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Colorado is headed to the Big 12. The Buffaloes, who left the Big 12 for the Pac-12 in 2011, are headed back to the conference in which they once roamed.
The “i’s are dotted and “t’s are crossed, the move is official. It’s done.
Colorado is the latest program to pack its (Louis Vuitton) bags and leave for a new home. USC and UCLA are leaving the Pac 12 for the Big Ten next year. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF joined the Big 12 (which currently consists of 14 teams) earlier this month before Oklahoma and Texas bounce for the SEC in 2024.
As the Sooners and Longhorns head south, the Buffaloes will slide right in their place. An official timeline is still to be determined, but they are presumed likely to join the Big 12 next year.
That would mean that the Big 12 would consist of 13 teams. A “mystery program” (or two or three?) may join them.
All of that is to be figured out later.
In the meantime, Deion Sanders will play his first and final season with a conference schedule that includes Oregon State, Utah and Stanford this fall. That will soon be a thing of the past.
Why is Colorado leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12?
On paper, the reason for the move is largely two-fold:
- The Big 12 is more stable.
- The Big 12 offers a more lucrative financial scene.
That’s great, but it may not be the real reason for the move. (It is)
By switching conferences, Coach Prime and the Buffaloes are now eligible for college football’s newest bowl game. The Cheez-It Bowl, which used to be called the Camping World Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Tangerine Bowl, MicronPC.com Bowl, Carquest Bowl and Blockbuster Bowl, is no longer.
Gone are the days of square crackers. Here are the days of rectangular toaster pastries.
The Pop-Tarts Bowl will be played for the first time at 5:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023. It seeks to match the top non-CFP selection from the ACC (including Notre Dame) against the second non-CFP selection from the Big 12.
Colorado will be eligible for the Pop-Tarts Bowl, which is the lone reason for making the move out of the Pac-12, obviously.
It will (probably) be a few years until the Buffaloes really turn things around on the gridiron, if at all. They won just one game last season and the idea of them being the second non-CFP selection from the Big 12 is not easy to picture just yet.
However, imagining Deion Sanders getting doused with a cooler of Pop-Tarts is a mental image that we can all manifest into existence. Welcome to the Big 12, Colorado. Welcome to Pop-Tarts Bowl eligibility.