The Big 12 is not stable, and it hasn't been for a while. Just this offseason alone we've seen the conference go from considering expansion, to being happy with 10 teams, to suddenly being ready to expand again just because the ACC is getting its own network.
The conference feels threatened. It looks around at it's Power Five compatriots and sees four other conferences that have, or will have, their own television networks. Meanwhile, the Big 12 -- well, Texas -- has the Longhorn Network. A network that played a large role in schools leaving the conference for greener pastures elsewhere, which all led to the Big 12 being in this current state.
Well, the Big 12 should feel threatened. As I've written in the past, I'm not convinced that expansion is going to save the Big 12 from anything other than maybe stalling the inevitable. This isn't a knock on the candidates -- BYU, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, UCF, just to name a few -- but none of them seem like home runs. All have some benefits, and they definitely all have flaws.
Which is why I believe that while the Big 12 goes over possible expansion candidates, the rest of the Power Five conferences should be asking themselves if it's time to expand again -- just not with BYU or Memphis.
No, they should be asking those threatened schools of the Big 12 if they'd like some long-term security.
If you're Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, or the SEC's Greg Sankey, aren't you wondering if now is the time to become that 16-school superconference we all envisioned being the future five years ago?
Don't you at least pick up the phone and ask?
I don't care what they say publicly, or what they now believe about expansion, you can't tell me that Texas and Oklahoma wouldn't seriously consider leaving for the Big Ten or SEC if the offer was out there.
Hypothetically, the Big Ten could call up Texas, bringing the Longhorns and Kansas Jayhawks into the fold. The conference would be adding one of the biggest brands in college football with the Longhorns, and it would bring in a Kansas basketball program that's one of the best in the country. Adding the massive Texas television market would be a huge coup for the Big Ten Network, and adding the Longhorns to the West would help balance the power in the Big Ten's divisions. Kansas' arrival wouldn't do much for football -- the Texas addition offsets that -- but it could put the Big Ten on par with the ACC as far as basketball is concerned, and the Big Ten cares about basketball.
The SEC could then follow up by going after the Big 12's other cornerstone program: Oklahoma. The Sooners would be yet another strong football program added to the SEC's arsenal, and if you get Oklahoma, you're probably getting Oklahoma State, too, a program that doesn't receive as much attention as it probably should when it comes to football success in recent years.
The SEC, already the strongest football conference in the country, would suddenly be even stronger.
Now, these examples are just that, examples. If SEC -- or the Pac-12 or ACC -- want Texas, they can and should go after them. The key is you want to be the one picking up the phone first.
And the Power Five conferences should definitely be picking up that phone.