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What Merging the AAC and Big 12 Might Look Like

Here’s what this league could look like.

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As Texas and OU make their dramatic exit from the Big 12 and leave behind eight of its members, the AAC is reportedly interested in being aggressive in pursuing teams from the Big 12 and Pac-12 to add to its ranks.

Let’s say their efforts with the former return successful. What might a Big 12/AAC merger look like under the ACC umbrella?

Here’s one scenario.

Two divisions, one super-league

North and South makes the most sense, right? Sure, North and South. So in the North division, you could have ….

Oklahoma State
Tulsa
Temple
Cincinnati
Iowa State
Kansas
East Carolina
Kansas State
West Virginia

In the South division, you could have …

Houston
SMU
Navy
Baylor
TCU
Texas Tech
UCF
USF
Tulane

Throw Memphis in either division and that’s not a bad proposal (though it is obviously uneven at 19.)

Or you could do one better and find landing spots for Temple, Navy and ECU elsewhere to trim the fat and get to a round 16. That leaves you with:

NORTH

Oklahoma State
Tulsa
Cincinnati
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
West Virginia
Memphis

SOUTH

Houston
SMU
Baylor
TCU
Texas Tech
UCF
USF
Tulane

Do I love it? Nope. Not one bit. Is it a good league? I mean, maybe! Might be a pretty dangerous league on the hardwood. TBD on football, but there’s a pretty clear hierarchy that OSU would have to feel pretty good about being competitive in this league. Heck, there’d be expectations of it being the best in football and top-3 annually in basketball, too (though in hoops you would get Wichita State).

If the AAC is ultra-aggressive and successful in its pursuit of other major conference programs from the Big 12 or Pac-12, it could indeed be a discussion worth having. Financially, it’s in a strong place. And generally the league — unlike the Big 12 — isn’t teetering on not existing amid this latest round of realignment. Attaching your program to the AAC isn’t a sexy option, especially compared to where OU and Texas are headed, but there are probably worse alternatives out there and from a competitive standpoint, it could be appealing to be one of the banner programs in the league.

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