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Big 12 Expansion MEGAPOST

Covering all aspects of the Big 12 expansion discussion

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Buzz has been growing around the topic of Big 12 expansion this week after a consulting firm notified the conference that their chances of reaching the College Football Playoff would increase by about 10% if they added two teams and played a conference championship game. So I’m going to try and touch on every aspect of Big 12 expansion in this, the MEGAPOST.


To avoid a firestorm of #wellactually or misunderstandings in the comments section, here are a few disclaimers before we get started.

1. The Big 12 is not going to “poach” a team from another “Power 5” conference (SEC, Big 10, ACC, Pac-12), including Notre Dame. Would it be cool to get Nebraska back, or add Florida State? Sure. But the grant of rights signed by other Power 5 schools make it a financial impossibility.

2. The Big 12 should have taken Louisville with West Virginia instead of TCU during realignment a few years ago..

3. The Big 12 is not expanding without the formation of a conference network, which would require alterations to the Longhorn Network.

4. Conference expansion is all about money, and the only sport that truly generates big money is football. Expansion isn’t as simple as adding the best football teams though, as the programs added to the conference must add revenue, which in this case means eyeballs on television sets. Even if people within a market don’t watch that market’s team, the idea is they will tune in to watch the likes of Texas and Oklahoma.

5. Travel is almost a non-issue. Interdivision schools would only have to travel to a particular opponent’s campus once every four years, while intra-division schools would swap every other year. In other words, TCU can’t whine about going to Connecticut once every four years when they play probably eight or nine games within the states of Texas or Oklahoma each year.


1. Central Florida and Southern Florida – They are pretty much only in the discussion because they’re within the state of Florida. If we were talking about Florida State, the University of Miami, or the University of Florida, then that would matter. But adding the fourth or fifth best university in the state just because they’re in Florida is nonsensical.

2. Boise State – They were successful under Chris Petersen, but the Boise television market doesn’t justify any consideration.

3. Houston and SMU – The Big 12 would be making the same mistake it made when adding TCU, by duplicating the conference footprint instead of expanding it. Therefore, no additional eyeballs on television sets, and no reason to consider them.


1. BYU – This is pretty straightforward. BYU has a solid football program, is in a decent sized media market, and has a national following. They expand the Big 12 footprint, bring in revenue under a conference network model, and maintain the on field product expected of Power 5 conferences. BYU is the clear cut favorite in Big 12 expansion talks.

2. Colorado State – Good geographic fit with brand new facilities on the way, the Rams would bring the coveted Denver market. They might struggle on the field at first, but like any team, could find their footing with time. If Baylor can turn into a good football team, so can Colorado State.


1. Connecticut – UConn is perhaps the last true blue blood university left in a "Group of 5" conference. While they’re located far from a vast majority of the conference, they would bring the extremely coveted New England markets, which would translate to a ton of potential monetary value for the Big 12. The addition of UConn would enhance the reputation of the Big 12 in time conidering their academic standing, location, and athletic potential beyond the sport of basketball.

2. Cincinnati – Again, a pretty good football program with recently renovated facilities and a good media market with the Cincinnati/Dayton area. They would also provide a bridge to West Virginia, tying the conference together better geographically. Not a whole lot to dislike here.

3. Memphis – Everything said about Cincinnati above holds true here, just to a lesser degree. Pretty good media market, a little further from West Virginia, but still a bridge. Uninspiring academics, but seemingly on the rise football program. I wouldn’t be thrilled with them, but they’re worth considering.

4. Tulane – Stop laughing. The New Orleans market would be incredible, not only for the viewership, but for recruiting purposes and driving a stake right into the heart of SEC country. Amazing academics, but a lot to be desired on the field. Still, worth considering. PS - Who wouldn't want to travel to New Orleans every few years for an away game?!


I foresee two viable options for Big 12 expansion.

Expand to 12 teams – This probably means taking two schools from the east to help out with West Virginia’s geographic fit, though BYU is still so hard to pass up on. My personal preference if the Big 12 adds two teams would be BYU and Connecticut. I believe these additions would generate the most revenue and best maintain the Big 12’s overall prestige. But if the conference wants only schools in the east, as they have indicated previously, I would say take Connecticut and Cincinnati.

Divisions would be the Texas and Oklahoma schools in the South division, all others in the North division. Scheduling would be simple. You play everyone in your division, alternating home and away every season. Then you play three teams from the opposite division for two consecutive years, alternating home and away. The next two seasons you play the other three interdivision schools. Eight total conference games, four nonconference games, and a championship game at the end of the season between division winners.

Expand to 14 teams – If the Big 12 determines adding four teams, and therefore four new media markets, generates the most revenue for a conference network, I say take two from the west and two from the east. BYU and Colorado State as travel partners from the west, and Connecticut and Cincinnati in the east.

Divisions would be a little bit tricky. Debate it in the comments section, and take into account traditional rivalries, geography, and competitive balance. Scheduling would be similar to the above format. Play all teams in your divisions every year, and find some rotation between the seven teams in the other division (perhaps with consideration to “protected rivalries”). You’re probably playing nine conference games total in this format, and three nonconference games. Division winners face off in the title game at the end of the season.

Okay, that’s my best effort to cover all the bases, though this topic of discussion seems to rage on. Let me know what you think in the comments. Should we add anyone? Why? Who?