Who will be the Big 12’s marquee teams after Texas and Oklahoma leave?

Christina Huang, Double Coverage Editor

The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season were released on Tuesday, and many were surprised by how they panned out. While the rankings won’t satisfy all college football fans and media members, some Big 12 fans were especially irked. 

Unbeaten TCU was ranked seventh, just behind 6-1 Alabama. TCU has two wins over ranked teams this season, while Alabama only has one. 

“We’re looking for a balanced team, offense and defense,” CFP chair Boo Corrigan said. “They’ve gotten behind in games.” 

Corrigan isn’t exactly wrong. TCU was down at halftime against both Kansas State and Oklahoma State. But Alabama has also “gotten behind in games.” It lost to Tennessee and nearly lost to Texas and Texas A&M. Meanwhile, TCU has yet to drop a game and head coach Sonny Dykes is the only first-year head coach in Big 12 history to have a 8-0 start. 

While it’s only October, TCU’s early snub could be a sign of future trouble for the Big 12. The committee seems to have a bias towards nationally recognizable teams, like Alabama. Texas is also the only three-loss team to be ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings. Without Texas and Oklahoma, the Big 12 may not have a marquee team that could make the College Football Playoffs in its current form. 

To be fair, neither Texas or Oklahoma is close to making the Playoff this season. But the point still stands. Without the national draw that Texas and Oklahoma bring to the conference, the Big 12’s relevance to college football may drastically decrease, even if teams like TCU continue to perform as well as they are right now. 

According to the Department of Education, UT made $97,223,872 in football revenue during the 2020-2021 season. OU made $101,119,170 in football revenue during the same season. The Big 12’s newest members — BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston — made $80,048,313 in combined football revenue from 2020-2021. 

Texas and Oklahoma brought in nearly $300 million in football revenue, while the schools that are entering the Big 12 do not make half of that number combined. The conference is losing out on a huge portion of money while its teams continue to be undervalued by the most important committee in College Football. 

The Big 12 has not won a football national title since 2005, when Vince Young led Texas to a win over USC. TCU is the highest ranked Big 12 team in the first iteration of the College Football Playoff rankings, but its lack of national recognition could ultimately hurt its chance to actually make the Playoff, even if that TCU remains undefeated for the rest of the regular season.

In terms of revenue, TCU ranked fourth in the conference during the 2020-2021 season with $38,723,223. Texas and Oklahoma were the only schools to make at least $90 million. As Texas and Oklahoma gear up to leave the Big 12, their absence leaves a $300 million sized hole that could affect the conference’s chances at winning a national title.