When Oklahoma and Texas formally announced their desire earlier this week to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC -- a move that would create a seismic shift in the power structure of college athletics -- college football was already on the precipice of historic change with the proposal of a 12-team College Football Playoff.
Now the two plotlines are entangled, with no definitive date for either to become a reality.
"It's unfortunately likely to delay approval of a CFP expansion plan," first-year Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN on Thursday. "I think there's going to be realignment fallout we have to get through before we understand what format for an expanded CFP works best for all of college football."
The playoff's current timeline hasn't changed, as this summer is a window for a feasibility study to determine exactly how a 12-team field would be implemented and when -- an opportunity for the 10 FBS commissioners to solicit feedback from their coaches, athletic directors and players before reporting the results of their studies in late September to the 11 university presidents and chancellors who have the ultimate authority to change the playoff.
Those conversations now include the wild dynamic of not knowing who might be in what conference by the time any change is implemented -- and the reality that the remaining eight Big 12 teams could scatter to other leagues. The 12-team proposal doesn't include guarantees for conference champions, but it does include the six highest-ranked conference champions, along with the other six highest-ranked teams as determined by the selection committee.