This leads us to the question of how the newly formed Big 12 compares to the other autonomy leagues.
Even with its additions, the Big 12 is sure to generate less television revenue than it did previously. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby estimated in July that Texas and Oklahoma accounted for 50% of the value with the league’s current television package. The four new additions help scale that gap, but the Big 12 still projects to bring in less than the other four Power Five leagues.
Will the league win less, too?
Let’s examine recent on-field results and recruiting hauls to determine what can be expected of the new-look Big 12 compared to the other autonomy conferences.
On-Field Results From 2016-20
There are a number of ways to judge a conference each season: Bowl game records, non-conference results, playoff appearances. The fairest is to look at the league holistically. To do so, I used Football Outsiders’ F+ rating, which combines Brian Fremeau's FEI ratings with Bill Connelly's SP+ ratings, and found the average ranking of the conference’s teams each year. I then averaged those numbers across a five-year period.
(Note: These numbers are adjusted to include Texas and Oklahoma in the SEC and the Big 12’s four additions.)
Big Ten: 45.6
Big 12 49.2
Over the last five years, an average SEC team ranked 36th nationally while an average ACC team in that period ranked 50th. You’ll notice the Big 12, even without Texas and Oklahoma, slots ahead of the ACC and is not far behind the Big Ten and Pac-12.
This can change drastically year to year. The Big 12 would have ranked first in 2020 – BYU and Cincinnati both were in the top 7 in F+ rating – but last in 2016 and 2017. The ACC ranked first in 2017 but last among the Power Five leagues last season.