A while back during The Great Conference Realignment Apocalypse of 2010, news broke that if the Big 12 splintered, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri could be candidates to join the Big East. We broke down what the conference could have looked liked and it actually kinda, sorta worked for football and basketball.
The other day Brett McMurphy quoted a source that admitted the Big East was even further along than thought and had pre-approved the four schools for membership.
Of course that didn't happen, the Big 12 remained together (minus two teams) and the Big East moved to gobble up TCU instead.
This could all just be a footnote in an otherwise crazy time in college sports. However, yesterday's rumors of Texas A&M making a strong play to join the SEC brought the dissolution of the Big 12 back into the forefront.
The rumor might not be true but even if there's no smoke, there's fire. A&M and many other Big 12 schools are pissed off at Texas and the way the Longhorns basically run the conference at this point. The Longhorn Network is clearly going to give UT a competitive and recruiting advantage over schools like A&M and so the best thing for them to do might be to look elsewhere.
Any betting person would tell you the Big 12 is not long for this Earth. It might not dissolve this year but the way the college landscape is changing, it's only a matter of time. If Texas decides to go it alone one day (which I wouldn't put past them), the Big 12 teams will scatter. Conversely, if schools like A&M and Oklahoma make pre-emptive moves, the conference goes as well.
If the Big East is still hovering at nine football schools at that point, one must wonder...will Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri suddenly be back in the expansion picture?
For one of those schools, the journey would unfortunately end there. The easy guess is that it would be Iowa State. As much as Kansas State plays in no man's land, they're probably a package deal with Kansas. And between Missouri and Iowa State, you gotta go with Mizzou.
Can you imagine adding Kansas to the Big East? Good lord. Though if we did add them and Syracuse beat them in Lawrence, we'd probably have to get used to hearing Andy Katz exclaim, "Syracuse won't play West of the Colorado River until March. Unbelievable"
Again, this is all conjecture and nowhere near close to happening. That said, if I'm Villanova or UCF, I'm keeping an eye on this and pushing to get into the conference sooner than later.