Big 12 expansion has been rumored multiple times over the last ten years. Even the Big 12 itself announced its intentions to explore expansion in 2016 only to stay at 10 members. Following the departure of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, this round of expansion rumors is different. The Big 12 needs to expand.
During this round of expansion, a BYU-Big 12 marriage would make a lot of sense, at least in this author's opinion. The Big 12 would benefit from BYU's national following and brand, and the Big 12 could provide BYU their long-awaited seat at the P5 table. On paper, it makes a lot of sense.
When you look at a map, however, it makes less sense. Especially considering geographical outlier West Virginia. The Mountaineers are based out of Morgantown, West Virginia, some 1,929 miles from Provo, Utah.
Considering the 27 driving hours between the two campuses, I reached out to WVU publisher Schuyler Callihan to get his perspective on the BYU-Big 12 rumors.
"BYU belongs in a Power Five conference," Callihan said. "Whether it be the Big 12 or the PAC 12, they are long overdue to join one of those leagues. They’re consistently competitive in the two major sports - football and men’s basketball which would bring tremendous value to a league that just lost Texas and Oklahoma. The one thing the Big 12 can’t do in expansion is bring in schools for their value in one sport. BYU makes a ton of sense."
Even if BYU would bring value to the conference, the geographical fit is still a concern for WVU fans.
"As far as how the folks in West Virginia feel about it, well, they would hate it," Callihan said. "The travel is already overwhelming considering that WVU is not a geographical fit in the Big 12. The only way WVU fans will be happy is if they add 2-3 eastern schools as travel partners. Then again, WVU may push for ACC membership anyways."
During this round of expansion, the Big 12 might need to look past some logistical concerns like travel times in the name of the almighty dollar. As always, money is driving force behind conference expansion.
The next few months will provide answers regarding Big 12 expansion. If Texas and Oklahoma find a way out of the Big 12 before 2025, the Big 12 would need to act quickly.