Kansas State coach Chris Klieman says he was never worried the Big 12 would disband or become irrelevant, even with the lingering questions about the conference’s future when Oklahoma and Texas head to the Southeastern Conference.
“I knew none of that was true,” Klieman said.
The Big 12’s swift response to expand with the additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston certainly helped answer a lot of those questions and created some stability moving forward for the league that some didn’t think would survive the departures of its only football national champions.
“We got four really good programs. ... I think it solidifies the Big 12 is as a power conference that’s here to stay for the long haul,” Klieman said Monday during the first Big 12 coaches’ teleconference of the season.
Only six weeks after Oklahoma and Texas accepted invitations to join the SEC by 2025, the Big 12 added four schools that will join its league before then. BYU, now playing as an independent in football, will start Big 12 play for the 2023 football season, with the three American Athletic Conference schools coming in no later than 2024.
Oklahoma and Texas, which fell out of the Top 25 after a 40-21 loss at future SEC foe Arkansas, have said they will honor their current contracts with the Big 12 and do not plan to join the SEC until 2025, when the conference’s current television rights contracts expire with ESPN and Fox.
The Sooners are the league’s only team to make the four-team College Football Playoff. And while they have lost in the semifinals in each of their four appearances, they have dominated the Big 12, winning the last six conference titles and 14 of 25 overall.
This is the 11th season the Big 12 has been a 10-team league playing round-robin conference schedules, since the last significant realignment a decade ago that over a two-year period saw the departures of charter members Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M, along with the additions of TCU and West Virginia.