The BCS conference realignment has been almost as important to this college football season as the games themselves, and with Missouri completing its transfer from the Big 12 to the SEC, things just got a little messier.
Following in the footsteps of Texas A&M, Missouri has become the second school to leave the Big 12 this year. This is all happening just after the Big 12 avoided a mass exodus to the Pac-12.
All of a sudden, a once-great conference is on the verge of shriveling up into a tiny ball.
But what does Missouri's departure mean for the future of the Big 12? Are more schools going to leave, or will the Big 12 recover and become stable again?
One thing the Big 12 does not want to do is turn into the Big East. The conference that once had powerhouses like Miami and Virginia Tech just lost Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC. TCU and West Virginia are also leaving for the Big 12. As a result, the Big East may end up adding sub-par football schools like Villanova and Memphis in order to replace its defectors.
Fortunately for the Big 12, the losses of Missouri and Texas A&M are being cushioned by the additions of West Virginia and TCU—programs that may be better than Missouri and Texas A&M in the first place.
They have yet to replace the summer losses of Colorado and Nebraska, which left for the Pac-12 and Big 10, respectively. Therefore, there will not be a conference championship game—something that could be critical in terms of BCS national championship berths.
One thing that the Big 12 will never get back, however, is the classic rivalries that will be split up by BCS conference realignment.
The best example is Texas vs. Texas A&M. Because Texas A&M is moving on to the SEC, the schools no longer automatically play each other. And because Texas has its non-conference schedule full for future seasons, there is no slot to keep the rivalry going.
It doesn't look like the Big 12 will lose more members anytime soon. The Pac-12 has officially declared that it will not add anymore members, and the SEC may be satisfied with 14. Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State were once rumored to be considering realignment, but since the start of the season those rumors have died along with Oklahoma's BCS title hopes.
The only conference realignment to look out for now is in the direction of the Big East and non-BCS conferences.
The Mountain West and Conference USA have already agreed to forming a superconference in 2012 or 2013, and there is a chance that more conferences could look to do the same.
Tired of reading the word "conference" by now? Thought so. The BCS realignment appears to be slowing down for now, but for all we know, it could really just be starting. Needless to say, the Big 12 is hoping that it doesn't become the victim once again.