Blog Entry

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Posted on: January 25, 2012 11:27 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli

Maybe you thought conferences were done expanding after all the movement we saw before the 2011 season started. After all, nobody was shuffling the deck during the season. Then on Tuesday it was announced that Navy would be joining the Big East for the 2015 season, and it looks like the dominoes have started falling again.

According to The Chronicle (subscription), the Big 12 is once again considering expanding the conference. While nothing is imminent, two sources told the paper that the Big 12 adding at least one new member is "very possible."

That new member would likely be Louisville, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Before it was announced that West Virginia would be joining the conference, there were reports that half the schools were split on which school they wanted to extend an invitation to. Half wanted West Virginia, half wanted Louisville.

An expansion committee plans to put together a report for the Big 12's Board of Directors next week. Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis, and Kansas State president Kirk Schulz make up the committee. 

“I don’t want to send the message, ‘Oh, they’re getting ready to expand,’” Castiglione told The Chronicle. “But you’d be naïve to think there’s not instability still in our business.

“From a transition standpoint, we’re in position now to deal with the reality of our world. We’re going to make some evaluations and reach the best conclusion that helps us stabilize our long-term future.”

The conference seems willing to stay at 11 teams, much like the Big Ten did for years, if it adds Louisville, but if the return of a Big 12 championship game is the ultimate goal, it will have to add a twelfth school. As for which school that would be, BYU is being mentioned as a possibility again. Cincinnati has also been mentioned as an option in the past as well.

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Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:20 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

My guess is "Louisville and Cincinnati."  BYU has a very good deal right now.  They have their own TV contract, their own network, and they get to keep all of their bowl money.  If BYU can get a few four and five-star athletes to go with the maturity that their more typical players display when they return from their LDS missions, they will have a great chance to go to a BCS bowl and keep all of the money.
Geographically, BYU would be better off in the Pac 12, but the Pac 12 won't take them because of their LDS affiliation.  It seems rather silly to me, but I hear the Pac 12 presidents take it very seriously.  If they do join a conference, the Big 12 would be the best available fit for them, but they should just stay where they are for now.

The bottom line: as an independent, all BYU has to do is be better than ND at this point, and they are in the "top independent" slot.  If they can manage to do it and lose two or less games, they can make a BCS bowl.  They don't need to join the Big 12: yet.

Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:20 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Yes really. Dont forget UNLV and Mew Mexico in your calculations. Three teams in the MWC combined to get 6 wins last season. Its like the other teams in the conference got 3 extra bye weeks. No team in the Big East had less than 5 wins. The 5-7 teams in the Big East would be bowl teams if they played in the MWC.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:10 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Louisville (the 'Ville) would be a good addition as strong athletic program, good facilities, good school, and growing tradition.   With the SEC taking A&M and Missouri, the gloves are off on territory expansion so Louisville joins the fray and fits nicely into future plans and expansion.   They are the logical choice because of West Virginia.   The time is opportune now with Tennessee down and Vanderbuilt also and Kentucky struggling but improving.   Rubber Stamp them and let's go!

Cincinnati fits also; same region and can also deliver some Ohio and Kentucky talent.   Not quite as strong program, facilities, and university; but Big12 affiliation will greatly improve their lot.    I like them better than BYU due to region and potential so hope they are the #2 solid candidate

Houston-conundrum; it's the bear pissing in the tent or the bear pissing out of the tent issue.   Houston doesn't expand the footprint, doesn't really deliver TV's (Houston is a Pro Franchise town just like Dallas) and the alumni there are what I call "Migrant" - they go AWAY to college then come back to Houston (like Dallas).   Talent and potential, but even in the SWC days when they had a good streak for a few years, they still didn't bring a fan base though huge student body (~65% commuter) and market (#6 SMSA at 2008).

BYU-International Fanbase and good base 8 sports.   Right now-they are the premier OTHER independent that will be pulled for OOC games across the entire season so they have the best of both worlds; great TV watching match-ups, get to keep all the profits rather than share with a conference, have their own network, are likeable to the BCS even more than Boise and with just 1 loss with SOS may get into a BCS Bowl.   Conference affiliation RIGHT NOW doesn't make sense though.  The religion and Sunday exception are problematic for any conference affiliation though.

