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Big 12 Realignment: Missouri's Move Could Cause Domino Effect

The Big 12's reaction could cause even more conference realignment moves, including jeopardizing SMU's jump to the Big East.

WIth Missouri's announcement today that they will officially be seeking a new conference, what the Big 12 does to replace the Tigers will likely have huge ramifications throughout the college football world.

The conference is unlikely to stay at nine, especially because it will be difficult for all its schools to find a non-conference game for 2012 so late in the season. According to the Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton, the most obvious replacement is BYU, long-rumored to be an expansion candidate.

BYU might be the only Big 12 expansion candidate who could replace Missouri in 2012. BE schools locked in for 27 months.— @ChuckCarltonDMN via Twitter

But the biggest decision the Big 12 will have to make is whether to simply replace Missouri or try to get back to 12 teams so they can hold a conference championship game in football. If they do that, the Big East will be their likely target, with schools like West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati all rumored to be possible expansion candidates.

The loss of more football-playing schools would be a devastating blow to the Big East, who are down to only six after Syracuse and Pittsburgh jumped to the ACC. That, in turn, would complicate SMU's decision to leave the newly created Conference USA/Mountain West merger and join the Big East, as they would be moving to a conference in complete disarray with no guarantee that it would keep its BCS AQ status.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.