A&M officially notifies Big 12 of its intentions

The first step is now out of the way... sort of.

For the first time since Conference Realignment Part Deux reared its ugly head, officials from Texas A&M have let their intentions be known.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said: "As I have indicated previously, we are working very deliberately to act in the best long-term interests of both Texas A&M and the state of Texas. This truly is a 100-year decision. While we understand the desire of all parties to quickly reach a resolution, these are extremely complex issues that we are addressing methodically."

During the past couple of weeks, Loftin and other A&M officials had confirmed that conversations between the Aggies and the SEC were ongoing, but this was the first we've seen in terms of them saying that they are actively pursuing their options.

Many have believed all along that the Aggies will leave the Big 12, leaving the conference, which lost Colorado and Nebraska a year ago, with just nine teams. Conference and university officials have said the league would and could survive with nine teams but the rumor mill has been hot with talk about which schools the Big 12 might pursue should they look to expand to 10, 12 or even 16 in the wake of A&M's departure.

With A&M all but gone — all that needs to happen now is the SEC has to invite them officially and the Aggies have to cough up some cash — let's turn our attention to potential replacements.

Here's a quick look at what's being talked about around the web regarding the new-look Big 12.

This report, from the Dallas Morning News, says SMU is openly auditioning for a spot.

This one, from Vahe Gregorian of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, says Notre Dame, BYU and Air Force are at the top of the Big 12's wish list.

This one's short but sweet and says the Louisville likely won't leave the Big East even if invited to the Big 12.

Houston's another name that keeps popping up. Here's where the Cougars stand as of a couple of weeks ago.

Some of these are a week or so old. Some are fresh. But now that A&M's out in front of this thing a little bit, expect the rumors to start flying again.

The guess here is that the Big 12 will sit at nine teams until it's reasonably sure that it can make a splash with expansion. Does that include Notre Dame? It should. But if the Irish truly aren't interested, then it wouldn't have to.

Adding Notre Dame would be hitting the jackpot, one of those where the coins come pouring out so fast you can't keep your bucket in front of them fast enough.

But if Notre Dame chooses to remain independent or explores a home elsewhere, there are plenty of other prizes that would pad the Big 12's pocket book just fine. It may take a few pulls to get there, but my guess is it would be worth the wait.

Stay tuned...



Becca Farish 2 years, 7 months ago

The big 12 needs to act and act fast. Its bad enough that another team is leaving the conference but i feel its going to be extremely hard to court any school from another MAJOR conference when all those schools see is schools leaving the big 12. Why would they leave there conference to go to one that might not last. I am hoping i'm wrong. I dont see ND coming when they could go anywhere if they wanted. We dont need SMU its just another texas school when we already have the texas market. If the big 12 is able to go after other schools a major conference its going to have to be a big power play and they will have to be the first to go to a 16 team super conference so other schools feel comfortable coming in. ANY THOUGHTS ??????


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Ozarkace68 2 years, 7 months ago

As I mused over all of the rumors flying around I focused on Texas rumors as not only are they the biggest but usually end up being the most accruate. So far they seem to focus on four areas. Politics, money, the Longhorn Network, and the counter balance team for A&M in the SEC.

Politics being what they are in Texas, just because A&M says it is going doesn't mean the legislature and/or other Austin political forces will go along with it. Finances being what they are, there is a story on the street in Dallas that A&M does not have the financial resources to buy their way out of the Big XII and the SEC will not touch them until that part of the deal is done. The LHN is something that is being watched by all NCAA sports institutions. Its legal standing has not been tested yet and could be used by A&M to leave the Big XII without paying a penalty. Finally, who does the SEC find to balance the conference? A good debate topic but I do not see a strong candidate in the wings and several member roadblocks to possible candidates.

Bottom line, the much maligned Aggies once again may become their own worst joke before they become the door mat of the SEC.


Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 7 months ago

ND would be a great fit because, as stated above, they would keep their own they would get exposed to the rich recruiting areas and TV viewers of Texas. this would be direct impact...they already have a national would get directly upgraded with Texas.

exactly how would ND fans and alumni object to that? the same deal with NBC...their same radio network....they could still play USC and Purdue every year (Michigan and Mich St. would probably go away), and then they get OU and UT every year? OU and ND every year? my goodness the fanfare and exposure for both schools would be huge. Plus, KU at Notre Dame every other year? instant NBC viewer eyeballs on us....a total win-win.

aTm leaves, there should be an all out push for the Irish...if we can't land 'em we can't land 'em, but we should sure try.


