Who Should Big 12 Get to Replace Texas A&M if They Leave?
I give my list on the best replacements for the Aggies if they leave the Big 12 for the SEC.
This all depends on every other member of the Big 12 staying put after the Aggies leave. I'll run down the pros, cons and likelihood of the proposed replacements. The numbers indicate what would be the Big 12's desire for each team/teams
1.LSU/Arkansas/Every other member of the SEC West:
Pros: Great fit geographically, culturally and competitively on all playing fields. They would instantly add eyeballs to TV sets, expand the Big 12's geographic footprint and add prestige.
Cons: Hard to find any cons here...
Likelihood: ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, 0/100 No team in the SEC is going to leave the stability, prestige, and financing of the SEC to come to a conference that has been downsized for consecutive seasons. If they have learned anything from Nebraska and Colorado, Texas will run this conference in the direction that benefits the Longhorns the most. Arkansas/LSU will not leave the equal revenue sharing of the SEC to be put under the heel of UT.
Pros: They come from another BCS conference. They would expand the Big 12's geographic presence. Cincinnati would add a Big 12 presence in bigger markets such as Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Big 12 would be able to access Ohio recruiting. Louisville has been expanding rapidly and looks to continue that trend. They would be competitive in all sports. Either would expand the Big 12 into the Eastern Time Zone.
Cons: Both would increase travel expenses, marginally. Neither carries the same prestige associated with Texas A&M. There may also be some culture clash with the fans.
Likelihood: 20/80. The Big East has proven their desire to exist and not be left in the dust by adding TCU, so I don't see the Big East letting two of their most prominent football schools abandon the conference.
3. TCU/SMU/Houston/Tulsa/Any Texas School:
Pros: They all would be eager to be a part of an AQ BCS conference. They wouldn't make any waves and would be very faithful. All these teams (except TCU) would be an easy win for most of the current Big 12 Schools. They would be a cheap replacement, as far as travel expenses go, for the other schools. They all have ties to the other current Big 12 Texas schools and Oklahoma schools.
Cons: None of these teams add any market value. All the markets in Texas and Oklahoma are completely saturated with Longhorns, Sooners and Red Raider fans. None of these teams could be a long term replacement, they would all just be quick fixes. Their facilities are beneath Big 12 standards. This would, essentially, create a SWC II... and we know how well that ended.
Likelihood: 80/20. With the leadership in place, I doubt any giant strides would be made to find a legitimate long term replacement, so these schools would be an easy replacement. All these schools would be fairly easy to snatch away from their respective conferences and, most importantly, they would make UT happy.
Pros: BYU immediately adds a huge market with the Mormon religion. They would create diversity amongst the fans and increase the geographic presence of the Big 12. They would also be competitive in all sports and the Big 12 wouldn't take that big of a hit, prestige wise.
Cons: None of their teams play on Sunday and that would immediately cause a headache, as far as scheduling goes. Without Colorado in the Big 12 anymore, BYU would not be close to any current member. The travel expenses would be great for the Olympic sports.
Likelihood: 30/70. BYU fought hard to get out of the MWC to become an Independent and I doubt their eagerness to jump into bed with another conference
Pros: Same geographic pros of Louisville and Cincinnati, but to a lesser extent. Nevada would expand the Big 12's market value into a new state. They would be as happy as Tulsa or SMU to be in a BCS conference and wouldn't cause any problems. The Wolf Pack would be on par with Iowa State and Kansas on the football field.
Cons:Not nearly as prestigious as Texas A&M and the Big 12 would take a hit in public opinion (as if that's possible). Their facilities aren't up to snuff. It would be expensive and difficult to add the Wolf Pack in the Olympic sports.
Likelihood: 30/70. Nevada should be a fairly appealing choice. More so that any school in Texas or Oklahoma. Unfortunately, I don't see the leadership in the Big 12 being able to secure this type of school.
All in all, I see the Big 12 falling apart. I think the Big East, Big 10 and Pac 12 plunder the Big 12 and take the most desired schools: OU, OSU, Texas Tech, Missouri and the Kansas schools, with UT going independent. If that doesn't happen, Louisville and Cincinnati should be first choice replacements. Both schools add the most of the serious available options. However, I don't see either school leaving the Big East. The Big 12 will likely pick up Houston to try and replace A&M's presence in the Houston market, or one of the other non BCS schools in Texas.