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Will Oklahoma Move to the SEC in Another Phase of the Conference Realignment Game? No

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Some rumors are just too good to die. This one shouldn't be one of them

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

No rumor ever dies when it comes to conference realignment. There are just dozens of zombie rumors roaming the countryside, periodically wandering into a city somewhere and causing everyone to panic. Which is how we now have another round of stories about whether Oklahoma could end up in the SEC. You can thank Colin Cowherd for this.

Most rational people know there's an explanation for this: Colin Cowherd and Paul Finebaum get paid to talk about football on the radio, and we're in about the deadest of dead periods right now. Spring practice is over, conference media days are still more than a week away and most of us are just beginning to open up our Phil Steele preview magazines. So what is there to talk about? Baseless realignment rumors!

Saying the Big 12 will die is not even cutting-edge anymore. We are now entering our sixth year of people saying that the league will die, and it hasn't died yet. At this point, it's almost better to hold off and wait until the Big 12 dies than to keep predicting it on the hope that you'll be right.

But, again: summer. So everyone's running wild with this. SB Nation's Oklahoma blog, Crimson and Cream Machine, weighed all the pros and cons and didn't exactly rule out the possibility -- but only at some point in the distant future.

Not anytime soon. The Big 12 is already dead, it just hasn't had its funeral yet.

Kevin Scarbinsky poured some more fuel on the fire by doing what AL.com writers do best: String together disparate events and blind speculation to make it seem like there might be something there, regardless of the complete lack of evidence. (Though my personal favorite idea is Sportsday Now!'s suggestion that a 73-year-old man is making a "long play" that he couldn't finish until he was 83.)

I doubt very seriously that, barring the actual collapse of the Big 12 brought on by some other factor, Oklahoma will join the SEC any time soon. The reason it won't happen before 2025 is simple: The SEC has played the expansion game over the years with the goal of avoiding litigation, and any attempt to add Oklahoma before the infamous "grant of rights" is over will cause an avalanche of lawsuits. As some have kind of hinted at, the deals might not be all that strong -- but Ken Starr would have a far more solid case to make against Oklahoma than he ever had against Texas A&M, and the Baylor president still threatened to sue in 2011. (HT: SBNation.com)

The other reason is that Oklahoma State would probably have to come along, and the SEC made it clear the last time around that the conference was not interested in a package deal that includes the Cowboys. Granted, that's from an old OrangeBloods report, but there's nothing that has happened in the last five years to cast doubt on that report. Oklahoma State is probably too high an asking price for Oklahoma to join the SEC, and the politicians from the Sooner State are not going to allow OU to go alone -- unless the league is already falling apart, and the conference makes abundantly clear there is only one life raft available. In that case, Oklahoma might be able to persuade state leaders that it is better for one of the schools to get into the SEC than for neither to get into the SEC. (Particularly if Texas decides to strike out on the independent route or go to the Big 10 or the ACC; Oklahoma and Oklahoma State tried to go to the Pac-12 without Texas in 2011 and were turned down.)

So have some summer fun with the story if you want, but Oklahoma is highly unlikely to end up in the SEC any time in the next decade, and not much more likely to join the conference at any point after that. The Big 12 might already be dead, but someone's actually going to have to kill it before any more dominoes fall.