Is the Big 12 expansion plan a big mistake?

By Amy Daughters -

After long contending that expansion was unnecessary, the Big 12, according to, is indicating that it hopes to make a decision on adding teams by October 17.

According to the same article, the shorter-short list is down to 12 schools: Air Force, BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, Colorado State, UConn, Houston, Rice, South Florida, SMU, Temple, and Tulane.

Though each of these options has its own set of pros and cons, what if the Big 12 will incur irreparable damage by choosing any of the schools still left standing?

Think about it this way, why is the Big 12 expanding? Is it to form bigger divisions for its league championship game, due to be reinstated in 2017? Is it to make the conference more comparable, in size, to the ACC (14), Big Ten (14), Pac-12 (12), and SEC (14)?

Or, is it to give it more weight when it comes down to the College Football Playoff committee making its decision?

The Big 12 is competing with the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC for a four-slot CFB Playoff. Until something changes, it’s five pegs vying for four coveted holes.

That means one Power league will be left out every single season. Add in a top-ranked Notre Dame team, and two conferences don’t get the opportunity to compete for a national title.

In a tie, the committee’s decision is going to come down to strength of schedule within each conference, even if it’s only perceived strength. And the only league which currently gets a pass is the SEC.

That basically leaves three slots for four conferences to argue, debate and yes, play themselves into.

Though having a member run the table is the best way to guarantee a place even that becomes an at-risk situation if the given team’s schedule is perceived as weak.

So, why wouldn’t the Big 12 add teams that would push their schedule strength decidedly above what is arguably the weakest Power league top-to-bottom—the ACC?

In other words, if it’s going to expand for a league title game and overall size, why not, while it’s already at it, add teams that will pull the conference’s strength of schedule up?

Adding Cincinnati and Houston, much less Colorado State and SMU, do nothing to boost strength, at best it would maintain the current level. That’s true even if Houston continues to thrive. At some point it’s logical to think that head coach Tom Herman will take the next step in his career. Rightly or wrongly, that would put the Cougars back at square one.

Things get even trickier when you split into divisions and stop playing every other conference member as is the case in the current format. Yes, not playing Oklahoma or Texas is good, that is, until you need that big win to make your case to the CFB Playoff committee.

Adding non-Power partners and splitting into divisions does nothing but dilute schedule strength.

The more effective approach—if the end game is creating a guaranteed slot like the SEC enjoys—is to quell all doubts by adding two current Power programs.

It’s time to poach.

The Big 12 needs to look for partner schools who can add prestige to the league, both academically and athletically, but who won’t be impossible to score wins against. So, while they do need a competitive Power program, they don’t need a Top 5 school.

On the flip side, a potential candidate needs to be willing. Either they are stuck in a league where they have no real identity, or they suffer from playing in a conference where their hopes of a Playoff slot are diminished by strength of schedule.

This makes the ideal target an ACC school, also, ironically the league that borrowed enough teams from the Big East to end its era as a football conference.

The other compelling argument for a team to leave the ACC, from a football standpoint, is the conference’s standing as an elite basketball league. An ideal target for the Big 12 is an ACC school that isn’t a basketball powerhouse, and doesn’t have a reason to stick around to amp up its national standing in that sport.

For those rightly concerned with the ACC’s 20-year grant of rights deal, making it as per “financially untenable for a school to leave,” it’s important to remember that other lucrative deals have been broken in the past. If not, the huge wave of recent conference realignment would have never happened.

Back in 2011, when Nebraska and Colorado fled the Big 12 for the Big Ten and Pac-12 respectively, the two schools were originally supposed to forfeit 80% of their Big 12 payout in 2009-10 and 2010-11. This per the established Big 12 bylaws.

Following the letter of the law would have cost Nebraska close to $20 million and Colorado $15 million. What really happened, to keep the case out of court, was a settlement. The Cornhuskers paid $9.25 million and the Buffaloes $7 million, or roughly half of what they owed.

And then there’s Maryland, which left, of all things, the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014. The league had originally determined that the Terps owed it $52.2 million, they settled for $31.4. That was $21.1 million less than the established agreement.

The ACC’s new grant of rights is stiffer still, but history proves that deals can be broken, especially if your partners have deep enough pockets.

Consider the following possibilities.

Miami (Fla.)

Perhaps the most compelling option, Miami hasn’t had an identity or any palpable football success since bolting from the Big East in 2004.

The Hurricanes’ run of titles as Big East members from 1991-2003 (nine conference and two national championships) ended abruptly when they joined the ACC. They are also the “second best” Florida team from the conference. Big 12 membership would mean being on par with Florida and Florida State as being a big-time player in its own big-time conference.

Miami would also earn the Big 12 a significant recruiting win by having its teams play annually in the richest-talent pool in the nation.

Everybody wins including fans across the map. Would you rather watch Oklahoma-UConn or Oklahoma-Miami?

Georgia Tech

Adding Georgia Tech with Miami or as a stand-alone could add serious long-term viability to the Big 12.

What hurts is that the Yellow Jackets don’t have an urgent need to leave the ACC. Tech has been a member of the league since dropping independent status in 1978. In that time, it’s won three conference titles and one national championship.

That said, if Georgia Tech were to win the ACC now, in the era of the CFB Playoff, it is plausible that it would be overlooked by an option with a bigger fan base. To illustrate, if Alabama won the SEC and then Georgia Tech, Texas, Ohio State, USC all captured the other conference crowns with one-loss a-piece, Tech would likely be left out in the cold. That wouldn’t necessarily be the case if Florida State or Clemson won the league instead, likely getting the nod or at least more serious consideration.


Pitt is the first of three options that would not only add a “bigger” name to the Big 12, it would help shore up West Virginia as a geographic partner.

The Panthers have only been ACC members since 2013, so it’s not like years and years of history, tradition and lore are tying them down.

