We haven’t had a really juicy college football realignment rumor in a while. That changed on Wednesday afternoon, when Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle dropped a bombshell: Apparently, Big 12 powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma reached out to the SEC about potentially joining the conference.
The thing with these rumors is they pop up a whole heck of a lot, and 99 percent of the time, nothing comes of them — universities opt to stick in the conference where they’ve been forever, with the established rivalries and ways of doing things they all know. But shortly after Zwerneman’s report hit the Twitterverse, a wave of additional reporting came in to indicate that this could actually happen.
Talking to sources right now about Texas and OU possibly headed to the SEC.
There's definite fire, not smoke.
— Geoff Ketchum (@gkketch) July 21, 2021
A source w/ direct connection to discussions tells me Texas and OU to the SEC has, "a lot of momentum."
Texas administrators approached the SEC and it was discussed at length at the last SEC meetings.
"They (Texas/OU) know the Big 12 never is going to last."
— John P. Lopez (@LopezOnSports) July 21, 2021
As for the Big 12, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported that decision makers in the conference are, as of now, unaware of what the Longhorns and Sooners are doing, and think it wouldn’t necessarily be a good decision.
Any notion of OU and Texas going to the SEC would be news to the Big 12. There's a feeling it wouldn't make sense competitively, as there'd be a much more difficult road to the College Football Playoff.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) July 21, 2021
As for official comments from the schools themselves, they certainly aren’t doing a lot to shut down the reporting.
A Texas spokesman has this statement about the SEC rumors: "Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation."
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) July 21, 2021
Everything comes down to the almighty dollar, and if there is anything that comes of this, it would, almost assuredly, stem from the fact that both universities believe jumping ship — particularly with a 12-team playoff on the way, which theoretically means they wouldn’t miss out entirely if they lost a regular season game to, say, Alabama — see a gigantic financial windfall from this sort of move. Making things even juicier is the Texas-Texas A&M non-rivalry rivalry, with the two teams refusing to play each other since the Aggies bounced for the SEC. When asked at SEC Media Days about the rumor, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher had a tremendous response.
"I bet they would" – Jimbo Fisher when asked about the report Texas & Oklahoma want to join the SEC pic.twitter.com/hpoBL08I2W
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) July 21, 2021
Will it happen? Who knows! Realignment rumors in college football are as frequent as Big Ten head coaches opting to punt on fourth-and-1 from the opposing team’s 36. Texas has even been involved in these sorts of rumors on several occasions in the past. But with a 12-team playoff on the horizon and schools always looking for ways to make more money via their college football programs — especially now that there’s a competitive advantage to letting players profit as much as they possibly can off of the new name, image, and likeness rules — perhaps something will come of this.