So…this is interesting as the dust is starting to settle.
When the Big 8 approached the SWC for a full 16 team merger, Texas and Texas A&M felt that they should be the only two Texas schools to join the "Middle of America " Conference.
We all know Texas politicians got involved and a large public school in West Texas (Texas Tech) and a small, albeit older, private religious school (Baylor) were included in the Big 8 expansion package to form the Big 12.
We all know that all four SWC schools from the 2 largest metros were excluded to fend for themselves.
Houston (large public)
Rice (small prestigious private)
TCU ( small religious private)
SMU (small religious private)
Fast forward to 2023 (or 2025) and the current landing spots for the former SWC 8 is very reflective of their individual journey.
Texas and Texas A&M finally got their wish all along, or maybe the new wish of onlyTexas now, and are finally the only two worthy Texas schools in a single Conference. They have finally separated themselves from the other Texas schools but not in the “middle of America” Conference, as orginally planned, but in a conference in the Southeastern United States. Interesting enough, they “pulled” two former Big 8 schools with them (Mizzou + Oklahoma) and are reunited with former SWC mate, Arkansas.
Texas Tech & Baylor, after enduring multiple raids of the Big 12 and Texas Tech possibly going west without Baylor, added a former SWC mate in TCU and now Houston. The Conference, that was once Middle of America remains Texas dominant (4/12) but the footprint now stretches West to Utah, North to Ohio, and East to Florida.
The only two former non P5 SWC mates will also be reunited but in the G5 AAC, albeit a watered down version of that Conference. It could be said that SMU was late to reinvest in their athletic program and Rice may be just starting to do it now…with their invite to the AAC.
Nobody knows what will happen to those two but it is interesting that the two quality private schools in the two largest Texas cities are currently on the outside looking in.
SMU got out hustled by TCU and ironically Rice has always had the largest self sufficient pool of resources of the 4 yet choose not to use them to elevate their athletics…even though they somehow managed to win a natty in baseball. They even had Tom Herman before UH did.
It will be interesting to see what those two do moving forward.