Which conference would be a better football fit for Oregon — Big Ten or Big 12?

With the departure of the Colorado Buffaloes from the Pac-12 Conference, the topic of conference realignment has once again been brought to the forefront.

If you’re an Oregon Ducks fan, this means your team is in the middle of nearly every conversation brought forth at the moment, good or bad.


Where do the Ducks go now? Assessing all options for Oregon and the Pac-12

While we’ve talked about potential options for Oregon going forward, and how a move to the Big Ten would be desirable for both parties in the end, we’ve also touched on where the Pac-12 might look to expand if it wants to make a last-ditch effort to keep the conference intact.

Should the Ducks end up leaving the Pac-12, we need to start vetting their landing spot. The Big 12 may be the more likely option at the moment, but the Big Ten is the more-desired outcome. But is the Big Ten that much better than the Big 12, and if so, why?

Let’s take a look at that question. In college football, one of the most important things for fans to hold onto is rivalries, and shared experiences. One place may be a great spot for a team to land, but if it doesn’t have any history with the teams in the conference, the move could fall flat in the end.

So when looking at the Big Ten and the Big 12, which conference has Oregon had more experience with, and where would the best rivalries come from? Let’s take a look:

Big 12 — Teams With No History

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The following Big 12 schools are teams that the Oregon Ducks have never played before and do not have a history with:

There are certain storylines or relationships that tie the schools together, like former Oregon co-DC Matt Powledge going back to Baylor last year, or former Oregon OC Scott Frost taking over as the UCF head coach a while back, but the true blood-lust between these three teams and the Ducks is approximately zero.

Big Ten — Team With No History

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The following Big Ten schools are teams that the Oregon Ducks have never played before and do not have a history with:

Other than some at-times crazy uniform combinations, the Ducks have no history with Maryland, and they’ve never been in the same orbit with Rutgers over the years. No history, no feelings, no rivalry.

Big 12 — BYU Cougars

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Series History: 4-3, Oregon

Last Meeting: 2022

Analysis: The BYU Cougars are actually one team Oregon has a great deal of history with. They ranked No. 11 on our list of biggest nonconference rivals for the Ducks. Should Oregon get a regular matchup with the Cougars in the Big 12, it would be a nice yearly game.

Big Ten — Indiana Hoosiers

Series History: 2-1, Oregon

Last Meeting: 2004

Analysis: I certainly don’t remember anything about the game in 2004 when Oregon and Indiana played last — a 30-24 victory for the Hoosiers. This doesn’t feel like there would be much contention on either side that could start a quick rivalry.

Big 12 — Houston Cougars

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Series History: 3-0, Oregon

Last Meeting: 2007

Analysis: The Ducks last played Houston in 2007 and blew them out, 47-28. With a 3-0 history against the Cougars, there would need to be a quick turnaround for any sort of rivalry to bloom.

Big Ten — Michigan Wolverines

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Series History: 3-3, Tied

Last Meeting: 2007

Analysis: Oregon-Michigan has been a great deal of fun over the years, with the Ducks winning the last two meetings, including a massive upset at Autzen Stadium. We have Michigan ranked as the No. 9 nonconference rival for the Ducks, so I would love to see a yearly game between these two.

Big 12 — Iowa State Cyclones

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Series History: 0-1, Iowa State

Last Meeting: 2021

Analysis: The Ducks only have one game against Iowa State, and it wasn’t a pleasant one, losing in the 2021 Fiesta Bowl. I’m not sure that meeting has enough juice to create a rivalry, though.

Big Ten — Michigan State Spartans

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Series History: 4-3, Oregon

Last Meeting: 2018

Analysis: The rivalry between Oregon and Michigan State has been entertaining over the years. The Ducks topped the Spartans in Marcus Mariota’s last season in Eugene during a thriller in Autzen, but Michigan State gained the better of Oregon a year later during a thriller in East Lansing. Of course, Oregon also won that “thrilling” 7-6 Redbox Bowl in 2018. MSU is ranked as our No. 7 nonconference rival for the Ducks, so I wouldn’t mind seeing this game more often.

Big 12 — Kansas Jayhawks

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Series History: 0-1-1, Kansas

Last Meeting: 1981

Analysis: This is a better basketball rival, with the Jayhawks falling to Oregon in the Elite Eight in the Dillon Brooks era. As far as football goes, though, I can’t say there are any ardent feelings on either side.

