Could the Oklahoma football program be considering joining up with the nation’s best football conference?
Multiple news outlets reported on Wednesday that Oklahoma and Texas have been in discussion with the Southeastern Conference, commonly known as the SEC, about transferring their affiliation.
The Houston Chronicle first reported this story, stating that an announcement about this potential blockbuster move could be coming in the next few weeks. As you might imagine, the Chronicle’s story, by reporter Brent Zwerneman, lit up the media landscape and sent rumors flying throughout the social media world.
Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione denied the report, telling reporters and subsequently picked up on the Indianapolis Star website:
“No. Come on, man. I don’t even want to be associated with rumormongering. It seems like Groundhog Day.”
The OU AD went on to add, “We’re watching the changing landscape like everybody else. We’re trying to manage all the new things coming our way like everybody else and learning as we go.”
If Oklahoma were to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, the Sooners would be joining what is widely believed to be the strongest football conference at the highest level of college football. The addition of Oklahoma and Texas would only strengthen that assertion and it would set up the SEC as a super conference.
On the plus side, the Sooners and Longhorns would also be reunited with former Big 12 foes Texas A&M and Missouri.
There is no question that such a development would dramatically change the college football landscape. Whether it would be good for the future of college football is open to conjecture.
For the Sooners, however, the outcome wouldn’t be that promising. Oklahoma would no longer be the football powerhouse and king of Big 12 football they are currently. OU would be regularly competing against the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Florida for a conference championship.
Given those hurdles, the likelihood of an expansion of the College Football Playoff would be the most logical way Oklahoma would be able to make the playoff. Under the current four-team format, the chances would seem to be severely limited, compared with the current situation.
A decade ago, Oklahoma and several other Big 12 teams considered leaving the conference and joining the Pac-12. The proposal was for the Sooners, Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-12, but an agreement was never consummated and, frankly, that was the prudent decision.
That was during the time frame when four Big 12 schools departed the conference and pledged their allegiance to other Power Five conferences. The resulting realignment left the Big 12 with 10 teams instead of the original 12.
The idea of having to watch the Sooners in the late-night TV window was never something Oklahoma fans relished. And thank goodness that never became reality.
The Sooners have said in the past they wouldn’t consider leaving the Big 12 unless in-state rival Oklahoma State was also a part of it. This does not appear to be the case if there is validity to the alleged discussions with the SEC.
But as intriguing as an Oklahoma affiliation with the all-powerful SEC would seem, the Sooners actually are better off remaining just as they are, with the conference with which they have been affiliated for the past 102 years.