Months after the announcement that Oklahoma and Texas will leave the Big 12 for the SEC in a few years, the sport is still reeling. For a time, it looked like the Big 12 might fracture, but commissioner Bob Bowlsby successfully poached the AAC for Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF, and will bring in current independent program BYU.
Those are four nice, successful programs that should be competitive with the remaining Big 12 membership. Still, the league has suffered a massive blow, the full extent of which we may not know until the Big 12 negotiates its next media rights deal.
Bowlsby is still working through OU and Texas’ decision, as well. The SEC is the clear titan of the college football world, and the league’s payouts do beat what the Big 12 teams get. He doesn’t totally understand the move from a football standpoint, especially with the College Football Playoff factored in, and he says they won’t be making much more money in their new league.
“Their chances are better coming through the Big 12,” Bowlsby told CBS Sports‘ Dennis Dodd. “That’s a silly part of it. It’s not very much money, and competitively, they’ve got a better path. It makes no sense.”
Bob Bowlsby calls Texas/Oklahoma reasoning "silly" in going to SEC. Says path to CFP will be tougher. Also reveals Power 5 once paid SEC extra for being … good. https://t.co/nNddRptaDO
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) October 21, 2021
“Maybe it’s a story that needs to be written,” Bowlsby continued. “If it’s not about the money and it’s not and not about competitiveness, what’s it about? I haven’t gotten any answers about that.”
Of course, Bowlsby is burying one big factor here. The College Football Playoff will very likely expand up to as many as 12 teams, a plan that seemed like a foregone conclusion before this latest round of realignment. Assuming that ends up happening, it alleviates the access concerns for the teams joining a very deep SEC.
Some expect the SEC to dominate bids in an expanded tournament, though it should at the very least give the Big 12 some opportunities, even with its two biggest brands leaving. If things stay at four, that may not be realistic.