We start this year’s Top 10 list with a topic that won’t seem to go away: Realignment.

It’s a topic that won’t seem to go away for more than a month at time on a national level.  (Flavor of the month: the dissolution of the Big East)  But realignment had a big effect throughout Oklahoma in 2012.

On a national level, three schools made the jump from NAIA to NCAA Division II.  Northwestern, Oklahoma Christian and Rogers State were all accepted into the three-year transitional process.  NWOSU allowed for some drama, too.  Because not all of its administration was available to be on campus when the NCAA handed down word of the fate of this year’s applicants, Northwestern delayed its announcement of acceptance, allowing people to think this might be a denial, since the Rangers were turned away in 2011.  But in the end, everyone in Alva was happy and it gave Northwestern center stage with their press conference.

Northwestern joined Southern Nazarene as the first new members added to the Great American Conference, leaving behind the Sooner Athletic Conference.  SNU is now in its second year of the transitional process into D-II.

NWOSU and SNU began play in the GAC in 2012 and Oklahoma Christian has also already made its to move – to the Heartland Conference.  Rogers State will remain in the SAC in 2012-2013 and move to the Heartland Conference starting in 2013.

Lubbock Christian also made a similar move to D-II, taking the Sooner Athletic Conference membership from 12 in 2011-2012 down to seven at the end of this year.  This would have a big impact on this powerful league.

So in September, SAC commission John Hudson announced the addition of four schools to the conference: Southwestern Christian from Bethany, Okla., and Northwood, Texas Wesleyan and Southwestern Assemblies of God, all from Texas.  The SAC membership will be back to 11 in the 2013-2014 athletic year.

And we can’t forget that Central and Northeastern State officially entered the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 2012.  The initiation into the MIAA football schedule was tough.  The Bronchos won their first game on their fourth try, but finished 2-8. NSU was the final Oklahoma school to earn its first victory, winning in Week Seven, but won every game from then on.

Joey McWilliams lives in Durant. He founded and provides the bulk of the content for OklahomaSports.Net. He is a long-time sports journalist, having covered sports via radio, newspaper, television and the Internet since 2000. Joey was the color analyst for the Southeastern Savage Storm football and basketball teams from 2001-2011 and again for football in 2015. He also does play-by-play for Southeastern volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball on radio and streaming Internet video for Mix 96.1 in Durant. He can also be seen on the GAC Sports Network and as the play-by-play announcer on the Showcase Game of the Week high school football broadcast on KSBI in OKC. Joey is an alum of both Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma State University. He completed his second bachelor's degree in 2012, a journalism/broadcasting degree at OSU in sports media. He earned first place in the television sports play-by-play category in the 2012 OAB/OBEA competition. Joey also broadcasts regularly on the NFHS Network and was on ESPN3 for the 2015 Live United Texarkana Bowl and on the call of the 2016 Great American Conference basketball tournaments. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on the Spano and Black Attack on the Sports Byline USA Network. He also coached high school girls' and boys' basketball for seven years and high school football for one season at Victory Life Academy.