UCF is too far away from the rest of the pack(big 12, as is)...they aren't even close to West Virginia. No need to increase the amount of schools that are out of the footprint, again.
Cincy helps connect WVU to the group, plus it starts to create a northern division that won't require Oklahoma to go north. Now, follow up Cincy with Tulane...and everything fits together nicely.
North -- WVU, Cincy, Iowa St, K St, Kansas and OSU
South -- OU, Tech, TCU, Baylor, Texas, Tulane
New Orleans fits much better with the attitudes and expectations of the current Big 12...plus, they are much closer, for travel, to everyone else in their division. New Orleans has plenty of amenities: Super Dome, new on-campus stadium at Tulane, hotels, world famous restaurants, Pro football, Pro basketball, etc., etc. So, everything the Big 12 needs is right in their backyard.
Some might say....Tulane isn't good enough to get into the Big 12. And they may be correct....but, that isn't really what the Big 12 needs. The Big 12 needs the correct number of schools. That is the most important item. There is already enough talent in the conference.....they only need decent programs that fit the mold(similar to Rutgers and Maryland for the Big 10).
With Cincy and Tulane....the geographic line that most of the conference sits on(I-35)...shifts eastward, which fills in the footprint smartly.
If, it is so important for WVU to have some recruiting potential in Florida...they can always schedule an out of conference game there, every year, if they choose.
Tulane might be the best school in the conference as far as academics, as soon as they joined? They also have the potential to be the second best athletic school in their state. Mostly, since LaTech and ULL aren't world beaters. With UCF...they might not ever get above fourth in their state.
My top two followed by the next two:
North -- WVU, Cincy, Iowa St, K State, Kansas, Baylor , TCU
South -- UCF, Tulane, Rice, Texas, Tech, OU, OSU
There are folks on this board still pushing for BYU to the Big 12. Guess they just do not believe Bowlsby! http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.co ... to-expand/
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BYU and any other school out west are out consideration for Big 12 membership and everyone should accept that fact if they want to truly understand the Big 12 next moves.
Since there are very reliable sources the Big 12 has meet with Cincinnati about possible membership, you have to believe Cincinnati is the top choice for this league if expansion is going to occur.
I do believe the conference is waiting on the decision of the NCAA to relax restrictions on number of teams required for a championship conference football game.
Since we now know for sure that any expansion teams are going to be in the east, do not see Tulane getting the invite. Tulane does not strike me as an eastern team or teams that Bowlsby is referencing. Why would the Texas schools want a school in New Orleans so close the four Texas schools that could compete for other Texas kids. UCF is far enough away and the state of Florida has superior requiting edge over other deep south states.
I think the Big 12 would be smart to take UCF and provide WVU a requiting edge over most northern ACC schools and Big Ten schools as well especially Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland that are competing for the same kids.
Bowlsby comments are very revealing and requiting is going to be a big factor along with geography. The only other dark horse that possibly could compete with UCF is UConn. I would consider Cincinnati a lock should be the Big 12 deside to expand because the school helps each of Bowlsby factors that will be considered for expansion.
I don't think there is any question the Big 12 will select two schools that most benefit West Virginia. The other current nine schools are fine with close or nearly close by schools.
Based on Bowlsy interview, my prediction does not change should the Big 12 decide to expand.
East: UCF, WVU, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State
West: Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma
The Kansas schools would get a trip every other year to sunny Florida and gain valuable requiting exposure. Keeping the Texas and Oklahoma schools in the same west division will provide enough exposure for requiting in Texas.
Just think in a few years we may see a top ten UCF team facing a top ranked Texas in the Cowboy stadium for the Big 12 championship game.
It is important to understand the SEC and Big 12 are huge rivals in requiting and a great deal of why Texas A&M moved to the SEC. A great payback to the SEC is taking a Florida school to balance out power. When that school greatly enhances the eastern school of West Virginia is just is win/win for the Big 12.