Conference realignment has been a hot topic recently sparked by debate that the Big 12 is at a disadvantage with 10 teams and if it doesn't expand it's going to die. What if the worst happened though? What if the Big 12 imploded and Oklahoma State had to find a new home? The world would not be over as OSU would likely join another one of the power five conferences. In this breakdown we'll look at the toughest program to compete with, the likeliest foe from the conference to become rivals with, the most interesting potential match-up, and on a scale of 1-10 how likely OSU is to contend right away in that new conference.
From a personal fan standpoint, the ACC is the least appealing of the other four conferences simply because there are not as many big name schools. It still would be very interesting to see how the Pokes would perform. The travel would be a bit of an issue as they would be playing most of their away games along the East Coast, but on the other hand, could you imagine Miami coming to BPS?
Toughest Program to Compete with: Florida State Seminoles
This one could've been between Florida State and Miami but because of current relevance, Florida State got the nod. Currently the Cowboys don't share any common recruiting grounds with the Seminoles (though you could argue Texas), so that would not be too much of a problem. However, if the Cowboys wanted to try to enter those recruiting grounds they would have some stiff competition in the 'noles. The Seminoles also made the CFP last year and are probably the favorites to win the ACC again. Although OSU had some success against them last year, this would be a tough team to play on a yearly basis.
Likeliest Rival: Clemson Tigers
This was a tough one because no program jumps to mind in terms of one that would rival OSU's. Clemson would be an interesting rival because they, like Oklahoma State, seem to always be lurking in the conference. The talent level of the programs would create an interesting match-up. Plus, imagine traveling to Death Valley every other year.
Most interesting potential match-up: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame is an Independent school. However they signed a deal with the ACC and play five members of the ACC a year in football. Could you imagine how fun it would be to see the Fighting Irish coming out of the opposing tunnel in BPS?
Ability to contend right away (out of 10): 7
The Big Ten plays a different brand of football, sometimes boring, but it also produced the National champions last year. Joining the Big Ten would allow the Pokes to rekindle a match-up with former Big 12 member Nebraska. Stock up on winter coats if this move ever happens.
Toughest Program to Compete with: Ohio State Buckeyes
Does this really need much explanation? The defending national champions and perennial powerhouse would be incredibly difficult to compete with in the Big Ten. They're expected to win the league this year and who knows when they'll slow down. Plus, obviously, tOSU vs. OSU.
Likeliest Rival: Nebraska Cornhuskers
I feel like I'm cheating by saying Nebraska but I think they're the best choice. There is history between these teams and seeing as they would both have come from the Big 12 that would be grounds enough to start some kind of beef. The games before Nebraska left were pretty competitive, with the 2010 game in particular coming to mind.
Most interesting potential match-up: Michigan Wolverines
They've been down recently but can you imagine playing in the Big House on a Saturday Night? Just the ability to possibly play one of the biggest programs in college football history is very exciting and would make a very exciting game.
Ability to contend right away (out of 10): 6.5
Oklahoma State was rumored to be headed to the Pac-12 a couple of years ago when major conference realignment went down. If Oklahoma State were to go to the Pac-12, it would cause many more late nights for Oklahoma State fans as a lot of away games take place one or two timezones away (#Pac12AfterDark).
Toughest program to compete with: Oregon Ducks
The obvious choice from the Pac-12 were the national runner-ups last year and produced the last Heisman trophy winner. This team is fast and is know for playing fast, a concept OSU has used in the past. Oregon has a large national appeal to recruits all over the country, including top athletes because they can thrive in that offense. They also would be stiff competition in the uniform game. One could make a case for USC, who is on its way back to the top, but as of the last few years, it's Oregon.
Likeliest Rival: Oregon State Beavers
OSU vs. OSU, duh. Although it would be interesting to see if we could get something started with Stanford.
Most interesting potential match-up: USC Trojans
A program with a lot of history, Oklahoma State vs. USC is a game I would personally like to see. They may not have the talent they had in the early 2000's but after facing NCAA probation's, the program looks to be headed back in the right direction.
Ability to contend right away (out of 10): 7
The SEC, though fans love to bash it, it is the best conference in college football. OSU joining the SEC would be the ultimate test of how far this program has come. If OSU were to join the SEC, geography says they would be in the SEC West, which if they were would mean very difficult years for the program. This technically would make the most sense, but it would also be the toughest move.
Toughest program to compete with: Alabama Crimson Tide
This can't even really be questioned. The Crimson Tide under Nick Saban (and others) have built a huge program that competes year in and year out. They are not unbeatable, as evidenced a couple of times in the past few years, but they do get the best players in the country every year.
Likeliest Rival: Arkansas Razorbacks
There are a couple of good options here, including former Big 12 members Texas A&M and Mizzou. Ultimately thought, a match-up that used to be played back in the SWC could be renewed if OSU were to join the SEC. Coming from neighboring states, the Razorbacks and Cowboys could play every year, bringing about a "new" rival for Oklahoma State.
Most interesting potential match-up: LSU Tigers
Could you imagine Mike Gundy leading squads to square off against the Mad Hatter's teams? Mentor vs. Master. No one around the OSU program really has a lot of love for Miles for the way he left, what if he came back to Stillwater in LSU purple and gold?