Feb 25, 2012; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks senior Vanessa Phillips (left), senior Josh DeBoer (center) and freshman Mandy Perkins (right) before the game against the Missouri Tigers at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12-SEC Series to Replace Big East-SEC Challenge Next Season

Big East dissolution has precipitated the ending of the annual Big East/SEC Challenge, but the SEC will not be without a power conference partner in interleague play for the next two seasons.

The Big 12 and SEC are linking up to begin a new hardwood series, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz. The two leagues will christen the two-year challenge in the 2013-14 season and the series will  adopt the alternating home-and-away format of the traditional ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Conference realignment has given way to the creation of the new series, but it will also add extra intrigue befitting of a true interleague rivalry. The SEC poached two of the Big 12’s charter members last year, seizing Texas A&M and Missouri. The newly minted challenge could potentially reopen the Border War and give way to a Texas-Texas A&M game, a rivalry state legislators are already trying to mandate in football.

With the Big East falling off the table  as a viable power conference, college basketball will soon face an odd number (5) of high-major leagues. The Pac-12, which has set up interleague meetings with the Big 12 before, would be without a conference foe. The emergence of the Mountain West Conference as a top-tier league, however, could present a compelling match for Larry Scott’s association. An interleague series between the two western conferences would put regional bragging rights on the line.

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