Additionally, bringing in Pitt would give the Mountaineers more than a local team to play, it would renew the Backyard Brawl, one of many significant rivalry games lost to realignment.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech and Pitt would serve as a tremendous two-team combo to a possible North division. Like Georgia Tech, the Hokies have less reason to abandon the ACC as they’ve enjoyed plenty of success since joining in 2004.

Other than Miami, Virginia Tech would provide more attractive matchups than any of the other options. Again, when you start fantasizing about TCU-Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State-Virginia Tech, you see the bigger picture. Not only could the Big 12 boost its own viability by abandoning its list of final candidates, it could make college football even better.


Last but not least is Louisville, which joined the ACC in 2014. Though the move got the Cardinals off the sinking ship that was the Big East, their placement in the Atlantic Division means that they’ll always be in a three-way power struggle with Clemson and Florida State.

It’s as tough as a division as there is outside of the SEC West and the Big Ten East. Why the Cardinals didn’t negotiate themselves into the more wide-open Coastal is hard to understand.

For the Big 12, Louisville has it all, including a stepping-stone location between West Virginia and the rest of the league.

The issue is, why would they want to leave the ACC? The answer may be as simple as saying, would Bobby Petrino leave Louisville for the Oklahoma job?

Comments (78)

I’m not sure why you think these teams would leave their stable conference, especially with the new ACC network that’s sure to boost revenues well above what the Big 12 teams are getting. You did address the Grant of Rights issue by saying it’s negotiable, well, that works both ways. OU could go to the SEC, Big 10 could tap Kansas, even the ACC could court WVU.

no one is leaving the acc, big 10 , or the sec,,,,, get that out of your head right now,,,, it’s all about money, and each of these conf. pay out more than the big 12,,, plus theres a certain peaking order, and the big 12 is at the bottom of the power 5 or at least tied with the pac12 for the bottom

I agree, Tiger Lily. No one is leaving any Power 5 conference to join the Big 12. It has nothing to offer any P5 school, and everybody knows that Texas and Oklahoma are the Big 12 — hence, they run the show. The conference exists at their pleasure. Nobody wants to be in a conference with two bullies. Besides, the conference is unstable, and the revenue is far less in the Big 12 than any other power conference. Not exactly enticements.

The Big 12 needs to expand if it wants to keep up with the other P5 leagues. Houston and Cincinnati are probably the two best choices.

ACC schools, including Notre Dame, are tied down by grant of rights through 2035. That is just stupid to even talk about it. It shows a lack of research by the author here.

All the other power conference schools are locked in by these GOR agreements until 2024 or 2025 seasons. So expansion can only come from the group of five.

For the Big 12 Expansion is about two things. Money now and existence in 2025 when Oklahoma and Texas are likely to move to other conferences (B1G will take whomever they want, the SEC will be able to claim a solid school or two after that), likely taking Kansas with one of them. The money now comes from FOX and ESPN paying full shares for new schools that take a haircut (still better than their G5 earnings) for the remainder of the TV contract.

The other schools in the Big 12 need to know they will have a conference. Second expansion is about building a digital network like the ACC just accomplished with ESPN. That is necessary for the long term survival of the Big 12, and to generate revenue as media shifts. Having 12 or 14 schools increases the inventory of games, and thus the value of the league, for their own network. The B1G, ACC and SEC basically have 40% more inventory which they have leveraged into networks.

As for institutional prestige, that is the one factor you have correct. Neither UH nor UC brings that. BYU and UConn would help there, but LGBT issue with one, and bad football with the other may make them indigestible. Those four schools are the only G5 who have P5 or close budgets. Every other G5 is a 20 year project … might as well wait out the ACC Network GOR time line.

Sure the Big 12 would love to have Arizona or Florida State. But no P5 school would ever consider the Big 12, and that is why none expressed any interest and why none is on the potential expansion list. Arizona is an equity owner in the P12N, besides the GOR, and the projected 50% equity sale is targeted around $0.5-1B in the 2023 time frame, or put another way a $40-80m carrot hanging in front of Pac-12 schools to stay put, even as the P12N generates an anemic sub $2m per school annual income right now (it’s increasing, but not like the B1G or SEC).

Articles on expansion by the Big 12 need to keep such realities in mind, and not pretend some ACC or P12 school will walk away from a > $100m revenue.

Did either TCU or Baylor ( despite it’s issues) on the field bolster the Big12 after the last round of expansion ( look at their rankings the last 5 years) – the answer is of course and adding UH UofM UCONN UC would do both and on the basketball court too in big college football and basketball markets and Baylor likely will slide and the Big12 needs some new blood badly ..
UH and the UofM were both in the top 25 the last two years btw ! UCONN not UofL FSU or OU beat UH last year in football .. those four AAC schools are better than the perceptions especially moving forward and fighting on a leveled playing field or court ..

You’re joking right… You call out the author for not doing research then you make statements without any knowledge of what you’re talking about. uc is an excellenct academic school.

I don’t understand your reasoning on several points. You quickly dismiss U of Cincinnati but then suggest Pitt and U of L. When the three were conference mates in the Big East, it was UC who as winning conference titles. You don’t recognize that the GORs are a significant change from the last time poaching occurred. Given their intent to stop the poaching, I suspect conferences will be very aggressive to defend them. Finally, going to a conference with TX and OU is an easier path for U of L than FSU & Clemson? I don’t see that. Finally, the ACC is a much better run conference. The current expansion process of the Big 12 is a mess. Why would any of the P5 teams want to join the Big 12 dysfunction?

Each of the P5 leagues have teams that are patsies in football on many given years…ACC has Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia; PAC 12 has Washington State, and Colorado; Big 10 has Purdue, Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana; SEC has Vanderbilt, and Kentucky. Big 12 has Kansas. Kansas, Duke, Indiana and Kentucky do help their conferences in basketball consistantly. To say Houston and Cincinnati or even Connecticut don’t hold their own to the Power Conferences just isn’t so.

I completely agree and check UH & UofM’s recruiting football recruiting rankings on rivals 2017 for a pretty good indication that they are beating P5 schools for top talent too ..

BYU is an obvious choice. The LGBT issue is way over blown and the Big 12 presidents know it. Did you watch the BYU – Arizona game which was in Arizona. There were 25,000 BYU fans at the game, more than Arizona. The BYU home game with UCLA game had over 62,00 plus in attendance. After the game the UCLA coach said BYU and it’s fans were classy.

I have known Mormons since high school and that have always treatt me with love and respect. Yes, they have traditionall Christian beliefs. So do many Americans. But they extend the hand of fellowship to all beliefs in a charitable way. They recently came from many Southern states to help the flood victims in Baton Rouge. The governor of Louisiana sang their praises.

BYU would add to the success and prestige of the Big 12. They are a class act.

I’m gay and I have no issue with BYU in the Big12; I think UH & BYU are the best choices. Geography is an issue but BYU does travel well and BYU & WV would be in separate divisions so some mitigation there. Unfortunately, it appears BYU is out. If the Big12 adds 2 now perhaps 2 more later on. My view is BYU would be best served by aligning with Boise, San Diego State, CSU and merge with the 10 AAC members assuming UH, CINCIN are in. That would be a potent conference; SMU, Tulsa, Memphis joining in a west division & the others in the east. BYU would have a path to a NY6 bowl that’s much easier and the AAC is the go-to conference for Power5s looking for non-P5 candidates for expansion. It would also prove that BYU can work within a conference framework.

I think the LGBT is the cop out, as the BXII has other religious schools and they would, by nature, all be bigoted towards that group. What is the big issue is their staunch no-Sunday play, which would be like trying to bring in a Hasidic Jewish school to play college football, and doesn’t bode well for all other sports, tournaments, bowl games, etc.

UH doesn’t make sense because the BXII already has Texas covered, UConn is just too far away. I think the only one that does make sense is Cincinnati as it provides a natural rival for WVU and they compete well and have been upgrading their facilities. Outside of them…. well, slim pickings especially if you look at a radius that makes sense for the schools to be in the same league.

Shep, you’re wrong about one thing: The Big 12 does not have Texas covered. It certainly doesn’t have Houston covered, and Houston is the largest city in the state with more than 6 million people in the metro area. Right now, the SEC owns Houston — not the Big 12. Look at the giant Houston TV market. Last season, the SEC had 6 of the 10 college games with the best viewership. The University of Houston had 2 of the top 10 games, and the entire Big 12 conference had 2. This year, the UH-Oklahoma game at NRG Stadium got a 12.8 rating in Houston, which is higher than any game last season except the national championship game. A lot of Big 12 supporters claim that the conference “owns Houston and Texas,” but that simply isn’t true. There are a lot of Texas A&M and LSU fans in Houston (note the proximity to Louisiana), and if the Big 12 wants to improve their market share, they definitely need to add Houston, which would at least double their market share in that major city.

Let’s see……For all of you who think UH should not be asked to join because it brings another Texas school into the fray of the conference making it 5 Texas schools…well what about the Pac-12 having 4 California schools? That theory just got shot down. The writer talks about if/when Tom Herman leaves and UH falls back….well, isn’t that the case for almost every school every year? Another dumb theory rebutted. Look people, it is not rocket science. Houston brings the recruits in truly the hottest bed of talent (who want to stay close to home), the fans (look at OU vs. UH) and the viewership (highest rating among ALL BIG 12 schools just for OU/UH. The Coogs always crank out the best coaches (i.e. Sumlin, Kingsbury (asst. coach), Holgerson, Briles, etc…and now Herman (saving the best for last). Houston deserves the higher calling and the Big 12-2 needs Houston. Period.

Don, I live in Houston, you’re wrong. That would be like saying this area is exclusively populated with Texans fans and that Cowboys and Saints games don’t get good ratings. The main thing these conferences want is to be included on the basic cable tier (see: B1G getting Maryland and Rutgers, P12 getting Colorado) and that isn’t something that works in the BXII’s favor due to LHN. Houston IS covered by the BXII as much as it can be at this moment, and adding Houston does nothing but dilute that even though they are realistically the 2nd best choice (I’d say behind Cincinnati). If there were an actual BXII network, the Florida schools would be better options.

BYU has issues on top of issues to join any league and if gaining 23 yards rushing last Saturday vs UCLA …hmmmm

UH is not back to square one if Herman leaves; a lot of investment has been put into the program. Remember Sumlin? Briles? Both UH coaches; UH will attract another good coach. UH’s push will continue whether he leaves or not. The Big12’s main knock against UH is that it would be a regular power if in a power conference. Sounds like UH would increase Big12 strength. A championship game with a round robin format is stupid and will lead to problems and has little upside. If the Big12 wants to add 2 weak programs then I agree that the conference is better off doing nothing.

Houston Memphis and Cincy play in big boy back yards ( SEC & B1G) and that’s exactly where the Big12 should go! UH football has produced and will produce great coaches frankly similar to Tulsa in basketball historically … for the record without Barry Odom ( left Memphis for MO now HC SEC) Justin Fuente Va Tech or Paxton Lynch .. with a first time head coach Mike Norvell Memphis buried Kansas 43-7 ( granted but ) the show goes on and he’s recruited the best class in UofM history in 9 months on the job !

Despite laughable ” list” Memphis has not announced nor the Big12 that they are out of Big12 expansion and passing on adding Memphis and a top global sports mktg partner will signal the end of the Big12 ( ask the PGA Tour if FedEx knows what they are doing )

I disagree with your conclusion that Houston would not add anything to the Big 12 and that Tom Herman will soon leave as head coach, leaving UH as an also-ran. Houston is an up-and-coming program. They are among the Top 20 FBS schools in winning percentage over the past decade, and that is under four different head coaches. UH is in the 8th largest TV market in the nation and last year had the same number of games in the Top 10 in their market as the entire Big 12. This year’s season-opener against Oklahoma got a 12.8 rating locally, which exceeded ANY college game last year. It also beat the Texas-Notre Dame game that was in prime time on a Sunday night by a wide margin. The Big 12 needs Houston more than Houston needs the Big 12. Frankly, Houston shouldn’t have to compete with anyone for Big 12 expansion. They should have been invited to join long ago.

Why should UH of been invited long ago? At the time of the demise of the SWC, UH had dismal fan support, inadequate facilities, and terrible on-the-field results. They were left behind and rightfully so. UH is only generating good ratings now because they have a good team. Where were the fans from 1995 through 2014?

I meant 2011 when Texas Christian and West Virginia were invited to join the conference — one small private school and one school in a different time zone from the rest with no natural rivals in the Big 12. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to get to Morgantown from Lubbock, Texas, or Ames, Iowa, or Manhattan, Kansas?) At that time, UH was well on the way back from its down period in the 1990s and early 2000s. However, Baylor should never have gone to the Big 12 over UH when the SWC broke up. That was strictly a political move. Texas Gov. Ann Richards, a Baylor alum, insisted that Baylor go to the new conference over UH or she would take action changing the Permanent University Fund (PUF), an oil royalty fund that greatly benefits two schools only — the University of Texas and Texas A&M University. Richards’ bluff worked, and Baylor went along for the ride to the Big 12 instead of Houston, the state’s third-largest university after UT and Texas A&M, located in the fourth-largest city in the U.S. and the eighth-largest TV market. It didn’t make sense at the time, and leaving out Houston this time would be even worse.

If by some miracle any of the schools in the Acc left and went to the Big 12, forget Miami because it’s a private school. If you look at the Power 3 conferences, there are only 4 private schools, total. And if the B1g and the Sec were able to, they would probably dump Northwestern and Vanderbilt. Large state schools are the way to go. I am surprised that the Acc was able to get such a good contract with Espn, as they have 6 private schools in BC, Miami, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Duke. And Syracuse is the only one that has a student enrollment greater than 11k.

The B1G actually values academic status, hence why a lot of schools were left off their expansion list years ago due to subpar academics. Vanderbilt is far and away the best academic institution in the SEC, and they need that bad bad. Miami, ND, Cuse, and Duke are all huge brands that draw ratings nationwide regardless of enrollment size.

Shep, if academic status were important in conference expansion, Rice and Tulane would be in the Big 12. Frankly, performance in the classroom isn’t a consideration. Performance on the field is the main criterion. TV market size probably comes next. Why does the SEC need Vanderbilt? Do the Florida, Georgia and Alabama alumni boast about the conference’s SAT scores? That’s ridiculous, of course. The conferences are about athletics, and football is 90 percent of that. Duke is a basketball school, period. Kansas is a basketball school, period. They are in their respective conferences because they were grandfathered in when conferences meant less than they do now. No one wants to watch Duke football. And I would take issue that Syracuse is a national brand. It’s a regional brand on the East Coast. Syracuse hasn’t been a national football power since Ernie Davis, Floyd Little and Larry Csonka played there in the 1960s.

Don, once again, you have no idea what you’re talking about. All you’re looking at is performance on the football field, but conferences are much more than that. Here’s an article from when Rutger’s decided to make the move, highlighting what the benefits of joining the B1G are:

Here’s another one:
“In 2014–2015, members generated more than $10 billion in research expenditures.”

This matters and it is why the B1G went after Maryland and Rutgers, they fit the profile of expanding the footprint but still being in the region and creating natural rivals for PSU, brought in substantial TV markets, and importantly are both members of the AAU. All members that joined the B1G were a part of this, although Nebraska has since lost their membership and I would assume are fighting to get it back due to the perks it brings. There are big bucks outside of the football field, too.

Shep, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. Maryland and Rutgers are the largest public universities in their respective states. They are both in large TV market areas — Baltimore-Washington and the greater New York City area. That is considerably different than Duke or Syracuse. While their high academic rating may have helped them slightly in their effort to gain membership to the Big Ten, that was not the main reason Maryland and Rutgers were admitted. If it were, the Big Ten would have invited Harvard and Princeton. While the Big Ten has a research alliance component among member schools, they are unique in that regard among major collegiate athletic conferences. BTW, the University of Houston is a Carnegie-rated Tier 1 research university, so adding this component when evaluating a school’s credentials for membership in a P5 conference would actually help UH, not hurt it.

Although I personally oppose institutionalize discrimination, I have drawn upon the conclusion that does not represent a problem on the BYU campus and should probably not be held against them in their quest for membership.

The Big-12 needs to do something, not having a championship game is hurting them, plus this year (as of right now) will be very hard to get into the CFP system. I can’t see any of those ACC leaving to join the Big-12, I think those teams are happy where they are. I can see Cincinnati & Houston getting in, right now Houston is a huge catch but Cincinnati is hit or miss. Also the SEC & Pac-12 have their eyes on a couple of teams from the Big-12 so they may want to act fast. I think the BIG gained a lot when they got Nebraska & the Pac-12 broke even when they got Colorado. Big-12 is looking for two power house teams but there are none out there, well, none will be coming from SEC, BIG, Pac-12 at least.

Two things about the article:

First, the Big 12 would certainly do better adding schools like Miami, Virginia Tech, or Pitt than say Colorado State, Cincinnati, or Connecticut. That’s kind of a no-brainer.

Second, none of those school will leave their current conference to join the Big 12.

And one last thing not about the article, but about Big 12 expansion, they will screw this up. Just wait. BYU is the obvious choice and they won’t invite them. And they will eventually pay the price for that because I don’t think any of the other teams mentioned for expansion, outside perhaps Houston, really help the league.

If you remove Texas and Oklahoma from the equation, the Big 12 is already a glorified mid-major conference. Moving to the Big 12 from the ACC is a lateral move at best. Moving from any other P5 conference to B12 is a definite step down. The Big 12 recognizes this and is acting accordingly.

Conferences are all about aligning similar schools and athletic programs as a whole (think athletic budgets and facilities…not how good at football you are). If you analyze these factors, you will see why B12 is in the position that it is.

How many mid major conferences have the stadiums those schools have? How many mid major conferences have a basketball program even remotely resembling Kansas? How many mid major conferences have flagship or land grant schools which represent the whole state of a star with 3+ million people and have the tradition of rabid fanbases like the remain big 12 schools.

Answer to all those questions is NONE! But nice try.

Many? UConn, Ohio, New Mexico, Hawaii, etc. There’s also “flagship” schools in the FCS. Most of whats left in the Big 12, again with the exception of Texas and OU, are all the second-tier/hyphen schools. None of the budgets in the remaining programs come close. Once Texas and OU depart for the SEC, the conference will likely lose it’s P5 status just like the former Big East did. It’s not in anyway a bad thing (mid-majors are awesome!), but one has to be blind not to see it.

The problem with expansion is that it’s turned into a circus.

You have had 6 years to think about potential expansion targets. You have had 4-5 years to think about if you wanted 12 members. The best available schools are the same ones that were available back in 2011/2012 (minus Louisville). This shouldn’t be that difficult. This shouldn’t be dragged out as bad as it has been.

“We want to expand”
“No we don’t”
“Now we want to again”
“We don’t like the options available”

Over and over again. Make up your mind already. What in the world do you possibly need to make this decision that you haven’t already figured out by now?

BYU, Houston, and Cincy are the three best schools available. It’s a no brainer. Add 2 of them or heck, don’t add any at all. Just stop playing games. You’re not getting other P5 schools. There is no way they would want to take a big risk and leave a stable conference for the P5 conference with the most instability.

” You’re not getting other P5 schools. There is no way they would want to take a big risk and leave a stable conference for the P5 conference with the most instability.”

Perfect point! Why would any school from another P5 conference want to risk it, you don’t hear BIG NAMED schools like Auburn, USC or The Ohio State wanting to join a conference that not to long ago lost Texas A&M, Nebraska & Colorado. I am one that believes with others if Texas & Oklahoma leave, forget about it! Its over! Just take what you can get now & make the best of it, try to keep the Sooners & longhorns happy, its not going to get any easier for ya.

Travis and Day — you are both right. The Big 12 has turned expansion into a circus. Just pick the damn schools and get on with it. This whole auditioning process is ridiculous.

ESPN and FOX control realignment. It will always be about television ratings. The market does not need anymore high profile games in the eastern or central time zones. There are plenty of good match-ups provided ever week by the SEC, ACC or B1G. What is needed is to improve ratings of the west coast games in the east coast markets. Adding UT, OU and UofH to the Pac-12 would do that. Those three would be marquee names that evening viewers in the east would tune in for. OU vs Oregon, UT vs USC, Washington or Stanford would attract a national audience. Adding eastern teams to the Big-12 only divides the existing network pie into smaller pieces. ESPN and FOX have the chops to force the Big-12 to realign for maximum television revenues. They should do that before the Big-12 makes yet another mistake.

First off, you are correct about the networks. The networks screwed the Big 12 by pilfering MU, NU, CU and A&M from the conference. Those left are pissed. This is a way to get back at them, because of a clause in their contract which forces them to pay the same amount to the conference for any added schools.

Nobody from the Big 12 is going PAC. Too difficult and NOBODY in the PAC will vote for UH or OU for academic reasons anyway.

The chances of an ACC team joining the Big 12 are about equal to the heat death of the universe happening in the next year.

It is a fantasy to think that Georgia Tech, Miami, or any others would leave stable and lucrative conferences in order to enter a conference which many consider to be on life support anyways. Even if it were attractive, Texas’ special television deal would be a non starter. Finally, the ACC/Big 10/PAC 12 are incredible academic conferences. That may not matter to sports fans, but it does matter to university presidents, alumni boards, and other university stakeholders. Best bet is to take Houston and Cincy and be done with it for now!

Had the B12 added BYU and Louisville 4 years ago, they could have poached from the ACC to get to 14. Had they added BYU and Cincy or Houston during in March they still could have made a good offer and had leverage to get an ACC team. Unfortunately, the conference is run by clowns…. and ultimately decided the best course of action was to have ‘tryouts’. Not only have they looked foolish and divided, but they missed an important ACC poaching window. As a reactionary conference they may be busted up by 2024.

Add BYU and either Houston or Cincy and move forward.

As a KState fan I want to kick Baylor out and replace them with Houston. Then add Cincinnati and Central Florida. All three have huge enrollments and the Big 12 would have an incredible presence as the only conference in high population states in Texas, Ohio and Florida (also great recruiting ground). This would be a stable conference. Then create a network on Netflix showing everything from football games to non-revenue sports to graduation ceremonies and campus concerts and plays. Have 24hr news about what’s happening at each school socially and academically (UCF would have a lot of interesting stuff being in Orlando). As a bonus, make the non-conference football schedule like the SEC’s where they can look good playing one power five opponent, then sneak in 3 cupcakes at helpful times throughout the season. If the Big 12 did all of this, all they would have to do is build up academic prestige which could improve close to the ACC’s status within a decade. After this poach Notre Dame as an affiliate. This is all wishful thinking, the conference will likely die in 9 years with KState in the Mountain West.

“As a bonus, make the non-conference football schedule like the SEC’s where they can look good playing one power five opponent, then sneak in 3 cupcakes at helpful times throughout the season”
This comment is funny since K-State has already (as you would say) four cupcakes on the schedule,
Iowa St
Mizz St
Then you want to kick Baylor out even though the Bears have done pretty descent the last 3 years.
May be kick out Iowa St, Kansas basketball is to meaningful to the conference, not sure what K-State brings.

You can’t count 2 in-conference games as cupcakes, that’s not how it works especially when the conference plays a round robin schedule. As weak as the BXII may be, they still schedule better than the ACC or SEC.

Baylor doesn’t add much in terms of fan support and the program will likely go downhill adding yet another cupcake. A small private college as a cupcake with legal problems overshadowing them would need to be kicked out soon in my opinion. Replacing them with Houston with its over 40,000 enrollment and much bigger city would be better for the conference. And Iowa State at least still has good academics (the big ten thought about adding them) and a much larger enrollment. But if Iowa State could be replaced by someone better, yes that would be great. Just like it would be great for the Big 12 as a whole to replace KState with someone better because we don’t add too much like Iowa State.

And yes, even as a fan I have to say that KState should have been kicked out back in the eighties as that was being discussed by the Big 8; however our enrollment has increased to a healthy state school size and donors are pouring in a lot of money. However, I know that if KState were in the Mountain West right now there would be no good reason for a power conference to add us. We don’t really add anything to the conference yes, but it wouldn’t be a candidate to kick out like Baylor. KState is now a better candidate than Baylor which is smaller, and lacks consistent fan support while having bad legal problems which is already hurting the school dramatically. I loved the Briles era and probably wouldn’t have thought to kick them out just last year. But I know they won’t be kicked out and I hope that they are able to maintain they’re sports and enrollment through this difficult time. I wish that Briles was still the coach because his teams were good for football, they could have won some championships in the coming years.

And as for the schedule comment. Please look at SEC schedules thoroughly. Take Alabama for example. Year after year they make themselves look good by playing a high profile game at the beginning of the year at a neutral site. Then they have the pleasure of three more non-conference games that they can schedule cupcakes, with this years trio: Western Kentucky, Kent State, and in November as an extra week of rest they have Chattanooga. On top of this they are playing a conference cupcake in Kentucky and possibly Mississippi State. I hope everyone can see how the SEC is able to get away with an easier schedule by having 4 non-conference games as a opposed to 3 which the other power five conferences practice. She you said that the Big schedules better now than the SEC and I would agree, but the media and the playoff committee do not see that. The SEC is able to fool them.

I’ll change my “wishful thinking” a little bit. Let’s say we keep the current members, even Baylor through they’re difficult time, and add South Florida (with its huge enrollment, big city, and fertile recruiting), UCF, Houston and Cincinnati. The south division consists of: Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Houston, South Florida, UCF. The north consists of: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, KState, Kansas, Iowa State, Cincinnati, West Virginia. Then do everything I said in my first post. This might actually be better for the conference in order to just add more human population involved in the conference with Baylor and South Florida, and these schools would only add more presence in the high population states of Texas and Florida. Oklahoma and Texas being in opposite divisions would be necessary to keep the balance of power. Of course every team would have to have permanent cross-division rivals like the SEC in order to have the red-river rivalry every year. A change of name to the “Big 14” was actually discussed back in the nineties when the Big 12 almost added BYU and Louisville. So the new name could be the Big 14. In the decades to come this conference could be even more powerful than the original Big 12 because of its extensive footprint in the east.

Western Kentucky is hardly a ‘cupcake.’ Granted, Alabama should beat them every single time they play, but I would stop short of calling them a ‘cupcake.’

Ohio State has cupcakes on their schedule every year. The difference is Ohio State gets Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana, and Northwestern in their conference slate, where Alabama gets LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Auburn.

It’s not even close.

Alabama clearly plays a tougher schedule, even with Chattanooga on the list.

Yes I know what you mean, but Nick Saban probably thought that Western Kentucky would’ve been a true cupcake when he scheduled them a few years ago. And I know that the SEC is the best and deepest football conference. But regardless, in any given year a conference with 4 non-conference games has an advantage as there is the potential to play one tough power-five opponent and still have three easier wins available if the school wants to schedule cupcakes. This would make it easier for a conferences bottom dwelling teams to possibly get an extra win, which in turn would make the conference look better as a whole.This is better than 3 non-conference games with one a tough power-five opponent leaving only two easier wins to schedule. All of this was told to the Big 12 recently by the firm in charge of finding out the best way into the playoff. Its not just me wanting the Big 12 to schedule this way.


I found it funny that a K-State fan bashed the SEC OCC when technically K-State scheduled 2 OOC (as you would call them) cupcakes & I added Kansas & Iowa St because there are some G5 & FCS teams that are better then they are so yes, I called them cupcakes. As for better scheduling from the Big-12. Ask Baylor how that OCC is working for them, good I see.

Day, I am not bashing the SEC, my point is that it is smart and the Big 12 should do it and sometimes, depending on the year and which SEC programs are up or down, it can make the conference look better than it is. Having an easy non-conference game in November is very smart for any conference to adopt. In the past the Big 12 has knocked itself out of championship and playoff contention during that very same week in November. 4 non-conference games can make it easier overall for some teams, though not always, especially if the conference slate is daunting. And yes KState has historically had cupcake non-conference schedules. Bill Snyder would take advantage of that and have four cupcakes if he could some years which would suck for everybody trying to watch. If I was a coach though I would try to do it exactly like Alabama does it, not like how Baylor or KState has traditionally scheduled. Me being a KState fan has nothing to do with this.


As for Magic Nick (thinking) that W.Kentucky was not going to be so good, that’s being unfair., It’s better that W.Kentucky is a great team cause it makes Bama look better.. Yes, it suppose to be a win but not a guarantee. Penn St also played Kent St as well so make sure you bash them too. Please find me a school out there that does not schedule some easy wins on their schedule. As for bashing Bama, I truly don’t think whether they play Chattanooga or not is going be a week of rest, the coaches still have to coach, plays still have to be called, injuries still happen & I am not sure what the difference is from the SEC adding a smaller school in November then the other conferences adding the same teams in September. The SEC is not fooling anybody, the committee sees what is going on & all teams & conferences are being held responsible, just as the Big-12. They know they need a championship game now but thought they could get away without having one & it is back firing. As for Baylor & Iowa St, you know more about those schools then I do but all I see is Baylor winning a lot & Iowa St can’t come up for water because they’re taking a beating every week. Rutgers had a lot of bad legal problems right before they were added to the BIG but over came it. If the Big-12 could have 4 solid teams like Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor & say TCU, the conference may actually work but the big dogs ( Texas & Oklahoma) can’t stay a float., they keep losing making the Big-12 look bad. I will say if K-State ever went the WMC that it would be no contest, the only team that the Wildcats would have to worry about would be Boise St, K-State would cruise through the conference, Bill Snyder is a great coach, not as great as he once was but still great. Not sure if anything can save the Big-12 now but they will give it there best spot, for the SEC, it is one of the top conferences & has no worries, its doing just fine. Whether people like how they schedule or not, playing a 9 conference game is not going to make it better.

I’ll tell you what the difference is between playing an easy team at the first of the year and playing an easy team late… Earlier in the year, when your team hasn’t come together, you don’t want to play another good team. Of course that doesn’t stop the SEC, who schedule a ton of difficult games early in the year. But for a team like Ohio State, they get a couple of scrimmages in before they have to play Oklahoma. The SEC just jumps right into the deep end and does well.

As for Chattanooga, let’s not forget that they are currently the third ranked team in the entire FCS. They won’t beat Alabama, but it’s not like they are Purdue, either.

The fact that most people miss is that there are games teams should win and games teams will struggle. Alabama should never have an issue with Kent State. Ever. Neither should Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame, or UCLA. They just shouldn’t.

But, the biggest difference between the SEC and everyone else is that in the SEC, you really don’t get a week off. Maybe if you get Kentucky, but Vandy has been a solid team of late. Not great, but they will put up a fight.

The Big Ten has eight teams that are ranked 50th or below. So, please, tell me again, how the Big Ten conference schedule is so difficult, because it’s not.

How about Arizona and Arizona state? They used to be partners with Texas and other schools in old Southwest conference. Keep it somewhat regional. If not, I like Miami, UCF, S. Florida plus Houston. Every away game will be spring break!

Randy, Arizona and Arizona State were never in the old Southwest Conference. But they aren’t going to leave a decent conference to join one that may implode any day. With Nebraska and Texas A&M gone, UT and OU are the only teams that matter in the Big 12. If either leaves, the league is dead as a P5 conference. Look what happened to the Big East.

The author did mention the ACC’s grant of rights deal, but then dismissed it by saying that others have negotiated out of lucrative deals in the past. His logic has one very big flaw – none of those past deals were GOR deals, and that’s a significant detail.

Once a school committs to announcing their intentions to leave their conference and takes them to court to negotiate the exit penalties down, that school has already past the point of no return. This means that their departure from the conference is set, and they’ll either win their case and pay a reduced penalty, or they’ll lose and have to pay the full penalty. In those past examples the author mentions, the worst-case senerio was paying the full amount of a one-time exit fee or paying 80% of their conference pay-out for two years. That would have stung, but it was doable. With the ACC schools today, their worst-case senerio would mean giving up all of their television media rights for 20(!) years. That’s absolutely not doable – either for the school or for the other conference trying to poach them.

Plus, unlike Maryland, who took the ACC to court over an increased exit fee that they (and FSU) voted against, both the GOR deal and its extension to 2036 were unanimous. Every current ACC member (Notre Dame included) voted in favor of it. This fact would make the legal case for any school trying to leave much more difficult.

Add this to the fact that the Big 12 is easily the least stable, and therefore least desirable power conference, and this whole article is one big pipe dream.

In a few years, Texas will go independent in football. They won’t go to the SEC. Oklahoma will. Probably Ok State with them, although the SEC could poach WVU instead. Regardless, the XII will dwindle to VII if they don’t get proactive and bring in two AAC schools now. BYU isn’t going anywhere–give them a ND-ACC type 5 game deal for now.

the big 12 is doomed,,, okla is about to get totally fed up with this texas coalition, and expecting smu to be offered, ba humbug,,,maybe Houston, and byu if they get this gay things cleaned up… but only Houston, and no more texas teams,,, but I just think okla right now is secretly testing the waters for their departure.. why would they want to put up with texas politics,,,and with them leaving,, and no one of any consequence coming in, the conf. is essentially done, or at least done as a power 5 conf…. now the pouching begins, but not the big `12 doing it, but the acc, sec, and big 10,,, sorry folks , stick a fork in it, the big 12 is done, we just don’t know it yet

Dream scenario for the Big XII (Mind you this would never happen or do I think it would.)

Drop the following member
Iowa St.

16 Teams – 4 Divisions (8 game conference schedule; play division each year while rotating the others with one rival game)

Oklahoma St.
Kansas St.

Houston – new

Arizona – new
Arizona St. – new
Texas Tech
BYU – new

West Virginia
Pittsburgh – new
Miami – new
Notre Dame – new

Here’s a dream scenario that would turn the Big 12 into the best conference in football.

Kick out Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, TCU, Texas Tech, and West Virginia. Let Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor go to the Pac 12. Then invite Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to join.

If they say yes, you’re the best conference in football.

If not, though, you no longer exist.

yeah the big 12 is done here is the 10 members fate by 2024 Tex -indy Okle SEC or pac12 if they have to take okle st with them bay aac or mwest same with tcu kansas k-st kansas B10 i think nebraska will try to get k-st in the b10 with kansas ttech mwest wvu aac the SEC might try to poach wvu iowa st mwest or b10

The SEC would pick up Oklahoma and West Virginia (new states, new televisions).
The B1G would take Kansas and probably take Iowa State out of pity (although ISU is a great research school, more connected to UIowa state-bureaucratically and an AAU member — The B1G will only take AAU members, by the way.) Those conferences wouldn’t go beyond 16.
The ACC really has no good options here, although they’ll get Texas in non-football with a Notre Dame deal, no doubt if they want it. Texas will go independent in football. They think they’re Notre Dame of the South.
The PAC might offer to Texas Tech and Ok State — they won’t touch privates. USC and Stanford are exceptional. The MW would pitch to Kansas State, and the AAC to the privates Baylor and TCU.

If Oklahoma bolts for the SEC and Texas goes independent, I’d still expect the remaining schools to try to stick together. At that point, if they haven’t expanded, a lot of the concerns about various schools now would vanish. So, you could see them easily grab Houston, SMU, BYU, New Mexico, Cincinnati, Memphis, Tulane… just about anyone that isn’t currently in the Power 5.

