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Big 12 Prefers to Add Four Members; BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston lead the charge Boca Raton Bowl - BYU v Central Florida Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Another conference realignment rumor is circulating on this fine Thursday, with Max Olson of The Athletic reporting that the Big 12’s plan to expand is currently focused on BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston.

Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News confirmed the rumor as well:

Expansion seems to be the most reasonable path forward for the Big 12 at this point, since the Pac-12 announced last week that they would not be expanding.

BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston don’t necessarily make the Big 12 better after the departure of Texas and Oklahoma, but they do keep it the fifth best, if not slightly ahead of the Pac-12 top to bottom, conference in the country.

Potential divisions could look like this:

Southwest Division

  • TCU
  • Baylor
  • Texas Tech
  • Oklahoma State
  • BYU
  • Houston

Northeast Division

  • West Virginia
  • Iowa State
  • Cincinnati
  • Central Florida
  • Kansas
  • Kansas State

Cincinnati specifically could become a force if they move to a Power 5 conference. Already the clear No. 2 school in Ohio, they could command significant recruiting power in the region.

BYU brings an entire unique TV market to the conference, Central Florida give the Big 12 entry into Florida (by way of the largest school by enrollment in the state, with over 71,000 students), and Houston keeps the conference strong in the bottom half of Texas.

One could make the argument that Memphis would be a better candidate than Houston, and I can see that case. Ultimately, I’d be fine with either, and I can understand the argument for either’s inclusion.

One school that seems to be lagging behind in the race to join the Big 12 is Boise State, and that makes sense to me as well. While many might like to see the Broncos included - the reality is they are far behind the other five schools mentioned here in significant ways, athletically and academically speaking.

Ultimately, this is the move that makes the most sense for the Big 12, as long as the plan continues to be “stick together.”

The questions that come from expansion, though, are how much does an expanded Big 12 bring in as far as TV money goes, and how do they stack up against the rest of the P5?

Let me know what you think down below!