lawslady 2 years, 7 months ago

ANYONE who thinks Notre Dame is a viable option needs to back up and think it out from their stand point. They are happy and doing fine, just as they are. They are already dictating their own terms. And making a ton of money they do not have to share with anyone. And with far fewer restrictions. They have long been courted by all kinds of conferences. They have nothing to gain, and much to lose, by joining any conference. They really do not want to join a conference and nothing says they have to. SO you can just forget about it.


lawslady 2 years, 7 months ago

ANYONE who thinks Notre Dame is a viable option needs to back up and think it out from their stand point. They are happy and doing fine, just as they are. They are already dictating their own terms. And making a ton of money they do not have to share with anyone. And with far fewer restrictions. They have long been courted by all kinds of conferences. They have nothing to gain, and much to lose, by joining any conference. They really do not want to join a conference and nothing says they have to. SO you can just forget about it.


jgkojak 2 years, 7 months ago

Ten things Notre Dame gains the following by joining the B12:

1) They have to join a conference some time. Every conference that has a 9 game conf schedule loses a game to schedule Notre Dame, and most power teams have nothing to gain from playing a potential loss in the non-con. The day is coming when NDs sched looks like a CUSA team .

2) They don't want to be in the Big 10. They have made that clear. Its a little like Texas not wanting TCU in the B12 - they'll have 5-6 power football schools in close proximity, and they have enough trouble recruiting due to higher academic standards. Being in the B12 solves that problem.

3) They have/want their own network deals. The B10 will never allow them to maintain a national deal separate from their conference. That's what the B12 is all about!

4) Texas wants them. Texas wants a national fanbase - and ND would love a marquee game every year vs. Texas.

5) No championship game. A 10 team league is also appealing because they want a straight shot at a BCS/Nat Champ berth.

6) The Big East is deader than even the B12.

7) Basketball. The Big East schedule is brutal - because its bullsh*t. Its too long, there are too many mid-grade (i.e. #50 RPI) opponents and they'll never escape with less than 4-5 losses in the best year. Being in the B12 allows them to go for a 1 or 2 seed in good years.

8) POWER. If they join, they're a power like Texas and can essentially dictate their own terms. Since they don't share recruiting territory with Texas, Texas doesn't perceive them as a threat. In the B10 they're one of 13-16 teams on equal footing.

9) New TV markets. St Louis has a large Catholic population. Texas.

10) It'll piss off the B10.


justinryman 2 years, 7 months ago

Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, Hey hey hey



IrishDaddy 2 years, 7 months ago

The idea of Notre Same, the Biggest name in college football, joining the rubes of the "big" 12 is ridicules, FORGET about it !!


Jonathan Allison 2 years, 7 months ago

If the Big 12 can add Notre Dame, I'd guess they stop at 10 teams.

If the Big 12 can't add Notre Dame, they may go to 12 teams.

University of Houston has to be an option to replace Texas A&M. UH is building a new football stadium, and also has access to Reliant Stadium. And UH actually does have a pretty big following (especially when they are good). The UH athletic teams of the 80's and early 90's are legendary around the Houston area.


Maracas 2 years, 7 months ago

No more schools from Texas. Repeat after me. No more schools from Texas.


rob4lb 2 years, 7 months ago

Unless they can make a big splash by bringing in Notre Dame (which I seriously doubt), the Big 12 is just buying time by adding any other school from Texas or the Mountain West Conference.

It is always interesting to speculate, but I don't see the dominos falling that quickly. The SEC takes A&M and someone else- maybe Louisville or Va Tech or Florida State. That may be it. The Big East and/or ACC can choose to make a move or not by adding some non BCS schools.

If the SEC has 14 schools, the Big 10 and Pac 12 do not have to increase to 14 and probably won't. Only if the Big 12 completely collapses will you see the dominos fall rapidly.


5to6 2 years, 7 months ago

I also see consolidation on the horizon, but I'm not entirely convinced of the magic number of 4x16 as many have predicted. I could see the following:

  1. SEC completes expansion to 16 by grabbing VA Tech from ACC, aTm and Oklahoma St from the Big 12, and (surprise here) takes TCU to solidify the DFW market in TX. TCU is available because...

  2. ACC engulfs the football Big East by taking West Virginia, Pitt, UConn, Louisville, and Syracuse to get to 16 total. This expands them into geographically relevant markets, adds even more cachet to their basketball brand, and gets them solid football teams.

  3. Big 10 completes expansion to 16 by grabbing KU, OU, and MU from Big 12, plus Rutgers from Big East. This gets them into the NYC metro area as has been speculated previously, plus gets them big state schools in new markets with the Big 12 stragglers, including football power OU. The Nubs would probably welcome the Sooners back and be an advocate for this expansion, as they'd expect to handle KU and MU handily in football.

