[Bumped, 8/25/11, as this has become relevant again, now that A&M has made their douchebaggery official.]
It is becoming clear that the current landscape of college football, consisting of 6 major football conferences, is unsustainable. As such, I have decided to put forth a plan for what the shape of a new Big 12--consisting of 16 teams--might be. It results in a conference where the footprint is at least somewhat sensible (no more than 1,000 miles diameter north/south or east/west). For now, it's predicated on Missouri staying and A&M leaving. If Missouri decides to bolt, then an offer would be made to a school like BYU or Boise, which would widen the East/West diameter a bit.
Hit the jump for the list of teams, a poll, and a look at the conference's geographical layout.
Fist, the list of teams:
Team (Old Conf.)
Baylor (Big12); Iowa State (Big12); Kansas (Big12); Kansas State (Big12)
Missouri (Big12); Oklahoma (Big12); Oklahoma State (Big12); Texas (Big12)
Texas Tech (Big12); Cincinnati (BigEast); Louisville (BigEast); TCU (MWC/BigEast)
Houston (C-USA); Memphis (C-USA); Notre Dame (Ind); Air Force (MWC)
This is a bit malleable, as if Notre Dame refuses an offer, then BYU could be offered. I don't have BYU on this initial list, because they're pretty obviously outside the logical geographical footprint of the new "conference." But it's not by too much, so adding them in wouldn't be a stretch. Once you have a look at the map below, you'll see how this idea isn't outside the scope of the rational, geographically speaking
As you can see, there is a clear North/South divide, for divisional purposes. The blue line marks the east/west diameter. The Houston/South Bend trip is the longest north/south trip. Looking at the map, it would probably make more sense to put Air Force in the South Division, as that would probably cut down their travel times a lot. In that scenario, Memphis would be in the North Division. If Mizzou bolts, and a team like BYU or Boise were added, the divisions would probably best be simply divided up East/West, instead of North/South.
In this plan, the Big East disappears as a football conference, and the ACC takes in the schools that make geographical sense for them (their pick of W. Virginia, Connecticut, South Florida, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh), to get to 16 teams as well. Given the SEC's rumored poaching plans, they might need to take all 6 of them to get there. Eventually, everything settles in with the SEC, ACC, and Big XII with 16 teams, and the Pac 12 and Big 10 with 12 each. I think that would be at least somewhat sustainable for the near-term.
So, this is the way I could envision a new, 16-team Big XII taking shape. Let me know what you think about it in the comments.