The Big 12 announced in January it was taking part in preliminary discussions about a possible partnership with the ACC, among other conferences, over scheduling/marketing/television. Not coincidentally, the Big 12 also has plans to rearrange its bowl tie-ins to include games in Florida — specifically, the Capital One Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl were mentioned.
Per ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, the Big 12 is indeed in talks with the Russell Athletic Bowl about replacing the Big East beginning in 2014. The Big 12 would play a team from the ACC.
The Capital One Bowl, which is also played in Orlando, currently pairs teams from the Big Ten and SEC. There’s no word so far if the Big 12 is in discussions with the Capital One Bowl about a possible tie-in.
As we’ve said before, the Big 12 wanting to expand its footprint into Florida makes sense for a variety of reasons. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, the Russell Athletic Bowl would probably be much happier with a Big 12 team in the future as well.