Here is the latest Big 12 Conference sports news from The Associated Press | Football


MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Big 12 Conference sprung from the old Big Eight, a bunch of entirely public and largely agricultural schools. Now, the busy Power Five conference is adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, and four more schools are poised to join next year, creating a footprint that will soon stretch from the sands of Florida to Arizona. The ties that bound so many of the schools are long gone, emblematic of the lost allegiances in college football in general. Shared history and cultural norms, along with geographic sensibilities, have been cast aside as leagues such as the Big 12 pursue every last dollar to fund not just their football and basketball teams but their entire athletic programs.

PROVO, Utah (AP) — BYU’s path to the Big 12 started with an unorthodox decision. The Cougars left the Mountain West in 2011 to play as an independent in football. BYU for 12 seasons cobbled together oddball schedules and racked up travel miles. The Cougars had the specific purpose of maintaining and perhaps even reviving a dormant national brand. Independence helped get more eyeballs on BYU football through an eight-year deal with ESPN. It also might have helped land the Cougars in the Big 12.

UNDATED (AP) — Welcome to the final season of college football as we know it. That might sound extreme, but 2023 has an end-of-an-era feel. Texas and Oklahoma are taking their last lap in the Big 12. The Pac-12 is still a Power Five conference. Will it even be a conference in 2024? The College Football Playoff is a four-team event for the last time this year, before tripling in size. Before the maps are redrawn and the stakes are remade, there is one more season to left to appreciate what is being lost — or long for what’s being gained.

UNDATED (AP) — The Big 12 Conference is bigger than ever this season with 14 teams. That includes newcomers BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF in the final season for No. 11 Texas and No. 20 Oklahoma before they go to the Southeastern Conference. The Longhorns and Sooners are the only remaining conference members with national championships in football. The Big 12’s future was in question two summers ago. But the conference added the four teams starting play this year, and next year will bring in four teams that are now in their final Pac-12 seasons.

UNDATED (AP) — The four newcomers in the Big 12 Conference brought some huge student bodies into the league, and some long trips too. The league now has 14 schools spread across eight states, from West Virginia to Florida to Utah. Those numbers will increase next year when it will be 16 teams in 10 states. UCF with nearly 60,000 undergraduate students has the largest enrollment for Big 12 schools, surpassing Texas for the most. With just over 10,000 undergrads, TCU is the smallest. But the Horned Frogs made the College Football Playoff national championship game last season.

UNDATED (AP) — The days of the Air Raid dominating the Big 12 might be over. In less than a decade, the league has gone from having more than half the conference running some version of the system to dominating opponents on the ground. Five of the 18 running backs taken in April’s draft came from the Big 12. Reasons for the shift include changes in coaching, available talent and the fact that so many schools ran the Air Raid that they have become adept at defending it. That in turn has led to new, more balanced ways of running the system.

UNDATED (AP) — This will be the last season for some of the Big 12’s biggest rivalry games. There will be no more Bedlam in the Big 12, and the Red River game between Oklahoma and Texas will be in the SEC after those schools switch leagues next year. The Sooners and Oklahoma State have met for Bedlam 117 times since 1904, but have no games scheduled after this season. Same for Baylor against Texas in a series that has been played annually for a century. The Red River game will carry on at the State Fair of Texas, just not in the Big 12 after this season.

UNDATED (AP) — During the final season of the College Football Playoff’s four-team format, the empires will strike back. Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma dominated CFP appearances and their conferences for seven years, but combined to earn two playoff bids the past two seasons while Georgia and Michigan have been on the rise. To predict a national title for anyone other than the two-time defending champion Bulldogs feels like just trying to be different. Then again, no team has ever won three straight. And Alabama has never gone more than three seasons without a title under Nick Saban.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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