With the wheels of realignment kicking into gear once again the only conference that has been consistently linked with expansion is ours, the Big 12. What does this mean? Firstly it means that the Big 12 is seen as a solid enough to be desirable to other schools, despite being the victim of the last two realignment raids, which is all good news from the TCU standpoint. Secondly, it means that there are a lot of schools out there who may covet entry into the Big 12 conference- which is all well and good, but what do we really know about these schools and how attached they are to their conference, or which ones would be the best fit for the Big 12? Fortunately Frogs O' War is here to enlighten as we share some basic information and interesting facts about the universities rumored to be interested in Big 12 membership. Make the jump if you will and learn what there is to know about the fifth school to be investigated: The University of Louisville.
Tale of the Tape: Louisville Cardinals
Stadium: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium- In addition to being a purveyor of pizzas that are heavy on sauce, Papa John was apparently a star linebacker for the Cards. What? He wasn't? He just paid 5 million? Oh.
Championships: Seven Conference Championships- Two Missouri Valley championships, three CUSA championships, two Big East championships
Conference History: Joined Missouri Valley Conference in 1963, left in 1974 to become an independent, founding member of CUSA in 1996, left to join Big East in 2005.
Traditions: They care a whole lot about basketball! They also do the fairly universal team walk to the stadium, but nothing special.
Rivals: Cincinnati (Keg of nails) and arch-rival Kentucky.
You may remember them from such TCU games as: Emphatic TCU victories over favored Louisville teams in 2001-2003 and a loss in 2004.
Are they interested in making the jump?: Very much so. Unlike Florida State, Clemson and the rest of the ACC bunch who have been extremely coy about where their allegiance lies, Louisville has flat out told the Big East that they're looking to join the Big 12 or ACC, and indeed they attempted to get into the Big 12 in place of West Virginia.
Insisting on bringing any rivals with them?: They might like to have Cincinnati on board, but they don't seem to harbor any loyalty to the bearcats that would keep them in place. If they get an invite they're coming.
Is the Big 12 their dream conference?: It's safe to say that yes, the Big 12 is where Louisville would most like to be. There was some talk about the ACC, but with the media deal details being leaked the fans seem 100% in favor of the Big 12.
Any factors we should count against them?: The sad fact is Louisville isn't a home run in realignment in any area. They're a big state school, but Kentucky is bigger. They're pretty good at football, but the ACC teams we've discussed are much bigger TV draws. To have a shot at continued national relevance they need the Big 12 a lot more than the Big 12 needs them, and the sad fact is that they know it. After Florida State and Clemson started being tossed around as possible Big 12 targets the low hanging fruit just doesn't seem as appealing.