Mack Brown thought Texas football was bound for the PAC-12

Mack Brown, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Mack Brown, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

We are firmly in another round of the conference realignment conversation, which is something that Texas football was right in the middle of last offseason. In the midst of Big 12 Media Days this week, the thought of what the conference could do next to stay afloat in this round of realignment has brought up a lot of speculation.

But this isn’t the first time that the Big 12 and the Longhorns both are sitting in the midst of the conference realignment conversation in the last couple of decades. It was roughly one decade ago that the Longhorns were seemingly very close to bolting from the Big 12 for the PAC-12 in a move that clearly would’ve shocked college football to its core.

In fact, former Texas head coach Mack Brown recently stated that, at the time, he felt like it was probably going to happen that the Longhorns would leave the Big 12 for the PAC-12. It sounds like Mack thought this move was so close to becoming a reality that he was essentially preparing to inform the players before too long.

Mack Brown dives into details on the near move for Texas football to leave for the PAC-12

Mack mentioned all this in a conversation he had with former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy in his new segment on ESPN called “Always College Football”.

He also noted that he didn’t really know what was true throughout this situation and what wasn’t. It’s clear that this whole discussion and all the rumors flying around regarding Texas’ potential move more than 10 years ago from the Big 12 to the SEC caused Mack to do some thinking on future preparation if this did come to fruition.

Yet, of course, nothing wound up happening in terms of Texas leaving the Big 12 for the PAC-12 in the early 2010s. And now, the PAC-12 seems like it could be on the verge of collapse after the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans announced the intention to leave for the Big Ten in 2024.

All in all, we’ll see if anything further comes to fruition in terms of the conference realignment conversation this summer. Last offseason, it was the Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners announcing the intention to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. And now it’s UCLA and USC leaving the PAC-12 for the SEC.

What could be next?

If Mack’s conversation with McElroy this week gives an insight into what lessons he learned from this process, it’s that you can’t sleep on the reality of realignment but you can’t believe everything you hear either. No one really expected UCLA and USC to leave the PAC-12 for the Big Ten. And any additional moves on the horizon could be just as unexpected.

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Texas and Oklahoma will likely be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC by 2024 or 2025. In response to Texas and Oklahoma leaving for the SEC, the Big 12 has already added the Houston Cougars, BYU Cougars, UCF Knights, and Cincinnati Bearcats. With the attitude that the Big 12 administration is putting on display at media days this week, it looks like they are open to more additions in the near future.