BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF could all be joining the Big 12 if the league were to expand.
With the Big 12 losing Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC, it feels increasingly likely the league will be expanding to 12 teams in the coming years with BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF the front-runners, according to Max Olson of The Athletic
The Power Five conference has operated with 10 teams since adding TCU and West Virginia to offset losing Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC in 2012. The Big 12 has not been a 12-team league since Colorado and Nebraska were members.
Adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF makes a ton of sense for the Big 12.
Big 12 expansion rumors: BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF all make sense
BYU has a huge fanbase due to its LDS affiliation. While the Cougars will never play on Sundays, adding BYU gives the Big 12 footprint the Salt Lake media market, as well as it being a smaller version of Notre Dame to some extent. The Cougars are the only non-Power Five program to have won a national title. This came back in 1984 during the height of the LaVell Edwards era. Their games produce ratings and the viewership BYU delivers is essential when negotiating the next TV contract.
As for Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, all three schools are located in massive metropolises and have been among the best Group of Five teams during the College Football Playoff era. Adding Cincinnati and UCF gets the Big 12 into Ohio and Florida. While the Big 12 already has three schools in Texas, adding Houston makes a ton of sense geographical, and it’s the best addition from a basketball perspective. U of H is also dripping in financial resources.
By adding these four universities, it will go a long way towards keeping the conference together.
As for the American Athletic Conference, they’ll be gutted with the departure of the three programs.
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