The 2021 college football season kicks off in a little over a month.
But there is anything but calm and tranquility surrounding the sport.
And that’s because two college football powerhouses are about to make this major change.
Rumors are swirling around that the University of Texas and Oklahoma University are set to bolt the Big 12 – which they helped found in 1996 – for the Southeastern Conference.
Both schools released statements that did not deny the rumors.
“Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation,” the University of Texas’ statement read.
“The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don’t address every anonymous rumor,” an Oklahoma University press release read.
Texas and Oklahoma are sniffing around the SEC for one reason and one reason only – TV money.
The Big 12 wants to extend its current TV contracts for five years through 2030.
Oklahoma and Texas believe they can get a better deal in the SEC – which just signed a massive 10-year $3 billion contract with ESPN – which is now the richest league in all of college football.
The payout from the SEC’s TV contract alone would nearly equal the $34.5 million per school total revenue payout the Big 12 delivered to each member in 2020.
Texas and Oklahoma are two of the marquee programs in college football.
Their Red River rivalry game in October is a tent pole matchup on the schedule every year.
If Texas and Oklahoma head to the SEC to form a 16-team super league it would be impossible to see how the Big 12 could survive.
In the most likely scenario, the ACC, Pac 12, and Big 12 would pick the bones of the best remaining teams in order to match the SEC as 16-team leagues.
The Big 12 formed in 1996 after the collapse of the Southwest Conference.
In a way, the circle would complete itself if 25 years later the richer conferences ended up devouring the Big 12.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.