  4. Pac 12 only expands by 2 to 14, by taking Texas Tech from the Big 12, and (surprise) New Mexico from the Mountain West. aTm is already taken by the SEC, UT's Longhorn Network forces them finally to join ND and BYU as independents, leaving Tech as the last big school in TX for the Pac 12 to take. UNM is a questionable value add, but serves as a geographic bridge between old Pac 12 and makes a good rival for new members CU and TT.

  5. Mountain West reverses overall contraction, and expands to 9 with the addition of KSU, ISU, and Baylor.

  6. Conference USA adds remaining Big East football schools Cincinnati and South Florida. The remaining Big East basketball-only programs would then find new alliances with an expanded C-USA hoops league (similar to the current Big East) or perhaps some reshuffling/expansion of the A-10.


texashawk10 2 years, 7 months ago

There's going to be 68 teams with AQ affilitions (67 in conferences + Notre Dame) starting in 2012 and depending on if the Big East and Big 12 expand, you could see up to 75 teams with AQ status. If it gets to that point, I would think it would actually be easier to have five 16 team super conferences by finding 5 more schools than subtracting 11 universities because that could get expensive with the lawsuits that would ensue. Even if those schools lost the case, the legal fees would be ridiculously high. I think the Big East would eventually be the conference that disappears in this scenario with the ACC, Big 10, and Big 12 dividing up their schools.

For now, we know there will be 68 schools in 2012 and Texas A&M leaving for the SEC could be the trigger. To determine the 4 schools who would be left out in the cold and lose AQ status, you have to start with schools that are historically terrible at football. From that list of schools, you have find schools that are terrible at basketball or are a terrible geographic fit in the reshuffling.

There are 2 schools that immediately jump to mind for this and they are Iowa St. and Wake Forest.

Iowa St. has won 2 football conference titles all-time (1911 and 1912) and 10 basketball conference titles (4 tournament, 6 regular season)

Wake Forest is the smallest AQ school and has only won 2 football conference titles and 10 basketball titles (5 tournament, 5 regular season)

That means there would be 2 more schools that would get the boot, but I don't really have any particular schools in mind as to who could get left out in the cold.


Kent Wells 2 years, 7 months ago

I'd like Austin Peay and South Carolina to join the XII - (2-x), It would be fun to hear those chants. And don't even get me started about Morehead State. That is just a pipe dream.


Charlotte_Jhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Chris1955: I like your analysis, it seems the future is four 16 team conferences. It also provides a playoff opportunity. However your plan would leave Texas, BYU and ND out of the play off picture which would be a problem.

I just hope the KU football program improves. I like the current focus on speed. Maybe we can evolve to a Bill Walsh-like Stanford team (he always recruited track stars) or the STL Rams greatest show on turf. We also need some physical linebackers.


Josh Galler 2 years, 7 months ago

if TAMU leaves I think Big East, ACC, and Big 12 should talk to merge

Big 12 gets to make 14 TCU Louisville Cincy Pittsburgh WVU

and to add BYU and SMU or Houston or Airforce to make 16

ACC to 16 Rut UCONN Syracuse USF

Then rest of Big East to stay Big East, and ND would stay in the Big East with all other sports


Chris1955 2 years, 7 months ago

Oops II Boise St. should have replaced BYC in the Pac 16!


Chris1955 2 years, 7 months ago

Ooops! Forgot about Uconn. Substitute Uconn for Baylor!


Chris1955 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe another way to look at this is how many networks would/could have interest in a 16 team conference? ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC?

For argument's sake, lets drop NBC due to the Notre Dame connection. Therefore, let's say there are 4 bridegrooms. Four 16 team conferences with a total of 64 BCS eligible universities. There are three firm conferences that I don't see imploding. These would be the SEC, PAC-whatever, and the Big WHATEVER (formerly Big TEN). That means that the conferences vying for the 4th position are our conference (Big XII), ACC, and Big East.

The Big XII is falling apart and its components lend themselves to scavanged by other conferences. This leaves the ACC as the next most viable conference, which I believe will also suffer at the hands of the SEC. The Big East is not a football powerhouse conference. This leads to the creation of the Trans America Conference. I'm going to predict that Notre Dame, Texas, and BYU will become independents.

