the Texas-and-Oklahoma-sized pay checks may ultimately wind up deciding whether the two schools wind up in the SEC in 2024 or have to wait.