Conference realignment rumors have been arguably the biggest topic in college sports over the last two years, including Colorado Football, and it's not hard to see why. With Texas and Oklahoma heading to the SEC, plus USC and UCLA going to the Big Ten next year, the landscape of college sports is rapidly changing.

After these moves, the big question is what moves will come next. Several schools are at the center of realignment rumors, and Colorado Football may just be the most-discussed of them all.

The Buffaloes have been members of the Pac-12 since 2011, but they may not be much longer. Even after months of claiming a new media deal is imminent, the conference is still looking for a new one with the current deal expiring next summer. Reportedly, Colorado's patience with the process is running out, which has led to “substantive talks” with the Big 12. The Buffaloes were in the Big 12 from 1996 to 2010, and could be on their way back.

With rumors at a frenzy, here is why Colorado Football must defect from the Pac-12 and return to the Big 12.


As mentioned previously, the Pac-12 isn't doing the best right now. The conference's struggles to find a new media deal has left its future uncertain, and some are even predicting its demise sooner rather than later.

As such, several members of the conference have appeared in realignment rumors. Arizona has been linked to the Big 12 alongside Colorado, and Arizona State and Utah to a lesser extent. Meanwhile, Oregon and Washington are reportedly among the Big Ten's top targets if that conference pursues further expansion. There's just a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Pac-12, which is obviously not a good thing.

Comparatively speaking, the Big 12 is in a much better spot. The conference may have lost Texas and Oklahoma, but rebounded nicely with the addition of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. Additionally, commissioner Brett Yormark has been very aggressive in pushing for expansion, with schools from UConn to Gonzaga appearing in rumors.

There's also the fact that Colorado can likely make more money in the Big 12 than the Pac-12. The Big 12 just signed a new media deal that goes into effect starting in 2025, and will pay each school $31.7 million annually. With how the Pac-12's media negotiations are going, it seems unlikely the conference can match that number.

History and Prior Success

Since joining the Pac-12, the Buffaloes haven't exactly had the most success. They've had just two winning seasons in 12 years, and one of them was the COVID-shortened 2020 season when they finished 4-2. Maybe new head coach Deion Sanders can right the ship, but it will take some time.

In the Big 12, though, Colorado was a fairly successful program. The Buffaloes' best stretch came in the early 2000s, when they won the Big 12 North four times in five years. The last few years in the Big 12 weren't great, but before that, the Buffaloes were a consistent threat.

You could also go further back and look at the history of the Big Eight, which merged with the Southwest conference to become the Big 12 in the mid 90s. The Buffaloes were a force in the final years of the Big Eight, even earning a share of the national title in 1990. Perhaps a return to their roots could be a catalyst for Colorado Football's resurgence.