Big 12 Mock Expansion: Final 6 schools selected

FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2016, file photo, former NFL player and coach Tony Dungy delivers a speech during an induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Dungy was part of South Florida’s pitch to the Big 12 and former major league first baseman Tino Martinez also went to bat for the Bulls. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)

Since the Big 12 announced that it would at least consider adding new members this summer, expansion rumors have been the talk of college athletics. While an unofficial list of 11 schools has floated around the internet and a few serious candidates have emerged, The Daily Campus sports section has decided to take matters into its own hands with its mock Big 12 expansion. Ten staff members represented the 10 Big 12 schools as their respective university’s presidents and voted on a list of the 11 candidates rumored to still be in the mix. Out of the 11 candidates, six made the cut before the final expansion members are selected next week. In the first issue of the mock Big 12 expansion series, staff writer Matt Kren breaks down how the schools voted and selected their top six schools.

After rounds of vigorous debate the Big 12 Presidents have finally narrowed down their selection for expansion candidates down to six schools. The finalists are UConn, Rice, SMU, Cincinnati, BYU and Houston.  The presidents of the 10 universities took into account a plethora of criteria such as school ranking, bowl appearances, television market size and more in order to narrow down the list from 10 schools down to six.

The Big 12 in their pursuit to capture more revenue, a larger market share, prestige and competiveness on the athletic national stage is looking to expand their conference to 12 or 14 members as they are currently at 10. The discussion for expansion started to gain steam following TCU and Baylor being left out of the inaugural College Football Playoffs as the Big 12 at the time declared both schools co-champions as a result of not having a conference championship game in football.

Although the current 10 Big 12 are primarily located in the Midwest geographically, many schools across the nation showed their interest to want to join the conference, with more than 20 schools eagerly submitted presentations and bids to join. The Big 12 has cut the list down to 10 schools, but has now cut it down to a final six, as it is assumed that only two will get the invite into the conference.

The final six schools feature three Texas schools, Rice, Houston and SMU as Houston was seen coming in as one of the favorites. Despite this early nod, Houston was the last school to make the final six as they got the coveted spot after beating out UCF and Air Force in a tie-breaker vote. One Big 12 president was very upset following Air Force not making the final cut as they threaten to vote down allowing anyone to join the conference.

The voting was done blindly as each school president received a table of statistics and numbers compiled by an independent firm that correlated to an institution, as this would decrease the chance of bias and favoritism. The school that received the most votes was UConn, and perceived long-shot Rice finished second due to having a school ranking of 15, the 10th-largest television market rank.

During the week every school will make its case as to why it should make it to the next round of voting, as the school presidents will have tough decisions to make ahead.


Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.