The new-look Big 12 Conference officially arrives tomorrow

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As I write this article, it in June 30th, 2024. To the average person and even the casual sports fan, it's just another summer day. For diehard fans of college sports, particularly the Big 12, things won't look quite the same after today, however.

As of July 1st, Big 12 founding members Oklahoma and Texas will depart the Big 12 to join the SEC, while former Pac-12 schools Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah will join the conference. For Colorado, it will be their second stint in the conference, as they were a founding member of the league before leaving for the Pac-12 in 2011.

For the league, one of the biggest takeaways is that the traditional Big 12 of the past is for all intents and purposes dead. For many older fans, the league felt like it had already fallen from it's glory with the addition of strangers TCU and West Virginia in 2012, followed by the addition of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF last season. And while Houston and TCU can at least claim lineage to the Southwest Conference, from which four members merged with Big 8 Conference to initially form the Big 12. But for the other four programs, they feel like outliers to many traditional fans of the league.

But now, it's not just the fact that old teams are leaving and new enter, but the fact that two-of-the-three most historically successful athletic departments amongst the founding members of the league are leaving. Texas has claimed the most Big 12 conference championships across all sports in league history with 232. The next closest is Oklahoma State with 96, but Oklahoma is a close third with 94. Between the two schools, they have captured 326 of the 831conference championships decided in the league -- that translates to 39.2 percent of all contested titles.

For the remaining members, the additions show a league that is likely to be considered the third or fourth best football league every year, but still has an opportunity to remain a premier collegiate basketball league. It also continues the trend of the Big 12 expanding from a regional league to a national one, mimicking the growth of the Big 10 and the SEC. With BYU last year and the four incoming schools from the Pac-12, five of the eight newest additions to the conference are the five westernmost programs in the league. Two others -- Cincinnati and UCF -- join West Virginia as only Big 12 programs east of the Mississippi River, and UCF is also now the southernmost program in the conference.