Basically, they would become the American… though, perhaps with a little more pull. At least initially. I couldn’t imagine they would remain a power conference. But they would try.

If UT is joining any new conference, it’s the B1G and they’d have to give-up LHN but they would probably make more money with BTN + the new conference funds anyways. You add Kansas to get to 16 and you can have a lot more balance on East/West conferences: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers. Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Texas, Wisconsin. Now that is a very nice conference for football AND basketball, you regain the Nebraska-UT rivalry, and now you’ve got yearly Kansas vs. MSU & Indiana basketball matchups.

The Oklahoma legislature won’t let OU go anywhere without OSU going along for the ride.

The Big 12 is incapable of poaching a team from any other P5 conference because of its perceived instability.

Given that, the Big 12 needs to add the 4 best schools it can get from the Group of 5 conferences. I like BYU, but the school has problems with its honor code banning homosexuals that the Big 12 doesn’t need on the heels of its problems with Baylor’s Title IX issues that still may bring harsh NCAA sanctions. That leaves Houston, Cincinnati, Central Florida and South Florida. Add all 4 while they are still available and here is what the conference would look like:

Cincinnati — new member
Kansas State
Iowa State
Oklahoma State
West Virginia

Central Florida — new member
Houston — new member
South Florida — new member
Texas Christian
Texas Tech

The Big 12 previously had 5 Texas schools in a 12-member conference before Texas A&M left for the SEC. This would give the conference 5 Texas schools again, but in a 14-member conference. So the non-Texas schools would have a 9-5 advantage in membership. Cincinnati would be a good pairing with West Virginia, and UCF AND USF would establish a footprint in Florida by adding two large public universities in good-sized TV markets (Orlando and Tampa).

The decision will be based on the television sets and a commitment to West Virginia to get them someone in their region to play, thus Cincinnati is a shoe in to join the Big 12 if the Bearcats agree. After Cincinnati it depends on whether the conference will go to 12 or 14 schools. Houston, BYU, and Tulane are top picks with Temple and UCF second tier selections.

I wish that fans in the stands counted as much as tv markets. Adding BYU and ECU is way more interesting for the Big 12 than adding Houston and Cincinnati.

My top Group of 5 Choices.

1. BYU – Football & Basketball Only
2. Houston – Revived program with strong ties with all Texas schools.
3. Colorado St. – Adding Denver market. Program has a lot of potential.
4. North Dakota St. – Long shot. I know. Elite young program which is already better than half the current members.

Minus West Virginia the Big XII is a southwest/Midwest conference. Adding more schools from the northeast or Florida doesn’t work.

Uh, North Dakota State is FCS, not Group of Five. They’ve said they have no interest in moving up to FBS. Why should they, when they dominate the FCS in a way that Alabama can only fantasize about, and get to occasionally beat FBS teams. Oregon is next in line for them in 2020.

Here’s what I think will happen. Regardless of what the Big 12 does now, the conference is done when the GOR expires after the 2024 season. Texas and OU will not sign an extension of that.

Texas will go the B1G. Missouri will leave the SEC for the B1G. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will go to the SEC, along with West Virginia. Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech and TCU go the Pac 12. Either UConn or Cincinnati joins the ACC, and ND becomes a full member.

Here’s why. The Longhorn network is costing ESPN over $5 million a year, if they could get out of it they would. The B1G won’t take Texas if they have the network, so Texas will offer to ESPN to pay them $20-30 million to buy out the remaining years of the contract and the channel will shut down.

The B1G won’t take Oklahoma, they aren’t AAU or even on a path to achieve AAU in the next decade, and the Oklahoma legislature wouldn’t allow them to leave if Oklahoma State doesn’t have a good landing spot. So the SEC will have to take them both, but will to get Oklahoma. They don’t have a GOR, and won’t shed a tear about Missouri leaving for the B1G where they always wanted to be. They will need a 16th team to balance things, I figure WVU probably fits in, but maybe they take someone else like Houston. I don’t think Oklahoma would really want to go to the B1G anyway, they probably identify more with the SEC schools.

Not sure if Kansas and KSU would really want go to the Pac 12, but that’s really their only landing spot. While the B1G would consider Kansas, they wouldn’t take KSU, and like Oklahoma they’re almost certain to be a package deal. They’d fit in well with Colorado and the Texas schools going over.

The ACC will finally get ND sometime after the ACC Network exists, as they’ll run the numbers and find they can make more money as part of the conference than as an independent. It will mean the end to some of their traditional rivalries like the service academies and yearly games against Standard & USC, but a lot of rivalries have fallen by the wayside over the past 20 years of realignment. Like the SEC they’ll need one more member to balance things, but I’m not 100% sure of my guess.

This will get us four 16 team super conferences. The rest of the Big 12 will be relegated to mid major status. The biggest blow will be to Iowa State, as they would be the only original member of the Big 8 without a seat at the table. But Iowa is a small state, even if Iowa was not already a member of the B1G they probably wouldn’t be interested in adding ISU. With Iowa there, ISU has no chance, even though they are an AAU school. The good thing for Iowa would be that since ISU is no longer power 5, if they keep scheduling them every year they could do it as a group of five home date, leaving them an opening for a home and home against a power 5 school that is gone starting this season with the B1G playing nine conference games.

The SEC will never take West Virginia. State is not in the south, it’s too small, there are no television there and they could literally have a dozen other schools of their picking.

West Virginia will never be in the SEC.

Well, if the SEC expands to about 36 teams, they might get in.

the rumor that I believe will happen is that in the next couple of years OK & OKST will come to the SEC west, AL & AU will go to the east, & MIZ will go to the west. that is 16,
8 on each side. 9 game con. schedule & no more perm. cross-over games. 7 against your division & two rotating opposite division games. in 4 years, everybody would play each other. got this on pretty decent authority. have even seen this in print a couple of times too.

The point of view of this post was a bit interesting. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know much about this issue. However, I am fascinated by everyone’s opinions about the big 12.