Reports spread quickly on Thursday morning after The Athletic’s Max Olson broke the news that BYU, Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston have emerged as the frontrunners to join the Big 12 Conference.
On Friday morning two big developments occurred. First, Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston is reporting that Big 12 Presidents will have a conference call on Monday to discuss expansion and issuing invitations to BYU, Houston, Cincinnati, and Central Florida.
Meanwhile, Brett McMurphy of Action Network HQ reported that offers to join could go out as early as next month, and BYU could join as early as next year (with the other three joining shortly thereafter).
He also indicated that all of this could take place before Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC.
BYU, Cincinnati, Houston & UCF could receive invitations from Big 12 this month, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. BYU could join earlier than others & all 4 could join before OU/Texas leave for SEC, source said. Boise, Memphis, SMU & USF also were considered https://t.co/kLJoqNKvvl— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 3, 2021
The comedy of making Texas play Houston and BYU would, frankly, be quite enjoyable.
This is an incredibly interesting development in the Big 12’s quest to expand, however, as it indicates that the Big 12 could actually grow to 14 before shrinking back down to 12 once the Horns and Sooners are gone.
It leads to questions about what divisions and scheduling look like, but this is one option:
- Texas Tech
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
- Iowa State
- West Virginia
Houston would shift to the Southeast Division upon the departure of Texas and OU. As for scheduling, you have your six division games, a “yearly rival” (TCU-WVU, OU-ISU, etc.) in the other division, and three more games from the other division. Ten conference games plus two non-conference opportunities.
All that to say - I’m glad the Big 12 is no longer in “passive mode” waiting for Texas and Oklahoma to do what they’re going to do and responding. It seems Bob Bowlsby and Co. are working with a sense of urgency to keep the Big 12 in a position to be viable.