My Crystal Ball foresees the following allignment, resulting in 67 BCS eligible teams:


S. Carolina Auburn
Mississippi Miss. St.
Texas A&M
Florida State

Big 16

Penn. St. Ohio St. Michigan Mich. St. Purdue Indiana Illinois Northwestern Wisconsin Iowa Minnesota Nebraska Rutgers Pittsburgh Missouri Kansas

Pac 16

Washington Wash. St. Oregon Oregon St. California Stanford UCLA USC Arizona Arizona St. Utah Colorado Oklahoma BYU Ok. St. Texas Tech

Trans America

Boston College Syracuse West Virginia Maryland Virginia Virginia Tech North Carolina NC St. Duke Miami TCU Louisville Cincinnati Baylor Kansas St. Iowa St.

Feel free to fire away!


Robert Brock 2 years, 7 months ago

Please, no more Texas schools. Especially SMU. Ford Stadium has a capacity of 32,000. Moody Arena has a capacity of 9,000. They don't have men's track & field. Not a serious athletic bunch at SMU. Cute cheerleaders as a consolation.


Ben Kliewer 2 years, 7 months ago

Houston seems like the most likely candidate, but I agree that we need to talk "expansion" back to at least 12 teams. It just kind of sucks that we have to expand to get back to where we were in the first place (of the Big 12 conference's existence, that is). Joining the Big 12 would be awesome for SMU, but not really any kind of great pickup for the conference. I wonder if there would be any awkward moments where Dan Beebe and SMU pass each other in the hallway and have the old "Oh,'s's it going?" awkward smalltalk. (Sports History Joke, did you get it?) Air Force, I guess it would be good to have a military school in the conference, just for that whole idea of being associated with a military school, but Air Force's football prestige isn't really a big score. Notre Dame is a long shot, but that's the kind of action we need to be going for. BYU would be a good pickup too. Louisville would fit great in the conference in both Football and Basketball, but it sounds like they're not interested...hmmmmmm. I'd love TCU, but it doesn't sound like that's even close to being on the table.


tychi_jayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I love how everyone becomes a NCAA expert when conference realignment burns through the headlines. The simple fact is money talks. Anyone who says "they'll never go there" truly has no clue how big time universities operate. If the dollars are there, anything can happen.

I do like the message coming from the Big12. Beebe has stated they'll aggressively pursue other options. To me that means "We are not going to be left standing without a chair when the 16 team power conference music stops.". I like that. Take the offensive. Let the Big East and ACC get torn apart. Everyone thinks that because the Big12 is wounded they're as good as dead.

Its like Game of Thrones: everyone thinks House Stark is gone but you know they're coming back! King of the North!


KU_Alumn_2000 2 years, 7 months ago

Missouri State makes a lot of sense to join the Big 12.

They have a student enrollment of almost 19,000. They have a brand new basketball facility...JQH Arena.

The only draw back is that they would have to expand their football stadium...which is a little small right now.

Arkansas will not leave the SEC.


newmedia 2 years, 7 months ago

Arkansas would be an easy drive...


Krohnutz 2 years, 7 months ago

I can't wait for this to happen. I'm actually stoked that this is finally happening.

If the Big 12 implodes I'm fine with that.

"Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation."

Let's give it a good shake and see what falls out!


hawkbono1313 2 years, 7 months ago

A&M in SEC is the death of A&M football.


texashawk10 2 years, 7 months ago

Notre Dame absolutely has to be the first school Commissioner Dodds (yes I know officially it's Beebe) calls when the Big 12 decides to expand. Landing Notre Dame would guarantee that the Big 12 would be able to expand to 16 teams and be one of the four superconferences when that happens. That said, I just don't see anyway Notre Dame joins the Big 12. If they ever join a conference (I think they will when the superconferences form), it will either be the Big 10 or Big East with the Big 10 the more likely choice.

Here's what I got out of the 4 articles linked to in this article. SMU and Houston both want to be in a BCS conference, but the only way either of them gets an invite to the Big 12 is if the conference goes to 12 teams, with Houston being the more likely choice as a 12th member. Louisville isn't going to jump ship unless it's to the SEC because they are a basketball first school and are in a basketball conference. Lastly, Notre Dame is the clear top choice for Big 12 expansion followed by BYU and Air Force because all three add a following outside of the immediate area around their campuses.

I think these 4 articles do paint a picture that the Big 12 is Texas and Oklahoma along with a bunch of interchangeable parts and based on past articles over the last few weeks, Texas and OU both like having Kansas around because of basketball. While the Big 12 would prefer to expand outside of their current footprint, I do think they will have to add at least 1 Texas school if they expand back to 12 teams.


kureader 2 years, 7 months ago

One Poll's Preseason Football Rankings - 120 Teams

1 - Oklahoma 6 - Oklahoma State 12 - Texas A&M 15 - TCU 28 - Texas 32 - Air Force 39 - BYU 52 - Houston 53 - SMU 85 - Kansas 94 - Colorado State


Krohnutz 2 years, 7 months ago

We should get Colorado so we can capture the Denver market. Then we could expand our markets to Lincoln by adding in Nebraska.

