Well it’s official. Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin has sent a letter to the Big XII saying it wants out and will apply to join another conference. If accepted (presumably into the SEC), A&M will officially depart the Big XII on June 30, 2012.
This is the end of the Big XII as we’ve known it. It’s also the end of an era for me.
I grew up with Big XII football. The league launched when I was 10 years old. I remember watching Texas shock Nebraska in the first Big XII championship game. Two years later, A&M played Cinderella and upset Kansas State.
Oklahoma came out of nowhere in 2000 and won the Big XII and then the national championship.Texas finally got the monkey off its back in 2005 and became the second league school to hoist the national title banner. The two schools have dominated the conference over the last decade. Every October, the Red River Rivalry in Dallas serves as a de-facto Big XII South Championship game.
Texas A&M, meanwhile, fell on hard times after letting coach R.C. Slocum leave several years ago. They have not finished the season inside the Top 25 in over a decade. Since Mack Brown came to Austin, the Aggies have played little brother to their in-state rivals.
The Big XII North always looked like a bunch of also-rans since Nebraska and Kansas State slipped after 2003. The two teams dominated the North for the first half of league history.Nebraska got to the title game in 1996 and 1999 and won the championship in 1997 (on their way to a split-national title). K-State got to the title game in 1998 and 2000 before winning it in 2003.
Since 2004, the South has not lost a title game. Several contests have been blowouts. OU beat Colorado42-3 in 2004.Texas crushed Colorado70-3 a year later. OU thrashed Missouri 62-21 in 2008.
In 2010, the league began unraveling. Texas A&M said it was interested in moving to the SEC. Nebraska announced it was headed to the Big 10 (which incidentally, now has twelve teams).Colorado looked west and joined the new Pac 12.
If A&M leaves, the league is down to nine teams. Sure it will try to find new member schools. But it won’t be the same. The Big XII is dead. RIP.