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Big 12 Expansion: Survival and Relevancy

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

The Big Ten and the SEC are positioning themselves to be the two Power Mega-Conferences left standing in the coming years. Texas and Oklahoma will leave the Big 12 for the SEC in 2024. USC and UCLA decided to leave the PAC-12 and move to the Big Ten, also for the 2024 season.

The PAC-12 has been described in the media as a “sinking ship.” The ACC may not even survive the seismic shift occurring right now in college football. Who knows what will happen to the Group of Five Conferences? But if a third conference is to survive and be relevant, and keep pace with the Big Ten and SEC, it might just be the Big 12. 

They have already added Houston, Cincinnati, BYU, and UCF to bring their roster of teams back to a true 12. They will begin play in 2023 That is a good start. And by relevant, of course I mean conference championships, bowl games, Top 25 rankings, and most importantly college football playoff (CFP) appearances. But how do they continue to grow stronger? For starters, you can pick up some “survivors from the sinking ship.”

I know it is all about TV contracts and media dollars, etc. It certainly has nothing to do with geography. Recent reports have surfaced that the Big 12 could reach out to Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah to gauge their interest in joining. But who should the Big 12 really consider?

Utah Utes

Yes, for sure call Utah. Under head coach Kyle Whittingham, the Utes are 154–74 during his tenure. Utah has appeared in a bowl game in 16 of the last 19 seasons.

They appeared back-to-back Rose Bowl games as the PAC 12 champions, losing a hard-

fought, epic battle with Ohio State 48–45 in 2022, and then suffering another loss to Penn State this past January. And Salt Lake City is the 30th ranked media market in the U.S.

Oregon Ducks

This is a no-brainer. Oregon is a huge brand nationally, and the Nike money doesn’t hurt one bit. They have a 45–16 record over the last five years.

Boise State Broncos

One of the most consistent Group of Five teams, the Broncos have posted 44–16 record over the last five years. Their addition would keep alive a rivalry with BYU that has lasted a decade.

Other schools that received attention by the Big 12 are:
Fresno State
San Diego State.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark has said that the Big 12 is “open for business.” So much so, that the conference may recruit schools more known for their basketball programs, like UConn and Gonzaga.

Expansion continues to be a hot topic. If the Big 12 wants to be one of the Big 3, they need to act and act swiftly. If not, the Big Ten and the SEC could be the only relevant Power 5 conferences left standing in college football.



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