Big Ten — Ohio State Buckeyes

Series History: 1-9, Ohio State

Last Meeting: 2021

Analysis: Ohio State ranked as our No. 1 biggest nonconference rival for the Ducks for a reason. Although Oregon has a 1-9 record against them, some of the stakes at play when these two line up across from each other are massive, including a national championship game and a pair of Rose Bowls. A yearly meeting between these two teams would be incredible.

Big 12 — Kansas State Wildcats

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Series History: 1-0, Oregon

Last Meeting: 2013

Analysis: The only meeting between these two teams gave us the ultimate De’Anthony Thomas highlight, so that’s always fun. Outside of that, though, there isn’t much of a rivalry.

Big Ten — Penn State Nittany Lions

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Series History: 1-3, Penn State

Last Meeting: 1995

Analysis: It feels like a crime that these two teams have not played each other more. The last meeting was a Penn State Rose Bowl victory in 1995, but they haven’t seen each other since then. With regular meetings, I’m sure this could quickly turn into a rivalry.

Big 12 — Oklahoma State Cowboys

Series History: 1-0, Oregon

Last Meeting: 2008

Analysis: We all remember the truck stick that Jeremiah Masoli laid the only time these two played. There isn’t a rivalry at the moment, but I’m sure if you regularly put a team that wears orange and black with the abbreviation “OSU” on Oregon’s schedule, they could conjure up some hatred pretty quickly.

Big Ten — Nebraska Cornhuskers

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Series History: 2-6, Nebraska

Last Meeting: 2017

Analysis: Nebraska is ranked No. 10 on our list of nonconference rivals for the Ducks, and the history between the two actually has some juice. I’d love to see a regularly-scheduled matchup between the two.

Big Ten — Wisconsin Badgers

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Series History: 3-3, Tied

Last Meeting: 2020

Analysis: This is certainly a rivalry if I’ve ever seen one, ranked No. 2 on our list. With multiple Rose Bowl meetings, the Ducks and Badgers have always been going at it on the biggest stage. This would be a great yearly matchup.

Big Ten — Illinois Fighting Illini

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Series History: 2-1, Oregon

Last Meeting: 1995

Analysis: You could have told me Oregon had never played Illinois before and I would have believed you. There is approximately zero juice for a rivalry here.

Big 12 — TCU Horned Frogs

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Series History: 1-2, TCU

Last Meeting: 2016

Analysis: We all remember what happened in the Alamo Bowl in 2016. That’s enough for a rivalry to start should these teams meet regularly.

Big Ten — Iowa Hawkeyes

Series History: 2-1, Oregon

Last Meeting: 1994

Analysis: I feel like this would be a fun yearly matchup because the styles are so different between the two teams. However, they haven’t played recently enough to have any sort of bad blood on either side.

Big 12 — Texas Tech Red Raiders

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Series History: 2-0, Oregon

Last Meeting: 1992

Analysis: We will get a chance to see this matchup again this year. Oregon travels to Lubbock, so there’s a chance a rivalry starts to bud. At the moment, though, there is no bad blood on either side.

Big Ten — Minnesota Golden Gophers

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Series History: 1-3, Minnesota

Last Meeting: 2003

Analysis: I don’t think Oregon fans have any harsh feelings toward Minnesota, and I don’t know that Minnesota fans feel any type of way about Oregon.

Big 12 — West Virginia Mountaineers

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Series History: 2-0, Oregon

Last Meeting: 1963

Analysis: Again, you could have told me that Oregon had never played West Virginia and I would have believed you. A regularly scheduled meeting needs to take place for a few years before any sort of rivalry can be born.

Big Ten — Northwestern Wildcats

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Series History: 0-1, Northwestern

Last Meeting: 1974

Analysis: I feel like this could be a solid matchup if there were regular meetings, but we haven’t seen anything in decades. At the moment, I would think nothing of this matchup on the schedule.

Big Ten — Purdue Boilermakers

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Series History: 2-1, Oregon

Last Meeting: 2009

Analysis: This is another team in the Big Ten that I feel like would mean very little on Oregon’s potential conference schedule. While there is a little bit of history there, I don’t feel like either side has very strong feelings about the other.

Overal Analysis

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Breaking it down, Oregon’s record against both conferences is as follows:

Oregon vs. the Big Ten: 22-34

Oregon vs. the Big 12: 14-7-1

Obviously, Oregon has had far greater success against the Big 12, but they’ve played the Big Ten way more over the years. The Ducks have won as many games against Big Ten teams as they’ve played Big  12 teams in total.

I think that it’s clear a move to the Big Ten would better suit Oregon, since there is that much more history and familiarity with that group of schools in place.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire