5 Candidates to Join The Big 12
Just when you thought the whole conference realignment thing was over, the Big 12, already two members short of its namesake, announced plans to expand, possibly as early as the 2017 football season.
Though it seems like conference realignment has been dormant for awhile now, we're still trying to readjust to the fact that Syracuse and UConn will never again face off in a 6 overtime game at Madison Square Garden, as that Texas and Texas A&M shall no longer face off on Thanksgiving weekend. Nevertheless, the XII's powers that be have sought to kickstart conference expansion once more, and we have a few candidates they may be interested in....
Once proud members of the Southwest Conference, the Cougars have wallowed in mid-major purgatory since the conference's dissolution in 1996, though the infamous NCAA penalties handed down in 1988 certainly didn't help matters. UH has had great moments in spotlight, including the basketball program's Phi Slamma Jamma years. More recently, the football team found national prominence last season, going 13-1, winning the American Athletic Conference and upsetting Florida State in the Peach Bowl, capping the year off at #8 in the polls. Should the Cougars join the XII, immediate in-state rivalries would brew with Texas and Texas Tech.
Basically, if you have the nickname of Cougars, the Big 12 just may be interested in you. Joining the Big 12 would be a tremendous boost to the football program in particular, as they have competed as an independent since the Cougars left the Mountain West in 2011. BYU basketball, with names like Jimmer Fredette populating the historic statsheets, has also made great impressions in terms of NCAA hoops, and it would be fun to not be forced to win the West Coast Conference in order to be included in the March Madness conversation. BYU also has a series of cross country national titles that would look good in any conference's trophy case.
The Big 12 has already been in the business of rescuing football mid-majors that could before, welcoming in TCU to their little party in 2011. BSU has been proving doubters wrong for years and being passed over by voters and the major bowl games for merely being members of the WAC and the Mountain West, establishing themselves as perennial contenders and one of the most consistent college football programs in the nation. Adding the Broncos would keep the conference's sterling football reputation and finally put them on the national platform they so deserve. Plus, remember the last time Boise State played Oklahoma?
The Huskies would've provided a Boston market (no, delicious chicken and cornbread not included), which, though not as prolific as a market as, say, New York, would've provided the fans and business of a major Northeast city, an untapped market in certain college sports. Of course, however, the Huskies program is most known for its basketball, which has been at the top of its game in both the men's and women's departments. The Big 12 is known for its primarily Southwest flavor, but this is an era where geographical ties in conferences are non-existent (i.e. Notre Dame in the ACC).
One of CSU's biggest rivals, Colorado, recently left the XII for the PAC-12. Who better to take their place than the Rams, who have established a pretty good athletic programs themselves. Their volleyball team has won the Mountain West conference tournament for 4 of the past 6 years, and they have established contending programs in both football and basketball (among the women's alumna in the latter is WNBA legend and Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon). It would also welcome back a semi-major media market in Denver to the equation.
Should your team try to join the Big 12? Tweet your suggestions @GeoffMags5490 and keep the conversation going.
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