Wait, wait... Where is my "smokin' device?" I'll come up with a third soon.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 7 months ago

Stop it! Stop it! Stop it with the name game! From now on anyone that suggest a team without saying the following sentence will be deleted:

I cannot wait to watch the (name of team) play tonight.

This is about TV dollars and 99.9% of the teams people are mentioning don't fit for drawling revenue. Just because the school is in a large market doesnt mean people care to watch them play And the .1% will be joining the big10.


Steve Hillyer 2 years, 7 months ago

Nobody in Denver watches CSU, their stadium barely seats 30,000. The only schools that make sense are BYU and ND, good luck on both of those. KU administrators better be talking to some other conferences or we're toast. Hopefully we can squeeze into the Big Ten or Pac Ten.


Kevin Randell 2 years, 7 months ago

I wouldn't put it past them to focus on BYU, Air Force or Colorado State, and SMU. That will probably be the prudent and financial decision. That way the conference picks up the Salt Lake and Denver markets.


chicagojayhawk87 2 years, 7 months ago

Notre Dame, BYU and Air Force would be great... Except there is absolutely no chance of Notre Dame. They turned down the Big 10! If we want to keep the Big12 alive longer than another 2 seasons we gotta get BYU and Air Force. BYU would be a great addition being a solid basketball and football school, Air Force not so bad either. SMU...meh, but I can't see TCU leaving the Big East. Louisville...I don't see us getting them either. What about CFU. I know Florida is a long ways away, but we get the Orlando market and a top 20 football team. Just throwing some more ideas out there.


Clarence Haynes 2 years, 7 months ago

A Golden Dome buddy of mine says "ND football "income" is on the north-end of $75,000,000 with an endowment of $8,000,000,000 to feed and house a school of 12,000 students---undergrad and graduate. We have scheduled both Texas and Oklahoma in the coming years and may even have a football team that can match up. Money on the margin is not the issue--this place is different…or weird…take your pick Right now, the big fight is whether to install turf grass and/or a Jumbotron…and the battle is vicious!"


Tracy Rogers 2 years, 7 months ago

The Big 12 won't even exist in about 5 or 6 years. There will be 4 "super" conferences of 16 teams, and I'd wager to bet that they'll be the Pac 10, Big 10, SEC, and either ACC or Big East.


Kevin Randell 2 years, 7 months ago

These are all good and valid points, but in the end OU and Texas will not settle for a 10 team conference. There is a movement/arms race in college football slowly developing. If the BCS is still allowed to run the Championship and there is not a legit playoff system, we will see the development of 4 mega conferences composing of 16 teams in each conference. The rest of the teams will be left out. So...unless we be proactive OU and Texas will jump ship. The next few years will determine either the expansion of the Big XII or the death of it.


omari1911 2 years, 7 months ago

Don't Mess With Texas... er, uh... Texas Is a Mess.

Seems to me that none of the prospects from the state of Texas will work out. Either UT is going to have a problem with them horning in on their business (no pun intended), or they just won't have much to offer the league in terms (e.g., SMU).


kureader 2 years, 7 months ago

BYU, maybe Air Force. It would be nice to add 3 and resume a 12 school league. I guess with BYU, there would be two Big 12 schools that don't allow boys to see girls after 10 pm.

SMU ... Like TCU, Texas won't want them. We wouldn't want SMU either, but I'd be really pleased if we could just add their cheerleaders somehow.

Notre Dame won't move. They're thumbed their noses at the Big 10 a number of times. And, its basketball team is already in the Big East.

Houston ... I hope not ... we have more than enough Texas schools.

Fun speculation. The Big 12 is ready for this one, after the mess we went through last year. It will work out fine.


Keith Richards 2 years, 7 months ago

What does Notre Dame gain by joining the Big12-3?

They already play a better schedule being independent They already have their 'own' network in NBC They already make a ton of money.


edjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Why does no one mention Boise?


edjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Then I guess SMU is out of the picture since they are also in Dallas?


Kevin Randell 2 years, 7 months ago

I though TCU has committed to the Big East? Look, A&M....I am not heart broken over them leaving. But I agree....we need to get back to a 12 or even a 14 team conference. I would love to add BYU, Air Force, SMU, and try for Notre Dame...which is a long shot. Louisville would be a great Football AND Basketball add.


Randy Maxwell 2 years, 7 months ago

Why not court TCU? Dallas area is a plus. Great football.


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