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Is The Big Xll 'BIG' Enough To Be Considered Power-Five Following The Departure of Oklahoma & Texas?


Some people feel that Big 12's future Power-Five status goes without saying. I'm not buying it, though. The new teams are not going to close the deal. The AAC never achieved power status, so why would these teams make the difference in the Big 12? That Power-Five mojo has to come from the remaining members. If it doesn't come from there, then where?

Many Questions, Few Answers

The overall effect of losing Oklahoma and Texas is hard to calculate. Though, It's much more than their absence from the available bowl stock. Two blue-bloods will also be missing from the Big 12's annual resumes. This may be a more significant factor than some think. In 2011, many felt that Oklahoma State should have played LSU for the BCS Title. But would that have been the case without their 44-10 win over #10 Oklahoma? Or their road wins at #8 Texas A&M and #22 Texas? Without the Oklahoma and Texas brands pervading the conference, would there have even been a TCU - Baylor argument in 2014?

"Texas and Oklahoma put the Big XII on its deathbed. The AAC could kill it."


How Much Does BYU Help?

BYU is the only national brand of the Big XII after 2025, but will that be enough? The Big Xll will remain a valued conference, just as the AAC currently commands respect. But we're not talking about value, at least not in that regard; we're talking about Power Status. That crazy little intangible determines whether your teams get real consideration from the CFP committee.

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"I think BYU is certainly a national brand, in the same ilk as Notre Dame"

-Joe Schad

It's All About Perception, Right?

TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State are all fair brands; throw in Houston, UCF, Cincinnati, and BYU… You now have a solid product. Unfortunately, though, there is no single elite program in the entire bunch. West Virginia is a top 50 program, but they rarely deliver in the modern era. Still, they are historically the highest-rated Big XII team in the absence of Texas and Oklahoma. Kansas State is solid, and Texas Tech has had a moment or two. The problem is, nothing jumps out as an Oklahoma / Texas replacement. It's just not there, no matter how you slice it.

All Power Conferences Have National Titles In The Last 25 Seasons

In every power conference, there is at least one elite program. In the SEC, it's Alabama, Florida, LSU, and Georgia. Crazy as it sounds; even Tennessee has had a national title in the last 25 years. In the ACC, it's Clemson, Miami, and FSU; all three have national titles in the previous 25 seasons. The B1G Ten has Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Nebraska, three of which have had three titles in the last 25 years. And yes, even the PAC has championships in that period, USC with two and a few near misses.

Oklahoma and Texas also have titles in the last 25 seasons, and they've played for four additional titles during that span. But once Oklahoma and Texas are out, the Xll's highest-rated become West Virginia and BYU. Though neither would be higher than 2nd or 3rd Tier by any standard, this is where the case is lost.

By 2025, the Xll's most recent championship will be 1984 BYU. To find another, you'd have to go back to 1938 TCU. We can count UCF's Colley-Matrix "title" from 2017; even Oklahoma State's suspiciously crafted coaches poll "title" from 1945 if it makes us feel better. But there's still the reality that we must contend with.


The talking heads will not proclaim the Xll a group of five conferences, nor will anyone else of importance. It doesn't matter what they say; they will not be treated as a power conference once Oklahoma and Texas are out. Does that mean that the Xll is entirely out of the playoff picture? No. Even the AAC eventually made the playoffs. It won't be a frequent event, but it will happen occasionally.

The more pressing issue is not whether the Big Xll will remain a power conference, but will they be able to fend off other power leagues from looting their members? Because even though they will not have a single elite team, there are still a few attractive programs for the taking.