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Big 12 Expansion Isn't Necessary

Texas Longhorns

Texas Longhorns

Big 12 expansion is the story that won’t go away. On Wednesday, Oklahoma president David Boren said, “I’m advocate of a 12-member Big 12.” And previously this summer, West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons also mentioned he was in favor of expansion.

It’s only two athletic directors out of 10, but it’s no secret expansion has been and will continue to be an ongoing source of debate for the Big 12.

But here’s the million-dollar question. Does it actually make sense for the conference to expand?

Currently, the Big 12 splits its television revenue among 10 teams. If the conference expands, does the available money pie get bigger or stay the same? Adding additional revenue is always a priority for conference commissioners, athletic directors and school presidents. Losing money is not something that appeals to any school in this case.

Expanding to 12 or 14 teams would certainly help with a conference championship game, which is another stream of revenue for the Big 12. But as we mentioned before, a championship game also comes with its own share of problems. Just because a team is ranked in the top four for the College Football Playoff doesn’t mean that a league championship game will help its case. A loss or close win could hurt its case.

If the Big 12 decides the money works out and wants to expand, it has to believe there are enough candidates to add value. But is that the case?

Let’s propose a few possible additions and decide for yourself:

Revamped 12-Team Big 12 - Proposal 1

Division 1

Division 2

Cincinnati 

Baylor 

Kansas 

BYU 

Kansas State 

Iowa State 

Oklahoma 

TCU 

Oklahoma State 

Texas 

West Virginia 

Texas Tech 

This 12-team league definitely has some intrigue. Cincinnati and BYU are good additions and each team would be competitive right away. UCF, Memphis, Boise State or Tulane also make sense. The divisions are a bit imbalanced. The power is clearly in Division 2 right now, with TCU, Texas and Baylor. But college football is cyclical and that will change.

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Or, let’s split the teams up a bit to balance out the divisions

Revamped 12-Team Big 12 - Proposal 2

Division 1

Division 2

Baylor 

BYU 

Cincinnati 

Kansas State 

Iowa State 

Oklahoma State 

Kansas 

TCU  

Oklahoma 

Texas 

Texas Tech 

West Virginia 

How about a 14-team proposal?

Revamped 14-Team Big 12 

Division 1

Division 2

Baylor 

BYU 

Cincinnati 

Kansas State 

Iowa State 

Memphis 

Kansas 

Oklahoma State 

Oklahoma 

TCU 

Texas Tech 

Texas 

UCF 

West Virginia 

While the Big 12 would prefer to have new teams from Power 5 leagues, the options are small. The rumor mill churned a few years ago about Clemson, Florida State or other ACC teams leaving to join the Big 12. Barring a complete shift or change of heart, it’s unlikely any team will choose to leave the ACC any time soon.

Without Power 5 teams willing to leave, the Big 12’s candidates to expand would seem to be these schools:

 

 

Air Force  

Northern Illinois  

Boise State  

San Diego State 

BYU 

SMU 

Cincinnati  

Tulane  

Colorado State  

UCF 

Houston  

UConn  

Memphis  

 

While none of those options are Florida State and Clemson, there are some quality programs available. BYU is the best option on the board, but programs in fertile recruiting areas (Cincinnati, Memphis and UCF) are intriguing.

The Big 12 doesn’t need to expand to remain viable or make the playoffs on a consistent basis. But it does seem expansion is inevitable at some point.

While getting to 12 and bringing back a conference title game is critical to some, the Big 12 should be in no rush. Let programs like UCF, Memphis and Cincinnati continue to develop and monitor in a few years (after giving the conference more data on the playoff).

There’s potential in a 12- or 14-team Big 12. But expansion anytime soon just doesn’t make sense.