By Calvin Alexander, Sam Agnitsch, and Phil Rodriguez
The Big 12 media days have come and gone, the one big takeaway, besides Mike Gundy’s mullet, is the news that the Big 12 is open to expansion. Listed below are six universities that in a dream scenario would be added to the Big 12, followed by four universities who will most likely be added to the Big 12 in the near future.
The Dream Scenarios
UCLA comes to mind immediately, not just because of their prestigious history, winning over 100 NCAA Championships, but also their facilities are amazing. I would love to see teams from the Big 12 go play in the Rose Bowl or Pauley Pavilion. UCLA is in Los Angeles as well, where recruiters from the Big 12 could now go out and recruit in the Golden State. Adding the University of California Los Angeles to the Big 12 would be a huge power grab for the conference. The traveling distance would make it tough and UCLA may not have a big incentive to change conferences but this would be a major win for the Big 12, sadly there is no chance this happens it is just a dream scenario.
Another university that I would love to see the Big 12 add to the conference is the University of Michigan. Adding a team from the oven mitt state would also expand on recruiting as well as add more competition to the Big 12. Who doesn’t want to see Jim Harbaugh versus Bob Stoops, Charlie Strong, and Mike Gundy. A matchup between the Longhorns and the Wolverines would draw in fans from all over, the TV contract for the Big 12 network would have to be revised as well. Michigan is always competitive in basketball, making the March Madness tournament year after year. I feel there is a better chance that Michigan would join the Big 12 before UCLA, but there is still zero chance that Michigan would move conferences at this time, which is why this is another dream scenario.
Stoops versus Saban. It’s a match-up meant for pay-per-view we would see on a yearly basis. Just the pressers alone would be worth that, much less the games. However, the main reason this needs to happen is much more symbolic. The national sports media for the last decade has been ramming SEC propaganda down our throats, treating the conference like it’s some version of minor league NFL while the rest of us wallow in football mediocrity. This ideology has already cost my beloved Cowboys a shot at the title in 2012 and what better way to end it than on the field?
The off the grid, no one would have thought of this except Sam: Yes, it’s a sham. Yes, it’s run by clowns, and yes, it currently faces million dollar lawsuits. But here’s the deal, this conference needs a new whipping boy. They don’t even have a football team so whatever group of Trump sweat shop workers they throw out on the field will be an easy win, even for Kansas. Mainly though, it would provide a scapegoat. Next time an assault gets covered up or a star running back punches a female student, instead of holding a tone deaf press conference, administrators can just say “hey, look at the fraud school” and deflect. Let’s make the Big 12 great again.
Boise State, The Idaho-based program has made huge strides since its inception in 1996. Its biggest accomplishment came in 2006, with an undefeated season under coach Chris Petersen and a huge upset win against the Big 12’s own Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State has consistently posted winning seasons since 1998. The Broncos may be getting too big for their Mountain West britches, and the Big 12 would likely greet them with open arms.
North Dakota State, The Bison are well-known in the northern United States, as well as to fans of FCS college football. The high selection of quarterback Carson Wentz in the last NFL draft helped further raise the profile of the yellow and green clad team. The Bison have won an astounding five straight national championships (take THAT, Alabama) and seem to have possibly outgrown their Missouri Valley counterparts. Maybe it’s time to make the jump?
Now for a couple of universities that I think the Big 12 will actually expand and add to their conference, Memphis is a no brainer. For a school that is on the outside looking in when it comes to the power five conferences, Memphis seems like a very viable candidate. Since West Virginia would be the school closest in proximity to Memphis, a rivalry will be born almost immediately. Memphis has had recent success in their past couple of years in football, and we know that they are consistently good in basketball almost every year. Ultimately Football and Basketball make the most money for college university’s right now and the Big 12 should strongly consider adding Memphis to the Big 12.
Brigham Young University, this makes too much sense to ignore. If you’re going through the big 12 expansion checklist, the Cougars nail almost every box. Competitiveness? BYU has been consistently in the top 25 in multiple sports and have a solid NCAA record. Fan Base? They are good travelers and fiercely loyal. Values? While not in the exact same geographic location, you could move to Utah and not miss a beat from the good ol’ Bible Belt. Get your magic underwear ready.
Houston, As competitive as any other potential addition, Houston joining would just feel right. Style wise, it’s on par with several other current members, more specifically in football. Location makes sense and adds another gateway to Texas/Gulf Shore recruiting, not to mention Houston itself is the 4th highest populated city in America. You have to think Houston Athletics would leap at the opportunity if called. They have been marginalized nationally, largely because of the conference they are in, and this move could bring back the legitimacy they’ve been craving.
Colorado, The Buffs haven’t fared super well since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, failing to post a winning record a single season since. Coach Mike MacIntyre turned San Jose State into a 10 win team before being hired on, but has not had nearly the same success in Boulder. The Buffs might have an easier time competing in the Big 12 against old rivals Kansas and Iowa State, and Big 12 fans know they miss those classic Buffs vs. Sooners Championship matchups. It’s not working out, guys. C’mon back home.