Big 12 Realignment: Why Conference Must Merge with Big East If Big Boys Bounce

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IISeptember 26, 2011

Big 12 Realignment: Why Conference Must Merge with Big East If Big Boys Bounce

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    Right now, college football is going through more of a transformation than a novelty Michael Bay film.

    On one hand, we have the popular kids—the SEC, Pac-12, Big 10 and ACC. These conferences sit at the lunch table that everyone's trying to feast at.

    However, the unpopular kids like the Big 12 and the Big East are being left in the dust.

    With Texas A&M having already left for the SEC, as well as Syracuse and Pittsburgh on their way to the ACC, their former conferences are scrambling for survival.

    The Big 12 in particular rests its future on their homecoming court—Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St.

    If these four schools were to depart for the Pac-12, as implicated, the five remaining schools would be left scrambling for survival.

    Here's a look at the scenario of the remaining Big 12 schools absorbing what's left of the Big East.

For Football

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    Assuming the "Big Four" departs, the Big 12's remaining schools would be Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State.

    The current Big 12 is extremely top-heavy. It's actually almost disgusting, with most of the power and money coming through Austin, Texas and Norman, Oklahoma.

    Looking at this from a hypothetical point of view, we're going to go ahead and say that Texas and Oklahoma depart for the Pac-12, taking Texas Tech and Oklahoma State with them in the process.

    The remaining schools would then have two options.

    Option No. 1 would be to split themselves and join entirely new conferences pending invitation and approval. Reports have already surfaced involving Missouri to SEC.Also, likely destinations for the other four could be the Mountain West or Conference USA.

    For the Big 12, this would be the worst case scenario.

    Best case scenario would be to merge with the Big East.

    If the Big 12 were to absorb the remaining football-member schools, they would still be able to field an array of competitive teams that wouldn't completely be left in the super-conference shadow.

    It could be a very real possibility that with out the Big 12-Big East merger, the Big 12 could implode completely and be just a figment of our memories.

For Basketball

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    For basketball, a Big 12-Big East merger could be just what the conference needs.

    It's widely recognized that the Big East is the best basketball conference in the country. So, by merging the two conferences together, it would create a field that could compete with the new-look ACC and Pac-12.

    The Big East has the ability to add up to 13 schools—five football-members and eight non-football-members—to the mix.

    Now again, this is hypothetically speaking under the assumption that Connecticut and Rutgers follow their brethren to the ACC. 

    For Big 12 schools like Missouri and the Kansas schools, this move has the potential to be huge.

    Kansas has the conference's only national championship since becoming the Big 12, while Missouri and Kansas State are two up-and-coming programs looking for a little boost over the top. Merging with a few east coast powerhouses could be what they need in recruiting to give them that push.

    It's clear that absorbing the Big East shows far more profit in the realm of college basketball. However, I don't see that as much of a bad thing.

    Just look, the ACC has done just fine relying primarily on basketball.

Television Deal

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    I've used the phrase "absorb the Big East" numerous times throughout these slides thus far and here's the reason why.

    The Big 12 has stayed adamant that if there were to be a merger between the two conferences, the layout would look as if the Big 12 simply absorbed the remaining Big East schools into their conference to create a new Big 12. 

    The reason for this is because of the conference's ability to secure a television deal.

    As of right now, the Big 12's television deal is with Fox. It also has three more years with ESPN/ABC.

    There is no certainty this new conference will remain with this deal, but it is almost certain that if it were to look elsewhere, it would be much easier to obtain a new, larger deal when the time came.

    Big 12 officials have been firm in saying that while it is not the only reason, the kicker for Big East absorption is a potential television rights deal.

    Plus, it would be a shame to not here Gus Johnson's voice ring over FX's Big 12 Game of the Week.

What Big East Will Offer

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    Football-member schools: West Virginia, Cincinnati, South Florida, TCU and Louisville.

    Non-football-member schools: Villanova, St. Johns, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall and DePaul.

    In terms of football, the Big East has never been that strong. However, when bringing their remaining schools, they will provide the Big 12 with five of their last six conference champions.

    Also, they already have a presence in Texas. TCU is slated to join the current Big East in 2012 and merging into the Big 12 with schools like Baylor and Missouri wouldn't be a problem for match ups, travel and recruiting.

    Basketball is where they can really make a contribution.

    Expanding Big 12 basketball will do worlds for recruiting. Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette and Notre Dame are all very competitive basketball-only schools.

    When playing in-conference games with Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State and Baylor, it will lead to a cornucopia of grade-A basketball television.