Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Six possible expansion targets for the Big 12.

In the wake of the Big Ten's nabbing of Maryland and Rutgers, the other big conferences are facing the notion of having to expand to keep up with the Joneses. While that might be the worst reason to expand, a conference like the Big 12 finds itself undersized even the additions this season of West Virginia and TCU. Luckily for the Big 12, there are still some good schools out there that would make good fits with the wild and wooly conference.

1. BYU
BYU may need to join a conference or come up with some kind of Notre Dame-style plan where it's aligned with a conference in football, but retains its football independence. Of the major conferences, the Bog 12 makes the most logical landing place for the Cougars.

2. SMU
 The events chronicled in Pony Express that led to the school earning the NCAA's  death penalty are almost a generation old. SMU has been in the college football wilderness long enough.

3. Houston
The only other old Southwest Conference school that isn't in either the Big 12 or the SEC. An absolute good fit for the conference, and one that provides a good anchor into one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country.

4. Louisville
I know, Louisville is way too obvious. But West Virginia's old Big East buddy would make the conference's eastward expansion look a bit less awkward.

5. Georiga Tech
Because every list needs a "WTF?" pick, right? Seriously though, GT would give the Big 12 a strong footprint inside traditional SEC territory. The Yellow Jackets would benefit from having powerhouses like Texas and Oklahoma coming into Atlanta every few years to compete with Georgia's palette of SEC teams in Athens. The disadvantage comes with Tech losing those basketball games with Duke and North Carolina. But it's been years since the GT basketball program has been able to seriously complete with the Carolina schools anyhow.  

6. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech feels more like a Big 12 school than an ACC school. Maybe that's because it's seems to share more characteristics of a West Virginia than it does any of the North Carolina schools. Besides, the move to the ACC never quite worked out as planned for the Hokies. Maybe flipping over to the Big 12 would work better.