To respond to someone's question, TCU has only around 7,000 students. Baylor has around 14,000. And Baylor outdraws in fb and bb the 4 former SWC schools, UNT, UTEP and CSU. Despite its bad fb teams, it still has averaged over 31,000 a game over the last 7 years. It has vastly better programs with the exception of the two revenue sports. In fact, it has vastly better overall programs than KSU or TT. Baylor's not going anywhere. And if they were replaced, Arkansas is the only school that would be considered. And Arkansas isn't going to leave the SEC $ behind...
TCU has around 8,200 students. Baylor has around 14,000. UTEPs enrollment is over 17,200. All figures are from each university's websites.
Athletically, Baylor is a second rate Vanderbilt.
But I will give props where props are due. They were the largest SWC private school and IMO the most competitive of the private schools. I personally felt they deserved to be invited if only one could come. They have drawn well for a small private school, but that's about as far as I'd go. Their revenue sports stink. They actually hurt the conference's strength of schedule in the sports that generate money. To me, that's a simple equation.
Concerning Arkansas, Texas does have a large number of Arkansas alums living in the DFW metroplex, so I can't deny that it would a possibility and one that might be accepted in Texas. I personally hate Arkansas. I hope they never get a shot to be in the same conference as Texas again and I wish Texas schools wouldn't play them. The money is apparently better in the SEC. I think I read that Frank Broyles was quite happy with Arkansas in the SEC and now that they are playing UT again, they should be able to recruit Texas again effectively. I don't see motivation on their part.
As I said in the initial post I do agree UTEP is not likely, but I think they would be a suprisingly good choice. UTEP would be a better media market long term (although Neilsen has WACO/Bryan/Temple rated 92 ahead of El Paso's US side's 100), is a larger metro area, and over the last 5 years has drawn better (even in a toilet conference with a bad team). (Again, props when due, this year Baylor has drawn much better though.) I would suspect UTEP would be a lot more competitive than Baylor is if their athletic program had that Big 12 check.
UTEP awards more hispanics degrees than all but one other university in the US. It shares a border with Mexico. With our swelling hispanic population in south Texas, it seems likely that UTEP's best days in terms of enrollment and media pull are ahead.
I think a time is coming where the Big 12 may not be big time enough for UT & A&M. (Not enough TV money.) When that day comes, IMO Baylor (small private school with average athletics at best which cannot deliver its own unique significant media market) will have to content itself with playing SMU and Rice in Conference USA (or wherever they are at that point).