The Bishin Cutter wrote:
Let's get serious. Rice is not getting into the Big 12. They averaged 20,325 in attendance last season.
I don't think the conference should further expand into Texas, but I don't know if one can find consensus as to whom should become 11+. Clearly, WVU is going to one more northern and eastern members, although I don't believe adding Florida schools will help them out any. That kind of leaves only Cincinnati, Memphis, USM, and Tulane as viable "companions" without further Texas absorption. I don't know if any of those schools get a resounding show of support. MAC schools needn't even apply.
...and I think the best candidates, aside from Cincy, are in the west: BYU, AFA, CSU, UNM, SDSU...but try to tell that to WVU.
If the Big XII is going to address West Virginia'a concern about being out on an island and wants to create an eastern wing, the best choice besides Cincy would be UConn. A state flagship in a state that would immediately be the 3rd largest state in the conference represented by its state flagship, they're the kind of school that the Big XII is otherwise made up of.
The distance may seem like a lot. Hartford is almost 500 miles from Morgantown. Yet, no one bats an eye at suggesting BTU for the Big XII and they are almost 900 miles from the closest Big XII school.
UConn is a state flagship and those kinds of schools don't grow on trees. They bring their entire state with no competition from other big time colleges or pros plus parts of neighboring NY and western Massachusetts for a market size of about 4 million. They have the most affluent population in the country, making the advertising dollars worth more there.
At one time there were rumors that leftovers from what appeared to be an imploding Big XII wanted to join the Big East. Why not have a wing of leftovers from the now imploded Big East in the Big XII? If they wanted to go to 14, they could go for USF and UCF.
How about the following divisions in a 12 team Big XII: