Will the Big 12 be aggressive and look to add teams to the conference?
The amazement that is conference realignment continues. The initial breaking of the ice was Texas and Oklahoma announcing they would be leaving for the SEC. This raised eyebrows of the remaining schools in the Big 12. We have heard everything from schools joining other conferences.
We witnessed the Pac 12, Big 10, and the ACC create an alliance but nothing contractual. This has all been very interesting. The Big 12 conference should at least look to get back to 12 schools. With that being said I am going to list some schools that could be intriguing to the Big 12.
BYU is currently independent in football and is housed inside the West Coast Conference for basketball. The football program has been consistent in the past decade posting a record of 81-48. In that stretch, they have put football players into the NFL. Most recently was Zach Wilson with the 2nd overall pick in the 2021 draft to the New York Jets. This also allows getting a team closer to the West Coast.
This would open the doors to more fans of the Big 12. This move makes sense for the Big 12 from an athletic standpoint but also for viewership.
Cincinnati is currently a part of the American Athletic Conference. In football, they have competed at a very high level. This school has been in several conferences but has accumulated nine conference championships. They have attended 17 Bowl games going 8-9 overall. In the last ten years, they have gone 84-42 in football. This again would be another tremendous addition to the Big 12. They have not only displayed success in football but also other major sports such as basketball.
The University of Central Florida would be another great addition to the Big 12. They would not only be gaining another region similar to if they would add BYU. This would allow for the Big 12 to tap into the state of Florida. UCF has been tremendous in football winning six conference championships and playing in 12 Bowl games with an overall record of 5-7.
The UCF Knights have gone 78-36 in the last 10 years of their football program. Under Scott Frost who currently coaches Nebraska led the UCF Knights to a perfect 13-0 regular season in 2017.
Houston would be another school for the Big 12 to look at. They have been coming on strong as of late in basketball when they finished in the Final 4 in 2021. The football program has been consistently good for not being a part of the Power 5. This would be another school added to the Big 12 from Texas.
I think with the University of Texas leaving for the SEC it would be good to replace them with another major market school located in Texas. The Houston Cougars have won 11 conference championships. They have participated in 28 Bowls posting an 11-16-1 record. In the last decade, they have a record of 65-45.
In the end, there are other schools that could be added like Memphis, Boise State, SMU, and even South Florida. The Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby should be aggressive in looking to add these schools. With the Big 10, ACC, and Pac 12 forming an alliance and the rumor of the Pac 12 not accepting new members it would be smart for the Big 12 to act swiftly.