By now, it's common knowledge that the Big 12 is exploring expansion. We all expect OSU will remain a member of the conference no matter who the Big 12 adds. A lot would have to happen for OSU to leave the conference. However, Ron Higgins of NOLA.com suggests a vastly different course of action for the Cowboys.
In the article, Higgins sets up a scenario where both OU and OSU jump ship on the Big 12 and join the SEC West. By doing so, that would move Alabama and Auburn to the SEC East, leaving the SEC with two eight-team divisions. That would make the SEC look like this:
In The West: OSU, OU, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi St, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas A&M
In the East: Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina
One thing that move would do is make the balance of power in the SEC much more even between East and West.
BUY OR SELL: IF OFFERED, OKLAHOMA STATE SHOULD ACCEPT MEMBERSHIP IN THE SEC.
As far as overall athletic success, Oklahoma State will fit in the SEC well. The Cowboy athletic department’s 51 overall national championships would rank first in the SEC.
Playing football in the SEC means great road trips, good football, and a guaranteed spot in the play-off with a conference championship. Moving to the SEC would cause a steep improvement in recruiting like the one we saw Texas A&M have when they left the Big 12. According to Rivals.com A&M’s recruiting classes in it’s last four seasons in the Big 12 averaged 21st in the national, while the average recruiting class during the Aggie’s first 4 years in the SEC averaged 10th. You have the ability to recruit the top athletes to play in the SEC based on brand name alone.
Cowboy baseball is fresh off a trip to the CWS and will be able to compete and continue their success in the SEC. As for OSU Basketball, it’s going to be a rebuilding process under Brad Underwood but the SEC would be a much easier conference to rebuild in than the Big 12.
The biggest factor is money. According to Higgins, OSU would be set to bring in more money in a 16-member SEC than it would in a 10-member Big 12.
Moving to the SEC sounds great on paper. Then you realize you have to play the likes of LSU and Ole Miss every year with the possibility of playing Alabama any year that the schedule falls right. That’s tough on a football program. Then on top of that if OSU goes to the SEC that probably means OU is going as well. That puts you as arguably the 4th or 5th best program in your own division. That doesn’t even bring the SEC East into consideration. There are no push overs on a SEC schedule like you get with Kansas in the Big 12. You have to come absolutely prepared to play every week or you will get beaten.
The Cowboys won’t match up well as far as facilities go. OSU’s home venues would not be near the top in capacity among SEC schools. Boone Pickens Stadium would be the second smallest football stadium in the conference and Gallagher-Iba Arena would be the 8th biggest arena. Allie P. Reynolds would be 10th largest baseball stadium in the SEC.
OSU doesn’t need to move to the SEC to be on the national stage. The Cowboys have already made their mark on the college sports world without the help of the SEC.