It only took a few words to create another potential tsunami in the world of college football. The Big 12 is going to explore the possibilities of expansion from 10 to 12 to possibly 14 schools.
Expansion roulette, involving BYU, Memphis, UConn, Cincinnati, UCF, USF, Houston and Boise State, begins another round.
It's only been 3 days since Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby opened a door many people had thought was locked. They were wrong.
TMGcollegesports.com and specifically a Jerseyguy loves handicapping these kind of events.
My guess is that all of this will be played out by Labor Day and it will then take several months to work out ALL of the logistics.
Using logic--always dangerous in this area--here's what I think makes the most sense.
- Go to 14 schools. It is the only way to increase the television revenue significantly enough to justify expansion But--you know there always "buts' in these things-- do it with 2 schools as football only members. That would give you 14 schools in football and 12 in basketball. An even number in basketball is essential for scheduling purposes.
- BYU should be a lock for one football only slot. By doing this, the issue of Sunday participation in other sporting events is a non-starter. The Cougars can remain in the WCC in most of their other sports and play in the Big 12 in football.
- UCF (Central Florida) should be the other "football only'' member. The Big 12 only needs to go into Orlando in football for recruiting and television purposes. It doesn't need UCF in other sports. But there is a problem. What league will take UCF's other sports. If I were American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco (UCF is a member of the AAC) I wouldn't accept partial membership status from UCF. USF (South Florida) should be eliminated because the academic fraud scandal issue involving the football and basketball programs. Football only is attractive to the Big 12 since adding schools with that premise would be much cheaper than .adding four full members UConn is the easiest fit for "football only'' membership since it should be able to slide into the Big East in all other sports other than football. The legitimate question of "What does UConn with football only? bring to the Big 12 lingers. But UConn still would be the easiest fit of the other contending schools to play this role.
- So now we have the two other "full members''. Houston is using political pressure to get into the mix. It's an election year so it might work, although Texas can not be happy with this arrangement of giving Houston the extra power burst it would get by joining the Big 12. If you buy the "Houston premise'' you have one spot open. If you go with BYU, and UConn as football only members, you have Cincinnati, UCF and Memphis. Boise State doesn't make the cut on this one. Cincinnati has worked the hardest, but has irritated some people with its aggressive nature. Memphis is showing cash (Fed Ex money) and poential in football and basketball and UCF brings Florida.
- Here's a three scenario projection, both with four schools involved. The first would be BYU and UConn in football only, with Cincinnati and Houston as full members. The second would be BYU and Memphis as football only members (Memphis could attempt to go into the Missouri Valley Conference in all other sports) and Houston and Cincinnati as full members. The third would be: BYU and Memphis as football only members and Cincinnati and UConn as full members.
- All of the projections are very early in the process, but could be done fairly quickly once a final destination is decided.