Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark at the Texas-Texas Tech game on Nov. 24, 2023. Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark attends the Big 12 football game between Texas and Texas Tech, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin.

Across college football this year, there’s been plenty of awkwardness with teams set to be in other conferences next year. That was true in perhaps the final Pac-12 Championship Game Friday between the Big Ten-bound Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks, and it’s true in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship Game, featuring the soon-to-be-SEC Texas Longhorns and the staying-put Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Texas situation is particularly interesting for the public comments from Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark, though.

At a Texas Tech Red Raiders media lunch in August, Yormark made very specific comments about being happy the conference worked out a deal to let the Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners leave for the SEC next year (rather than the initially-planned date of 2025, which would have drawn out the awkwardness here). And he also said outright he hoped Texas Tech would beat Texas in their Thanksgiving game.

That saw immediate backlash from Texas figures and fans, and the Longhorns even fired back after their 57-7 win over the Red Raiders Friday, playing footage of Yormark’s August remarks on their video board. But, ahead of Saturday’s game, Yormark tried to walk all that back and say whoever wins will be a good Big 12 representative, and added that he’ll support any efforts to get Texas in the College Football Playoff (at 11-1, they’re currently ranked seventh there) if they win.

This came after Yormark received boos from Texas fans while he was walking through Arlington’s AT&T Stadium ahead of his remarks:

For reference, Yormark’s August remarks included “Candidly, we were able to get Texas and Oklahoma out of here early. That’s a big deal for us and I think for all of you,” and [to Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire], “I’m not going to put any pressure on you, but I’m going to be in Austin on Thanksgiving. And you better take care of business like you did right here in Lubbock last year.” And that sparked Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian to tell his team “Embrace the hate,” but also “You can’t just sit back and keep taking punches and it’s just OK.” And this led to the scoreboard trolling last week:

For his part, though, Yormark said he has no regrets over his August comments.

There’s no word yet on if Yormark and the Big 12 will be twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom or not.

But regardless of Yormark’s walk-back here, it’s going to be quite interesting to see what happens if Texas wins this game and he has to present them the trophy.

[Max Olson on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.