The Big 12 looked like they were poised to put at least one team - potentially both TCU and Baylor - into the inaugural College Football Playoff, but found themselves shut out of the event entirely.
Many speculated and blamed the fact that the conference did not have a championship game - 12 teams are required to have a conference title under NCAA rules, and the Big 12 only has 10, meaning they need to add two more schools to make a title game possible.
The conference branded itself all season as having "one true champion", yet they were the only Power 5 conference that featured co-champions, which also played a role in both Baylor and TCU missing out on the playoff.
There's already talk of the Big 12 expanding to 12 teams to make a championship game possible, hoping to avoid this from happening again. If they go through with that plan, who are the best candidates for them to add?
The Knights are relatively new to major college relevance, but they do have a BCS bowl victory to their name and are the second biggest school in the country behind Arizona State with over 50,000 students. That would make for a great alumni base and a large new fan interest in the conference, but Orlando is simply too far away to make this work for a school that isn't a brand name.
Boise State seems like the logical choice, at least football wise, among this group. They're constantly relevant on the national scale, and have a big enough fan following to make the Big 12 interested. That being said, they aren't in a big market and don't have a great athletics program outside of football, which is another drawback.
UConn was left in no man's land when the old Big East split up, and they've been stuck in the makeshift American Athletic Conference since then. They're one of the few power athletic programs in the conference, led by their four-time national champion basketball team, and largely seem out of place.
However, their football program does not have a great history and they're too far away from the rest of the teams in the conference to make it a reality. Sure, they'd rather travel to Texas to face the University of Texas as opposed to to Houston, but is Oklahoma going to want to send their volleyball team all the way to Connecticut? I don't think so.
Their best bet is to try and join the ACC, or perhaps the Big Ten, in the next round of expansion.
Memphis might not be the football power the Big 12 wants, but there aren't many of those still available in the non-Power 5 world. What they can bring is a team that has some football tradition, is a basketball force, and is in a large media market. Plus, they're closer to most of the other schools in the conference than West Virginia is. The only major drawback of Memphis is their inconsistent football program, which the conference could overlook.
Cincinnati has the best mix of everything the Big 12 could possibly be looking for. Like UConn, they were sort of left out to dry in the American and have been searching for greener pastures somewhere else. Their football program is competitive, their basketball team is an NCAA Tournament constant, and they're in a big media market.
Cincinnati's location isn't too far removed from the rest of the teams in the conference as they're about the same distance away as West Virginia. The Bearcats are also in Big Ten territory, which could allow the Big 12 to gain some viewership and notoriety in that part of the country.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed