With the Pac-12’s decision not to expand and the Big 12 surviving for now, BYU will be a team in high demand. The Big 12 is currently at nine teams with Texas A&M’s departure to the SEC and the conference is expected to explore expansion to provide stability.
The Cougars are in their first season of football independence, but will that last? BYU should be target No. 1 for any Big 12 expansion and an invite to join for 2012 could be coming in the next couple of months.
In addition to BYU, the conference is rumored to be interested in West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati from the Big East. SMU, Houston and Air Force have also been mentioned. However, considering the Big East teams recently met to commit to the conference and SMU, Houston and Air Force don’t add much to the conference, BYU stands out as the clear option for any Big 12 expansion.
Not only is BYU a great fit geographically, but it would be competitive right away in the Big 12. Competing in the Big 12 is a step up from the Mountain West, but the Cougars would have the opportunity to play for an automatic bid into the BCS every year.
There’s no question BYU should accept a bid to the Big 12 if it’s offered. Although the Cougars would be ditching Independence after one year, it’s the smart thing to do.
The Cougars can schedule nationally as an Independent, but the Big 12 can provide just as much exposure with its new television contract. Playing on ESPN, ABC, FX and Fox will be a solid showcase for any program.
The Big 12 had some issues with Texas’ Longhorn Network, but BYU’s television network – BYUtv – wouldn’t be an issue. BYUtv won’t be televising any high school games or highlights and the network is geared mostly for educational purposes.
If the Big 12 calls – and it should – BYU would be foolish to say no.
Consider this: If the Big 12 breaks apart in 10 years, BYU can always go back to being an Independent.
What’s BYU got to lose? Joining the Big 12 (if offered) is a no-brainer for the Cougars.
If the Cougars turn down a spot in the Big 12, they would be making a big mistake.
Who knows what conferences could look like in 10 years? If super conferences are really around the corner, BYU would be on the inside, rather than the outside if they are an Independent.