The Big 12 is at a crossroads, any football fan would know this. Instead of looking at this as a fork in the road, Dan Beebe and the Big 12 should look at this as taking the Red Pill or the Blue Pill
Yes, I just made a Matrix reference but it makes so much sense.
The Red Pill (Keep Texas A&M in the Big 12)
Sounds crazy right?? Well if by some miracle Dan Beebe can convince Texas A&M to step off the Big 12 ledge and stay in the conference, then here is what he has to do. The Big 12 will still have 10 teams but to be called the Big 12, make it truly 12 teams.
Step 1: Add BYU
The Big 12 ignored Colorado for the longest time and it cost them a very valuable TV market now that the Buffs are in the PAC-12. All hope is not lost in the Rocky Mountain Region; Colorado may have a better TV market but BYU has national appeal. The private Mormon school is a football power and would be able to compete with the Texas' and Oklahoma's of the conference. In basketball, BYU has had a recent string of accomplishments due to former Cougar Jimmer Ferdette. The last but most important thing is that they are an independent so bringing BYU into the Big 12 would give the Cougars some stability for years to come.
Step 2: Add A Big Name
The Big 12 keeps things close to the vest, it's what makes them cool and what also makes them look like a lazy conference in this day of jockeying for conference domination. While the Big 12 is laying low, they need to try and drop a bomb. That bomb that they can drop, however, will never, ever, be Notre Dame.
A school that the Big 12 needs to go after is a TCU, Louisville, Cincinnati or Boise St. Will they be hard to convince? Yes, but is it impossible? Not at all.
TCU sits in Fort Worth, TX. In 2013, they will play in the Big East. Makes sense right? Of course not!!!! TCU was made for the Big 12 so Dan Beebe needs to make that short drive to Fort Worth and camp out at TCU like he's John Cusack in Say Anything. The Horned Frogs bring so much to the table outside of football. They are a consistent contender in both baseball and track.
Boise St. offers a football only benefit, but if Dan Beebe can convince the Broncos that they will be in a top conference, it would be a good get. But like I said, there would be no benefit other than football.
Louisville and Cincinnati make a lot of sense because the Big East may become one of the conferences that gets picked over so two of the schools in the “West” of the Big East may look to raise their profile and go to some Midwestern roots. Cincinnati would increase the conference profile in basketball and be able to spread the Big 12 into Ohio.
Louisville is a school that thinks they belong in the SEC. Frankly they don't, that's where Dan Beebe and the Big 12 can step in and Louisville can be a consistent winner in football and be a basketball power and challenge Kansas for conference supremacy.
The Blue Pill (A&M Leaves for the SEC)
Step 1: Blow up the Big 12
Pour the gasoline on it, light the match and watch the flames rise. Most people think the Big 12 can survive without A&M, but what makes conferences great are it's members who bring tradition, winning, and are the rock and heart of the conference. Texas A&M is one of those schools. Texas A&M holds more tradition than any school in the Big 12 “North” and their fan base is among the best of true fans in the Big 12. Losing Texas A&M would do more damage to the conference than most people think.
The Big 12 thinks they can just replace A&M and go on, nope, you cant. Unless you can guarantee Notre Dame will come in to the league, then break it up. A nine team conference will not survive while one school has it's own channel and the other schools have what is now considered a basic TV deal among Major BCS Conferences. If A&M leaves, then Dan Beebe should start making homes for all of his other schools, including Texas. It's a sad and difficult move to make but when you lose schools that were the heart of your conference (Texas A&M and Nebraska) then you should deal with the consequences.