While Texas and Oklahoma have yet to announce the necessary steps in departing from the Big 12 and moving to the SEC, the entire college sports world has already been pondering the next moves in this dramatic era of conference realignment. One of the most pivotal topics to discuss has been the fates of the remaining eight Big 12 teams after Texas and Oklahoma do officially notify the league of their intention to leave, and it appears the American Athletic Conference may be ready to provide a solution.
According to The Athletic, citing high-ranking sources within the AAC, the conference “plans to act as an aggressor” and “will try to poach the Big 12’s leftovers, potentially as a group.”
In 2016, the Big 12 explored expansion with a reported 17 schools invited to make their pitch to the league. That group included multiple teams from the AAC with Cincinnati and Houston among the reported favorites in the final stages of decision making. The Big 12 ultimately opted against expansion, and now, as the entire college football world seems ready to be turned on its head, the AAC might not be as much of a place to find new members as it is a place for remaining Big 12 teams to lock down a new home.
The Big 12 held a conference call this week to address the Texas-Oklahoma reports — representatives from the two schools did not attend — as the league begins to explore its next steps. If any more teams decide to follow in Texas and Oklahoma’s footsteps before the league can boost its membership with new additions, the AAC will be well-positioned to offer a stable home for those schools remaining in the Big 12.