The other three which make sense but have similar issues are Air Force, Colorado St, and Tulane.   Big 12 Membership would benefit all three as future growth but don't think any would be particularly competitive initially. I believe Air Force/CSU is an Either/Or situation - I can't see both as viable additions.   The military nature and restrictions may fall against AF but they are a National power but the footprint would be to gain Colorado TV's, etc and Air Force would not actually do that; but what Air Force does bring is a respectful and albeit patriotic program that is hard to hate - like beating up on your little brother.   Colorado St has a long way to go to be competitive across the board in the Big 12 and would be like adding another Iowa St - currently 2nd or 3rd in their own state but potential is there.    Tulane - top flight school in Louisianna, in New Orleans with decent athletic programs; but small school.   This would immediately help Tulane and open the door for the Big 12 to the talent of the area.   The SEC definitely doesn't want this option as the delta belongs to LSU and Alabama and Southern Miss; introducing an option in this area where Big ol' Defensive linemen come from - would weaken the SEC.   Adding Tulane could start a territorial war between the Big 12 and SEC.    The SEC doesn't want Tulane anymore than the Big 12 wants Houston, for the exact same reasons, but they don't want them in another conference either as too easy an excuse to add them into the recruiting territory and breeding familiarity on the other conference's turf. 

Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:03 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Starting in 2006 WVU has a Sugar bowl, Fiesta bowl, and Orange bowl win over the SEC, Big  and ACC champs. Thats 3 BCS wins. Also they have won atleast 9 games every season since that 2005 year. In what way is WVU a downgrade in competition to any of the teams that have left?
I am also pretty sure that TCU has 2 BCS wins as well. That makes 5 between the two that are currently being added. If louisville is added as well that makes 6 BCS wins.
How many BCS wins do the teams that have left have?

Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:01 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

'The Big East has most certainly NOT lagged behind the Mountain West. In several seasons, the Mountain West's best was better than the Big East's best, that is true. But the MWC as a whole is not as good as the Big East."


For some reason a schedule consisting of Louisville, Syracuse, and Conneticut does not appear to be significantly more "formidable" than a schedule consisting of let's say San Diego State, Colorado State and Wyoming. It is not clear that the old Big East was appreciably "deeper"  or better "as a whole"  than the Mountain West.

The reality is that the Big East if often lucky to have 2 teams in the top 25, and typically those teams are outside the top 15. The one year Conneticut lost to Oklahoma in the Fiesta, I'm not sure if any team from the Big East was ranked in the final top 25. The last time a Big East team was in the top ten, Cincinnati got drilled in the Sugar Bowl showing that not only were the Bearcats overranked, but the league itself was weak since Cincinnati was unbeaten in league play.

I agree that West Virginia was had quality bowl victories including BCS bowls, however, they are the exception----the remainder of the conference has had few quality wins.

Since: Jan 12, 2012
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:00 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Rutgers would would be a good candidate as it would give the Big 12 a presence in NYC

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 1:58 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

ThinkerT: Only if you are unaware that they have relied on their opponents' unfamiliarity with their style of football to provide an edge. That goes away when everybody sees you all of the time. Then, talent comes to the fore. With the advantages that Texas is building on the revenue side, they would quickly become a monster were they to do what Ohio State just did. One-two-three-four/I smell a bidding war. Somebody's soon going to make Urban Meyer look poor by way of comparison. Add in all of those Longhorns-obsessed Texans and thank your lucky stars that the days of 120-man squads are long gone.

Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: January 25, 2012 1:50 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Bama, KU will unfortunately still be pretty competitive in Bball, no matter what teams join (unfortunately).  Losing Colorado was not a big loss due to their fact that their fan base doesn't travel well. Nebraska was a huge hit. Missouri was a huge hit. A&M - we'll see,  I guess. I miss the old Big 8 rivalries more than anything, but all of this isn't about sentiment, just money.

In terms of competition, Louisville and WV are both regularly ranked teams in both basketball and football.  Both had (are having) better years than A&M in both sports.

There's a lot of ill-will towards Missouri leaving, but they did what they felt was best. Again, I didn't like to see the rivalry go. I live in KC and it's pretty much a college sports city so it will suck to see a major player move to the SEC, just like it sucked to watch Nebraska go last year.  Just like moving from the Big 8 to the Big 12, you just adapt and move on with whoever you get.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 1:49 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Bama75201: Big Daddy and his hoochie mama got eyes only for one another. What's going on now is best thought of as settling up the damages with the bar tab.

Since: Apr 16, 2008
Posted on: January 25, 2012 1:48 pm

The Big 12 still looking to expand

Leave it alone.  A 10 member Big XII is working just fine.  Only major conference where each team plays everybody and no need for a ridiculous 'championsihip" game.  With divisions and a championship game, run risk of what happened in Pac 12 this season.  UCLA at 6-6 played for conference championship, and altho not likely, it is possible a team like that could win it.  Also possible for teams to play "championship" game who met during regular season.  These games are a lose/lose situation if a 12-0 team gets upset, they go nowhere except maybe to the Axle Grease Bowl.

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