[The Athletic] - The Big 12 continues to engage in serious discussions about future expansion, with a current preference of adding four new members, sources tell The Athletic.
BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston are the four schools that have been most seriously discussed and are considered the leading contenders, sources said. The Athletic previously reported the Big 12 was seriously considering BYU as a potential addition early on in this process.
If the athletic directors and presidents of the league’s eight remaining members can reach a consensus on which members to invite, sources believe it’s possible that the process could move faster than initially anticipated. The ADs of the Big 12’s remaining schools met with commissioner Bob Bowlsby in Dallas on Tuesday and Wednesday to begin planning the future of the conference
Listen it was only a matter of time before we heard about the Big 12 expanding. That was always going to be the case when Texas and Oklahoma decided to leave for the SEC and the Pac-12 announced they wouldn't expand at the time. The Big 12 needs to try and save the conference. It makes a ton of sense to add BYU, Cincinnati and Houston. Those are three programs that are known in both basketball and football. BYU has been discussed to the Big 12 before as has Cincinnati. Then the debate was always the fourth team here. It looks to be UCF. Sure, I get it. But here's the thing. Memphis will be the biggest loser in college sports if this happens. They are a bigger brand than UCF across all sports in my mind. That city LOVES Memphis, especially Memphis basketball. Now, I get that football is the driving force here. UCF is a better football program than Memphis but the gap isn't huge or anything like that. Not to mention if this happens, Memphis gets left in the AAC with the likes of South Florida, Tulsa, Temple and SMU. It's not like it's an awful conference, but you lose some staples with Cincinnati and Houston.
It's not exactly a secret that I'm not a fan of realignment. It's all for money but it makes me miss the good old days. It's very much me yelling at the sky, but I don't care. I miss the ACC having Maryland vs Duke. I miss the old Big East. I even miss Colorado being in the Big 12. It all made sense and led to awesome rivalries. We've lost some of that and even Jim Calhoun says so.
Speaking just about basketball, if this happens Memphis takes a huge hit. Yeah the AAC would still be better than the WCC, but you're looking at a somewhat similar situation. Gonzaga would lose BYU, but at least still has St. Mary's. Memphis would lose Houston and Cincinnati, while really hoping Wichita State, SMU and someone like Temple stay relevant. Penny is landing big time recruits and now has a chance to actually win. I don't think recruiting would hurt or anything like that but level of gameplay would be down bad. Houston is coming off a Final Four and Kelvin Sampson has that program rolling. Cincinnati sucked last year, but they are always decent. UCF has had some success in hoops too.
I think what I really hate about realignment is the fact that it's always happening. The AAC would then have to try and likely grab a couple teams from a lower conference and the ripple effect just keeps happening. One thing is for sure though. If this happens, Memphis immediately becomes the biggest loser in college sports at the moment.