College sports insider reveals when Texas and Oklahoma may leave the Big 12 for the SEC.
Oh, it’s going to be so awkward, but do not expect for Texas and Oklahoma to bounce for the SEC any sooner than 2024.
Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman revealed that it is infinitely more likely that the Longhorns and Sooners will bolt for the SEC in 2024 than in 2023. With Cincinnati, Houston and UCF all joining BYU as official league members on July 1, 2023, the Big 12 will have 14 teams for one year. There are reasons to delay leaving, but sometimes, you just gotta rip the band-aid off.
In the meantime, the Red River rivals may get road trips to Cincinnati, Houston, Orlando and Provo before peacing out on the Big 12 entirely. The big question is should they stay or should they go in 2023?
Oklahoma, Texas may play in 14-team Big 12 for one year before leaving in 2024
Besides building up a Dallas Cowboys-level hype machine, the biggest reason for Oklahoma and Texas to delay entry into the SEC is recruitment. Equate this to a program leveling up from the FCS to the Group of Five, if you will. It is not a scholarship increase these Big 12 blue-bloods have to worry about. It is avoiding being Dawg food, Tiger bait and getting trampled by crimson elephants.
Honestly, Oklahoma and Texas will get worked immediately upon arrival in the SEC. Yes, one could have a 2012 Texas A&M-level season out of the gate, but that team did have Johnny Football to catch the SEC by storm. Eventually, Texas A&M, and to some degree Missouri, found its footing in the new league. Unfortunately, the Longhorns and the Sooners have to scale the mountain first.
Initially, OU is in better shape to make the quantum leap for three reasons. One, the Sooners have made the College Football Playoff with great regularity before. Two, incoming head coach Brent Venables was a massive part in why Clemson is operating at its apex under Dabo Swinney. And three, it is a better-run operation overall when compared to their Red River Showdown rivals.
As far as the Longhorns are concerned, they gotta play up. No one is going to kiss their rings from yesteryear because four SEC teams have won national titles more recently than them (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU). They may find themselves in a weird spot fighting for mid-tier bowl games with the likes of Mississippi State and South Carolina. It will be humbling, but it will be necessary.
Ultimately, they are only hurting themselves by delaying the inevitable. Texas and Oklahoma are giving their current players one less year to play SEC football, as well as one less opportunity for guys in the portal to hop on and join one of the new kids in town in the best conference college football has to offer. They cannot dip their toes into the pool here, they have to jump in no regrets.
Any semblance of timidity will leave the Longhorns and Sooners exposed and totally vulnerable.