I'm in favor of creating a Big 12 network and adding four schools; two from the west and two from the east.
In the west, BYU is the obvious choice given their national following and tradition of being a solid football program. I would partner them with Colorado State. While traditionally not a football power, they would deliver the Denver market to the conference network (translating to good additional revenue for the Big 12) and provide the conference with excellent geographic continuity.
In the east, I would take UConn. Again, not a traditional football power, but they would bring an excellent TV market and are a flagship university in the northeast. Not an ideal geographic fit, but if the conference were split into divisions, southern schools wouldn't need to travel to Connecticut very often. My second addition in the east is a wild card. I'd pick Tulane. The New Orleans market is a great one for a potential network, and they would bring an expanded footprint for the conference as well as an outstanding academic profile.
Many would say "a lot of those schools suck at football, so don't add them". Two points. One, football programs go up and down in terms of success. Baylor went from perennial doormat to national power. Texas went from national power to missing bowl games consistently. In a conference that already has many consistently solid football programs, adding schools based on their football talent shouldn't be priority number one. Let's not pretend like the ACC and Big Ten are stacked from top to bottom (Boston College, Purdue, etc.).
So the divisions would be BYU, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia, and UConn in the north with the Texas schools, Oklahoma schools, and Tulane in the south. The conference would have an enhanced academic profile as a whole, great quality football on the field, a lot of major TV markets for the network, a good balance of public and private schools, and decent geographic continuity.
I don't have any scalding takes or big plans. I don't have any expertise in this area. Honestly, as long as Texas Tech is fine I don't particularly care. Therefore, I have thought up several scenarios that could or could not happen. These scenarios are ranked by levels of insanity, 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%.
We bring in BYU and Cincinnatti. They expand the TV market and have a history of relative athletic success. It would suck for WVU, but it would be better for the other 9 members of the conference, and ultimately, if we have to expand, I think that's the way we go. It amplifies our TV markets without doubling up on any areas.
We bring in 6 schools for the explicit purposes of competing with the SEC. UCF, Memphis, UCONN, BYU, Cincinnatti, and Houston are all in. We pump money into athletic programs and begin poking the proverbial bear. The Big XII Network is founded, and will become a solid moneymaker.
We disband the Big XII entirely, scattering the remains of the SWC to the four winds. I rank this as insane because I hate the idea of superconferences, which would inevitably be formed with the remains of the Big XII. We would more than likely follow Texas to the Pac-12, which would become the Pac-16 almost overnight. The SEC would get a couple more schools too, and the Big 10 would swell its ranks as well. The ACC would likely die a slow, painful death, but hey, who cares about student athletes when there's money to be had, right?
We go full renegade and add three schools: Alabama, Arkansas, and Oregon. So much money. So many TV markets. This is what you want, right? You want that Phil Knight cash? You want them Nick Saban bagmen? Who cares anymore, just build a monument to the almighty dollar in each stadium. Put advertisements on the player's jerseys (but don't pay them, because ***amateurism***). Turn athletic programs into degree factories with one degree that you can get if you choose to play sports in college. Call it "sports studies" or something dumb. This is what you want right? This is expansion?
The Big XII must expand if it is to be competitive. Hear me out here. There's one place that no one has expanded before: The Milky Way Galaxy.
My proposal is simply. We stuff the entire city of Norman into a rocket and fire it at Jupiter in a bid to expand the Big XII's footprint to the Gas Giants. Saturn is beautiful this time of year, and Jupiter's intense gravity means that the athletics programs based up there get stronger exponentially fast.
It'll be a challenge getting the alien species that live on Jupiter's moons to create colleges and start playing human sports, but ultimately this is the only way to safely expand the Big XII. Think of the TV money that will come from UT vs Europa University in Io Stadium. It'll be can't miss television.
I'm all for Big 12 expansion and it seems like the Longhorn Network is the main holdup at the moment. If UT doesn't want to give it up, then kick them out and they can go Independent. I think they'll eventually cave though and we'll add some more schools. The two I'd like to add the most are BYU and Cincinnati. BYU is a great school and would expand the Big 12 to another time zone. Plus, Texas Tech wouldn't be the furthest west in the Big 12 anymore.
The Big 12 would have to accommodate for the time zone differential though when it comes to scheduling. Cincinnati would help out Iowa State and West Virginia by being another school located up North (if you call it that) and like BYU, they'd be competitive in athletics. If both of these schools were added, I'd like to see East/West divisions. Below are my proposed divisions. While geographically speaking they don't line up perfectly, competitively I think they do.
Agree? Disagree? Have a good plan yourself? Let us know in the comments!