A ton of ramblings on the next wave of expansion is already underway. Does it ever really end though? The Big 12 will be at the forefront of this next movement it seems which will definitely hit home for us West Virginia fans. Maybe not geographically, but affiliation wise, yes. But geography is exactly what I think needs to be addressed. West is bad, East is good in my eyes. This is how I think it should go down…
Stop the western movement. BYU, Boise State, Colorado State and so on bring small noise. Good programs, good schools, and very mildly attractive TV reach, but do they turn the dial of prestige in the college sports world? Maybe for Mormons and potato growers. Not much else.
East is the promised land. Do what the Big East did after losing Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College. You have to pluck the best you can from the east. I think Cincinnati is a no brainer. Ohio is a good market. They have very good tradition and facilities. And they compete. Plus it bridges the gap between Texas and the island of West Virginia. Go get em.
Next best option in my opinion is UConn. Football had a good little run in the 2000s and is on the way back up. No reason why they can’t up their commitment to football and become serviceable. I mean, they are better than Kansas. Basketball, both women’s and men’s provides you with an immediate national championship winning caliber enhancement to an already thriving basketball conference. It brings the Big 12 presence strongly into the northeast market. Just like the Big 10 did with Rutgers. You think the Big 10 brought Rutgers in for their competitiveness? I don’t think so. Hey UConn, you’re in.
That makes the Big 12 actually the Big 12, but stopping there would just be a temporary change and wouldn’t solidify anything. Keep going.
Some other options:
Houston. The Cougars have made a HUGE investment in their athletic programs. New facilities and strong efforts to keep their big young coaches. They are set up for success and why wouldn’t you reward them when it makes a lot of geographical sense already? They are a really good option.
Memphis. Good location to infiltrate the SEC territories somewhat. OK facilities. Good programs lately, but will that last with new coaches in multiple sports? Decent TV market. But apparently big sponsorship money offers are being thrown around with FedEx being headquartered there. Not a bad thing to consider. Memphis could work.
UCF or USF. Not sure how much difference there is between these. Both have good TV markets and decent facilities to compete. Puts the Big 12 recruiting foot in the door for the other schools and brings Florida together with Texas. Tough to beat that advantage in recruiting. Currently only the SEC has that. But is that reason enough to punch into Florida and pick up some mid major level schools?
Some others to consider that might be outside the box…
East Carolina. Not a big TV market but great facilities and a good fan following. Could be good at nearly every sport if it made commitments to build. But challenging North Carolina and ACC country might be a task not possible to overcome. Would be like taking Marshall over West Virginia. Just never going to work.
Florida State. There are always rumors floating around that schools like Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Clemson are looking for ways to escape the ACC. I think that is what it is. Just rumors. But if Florida State is willing to listen, you talk. And you offer whatever they want. National brand. Instant credibility and TV eyes. If it is possible, you make it happen. And if they come, we wouldn’t be worrying about the Memphis’ of the world. We would be declaring war on the ACC just like they did to the Big East back in the day. Kill em.
Temple. Don’t laugh. Coaches, check. Facilities, check. Solid programs, actually yes, check. Temple used to be a joke. Not anymore. Did you watch the Notre Dame game from last year? People have never been more excited for Temple football. And you know basketball is always going to be solid. Philadelphia/Mid Atlantic market. If there ever was a time to run with Temple, its now. Crazier ideas in realignment have definitely been thrown around. I mean, West Virginia is in the Big 12 and Maryland is in the Big 10. There is no reason Temple couldn’t be the next weird domino.
Notre Dame. If Texas wanted to work with the Irish, do you think they’d listen?
I think all of these are feasible if the Big 12 schools cooperate with each other and decide to survive. Texas and Oklahoma have to come together and get something done. 10 schools just won’t do. It will be very interesting to see what shakes out.
And just for fun, here is my wish for when super conferences come to be:
The Eastern League
- Boston College
- Penn State
- Virginia Tech
- West Virginia
- Florida State
- North Carolina
- NC State