Could Big 12 end up as the Big 32?

by Gary Shelton on August 17, 2016 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida, general

USF could spell inclusion into Big 12.

USF could spell inclusion into Big 12.

Wednesday, 6 a.m.

I'm not sure what the best attribute USF could bring to the Big 12 would b..

I think it might be its offrense.

On the other hand, its defrense isn't bad, either.

But greater than anything, there is spellink.

Okay, okay. I tease. You might have heard that USF was putting together promotional material lauding its academics for the Big 12, and it referred to its “reasearch.” Well, oops. Most of the words, USF got right. Don't they get credit for that?

Anyway, there seems to be a real land rush for the Big 12, since most of the chairs are taken in the Power Five conferences. At last count, there were some 20 schools trying to elbow each other out of the way. All that, and we still don't know if Texas will allow the Big 12 to expand at all.

Regardless, this could be a touchdrown for USF.

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Or if it will add as many as four teams. Who knows? Maybe they'll invite everyone and be the Big 32.

At this point, most of the analyses has BYU and Houston as the top two, although you can find those who think that Cincinnati should be ahead of one or the other.

I see that UCF is generally next, although I'll tell you. It's hard to see from here what UCF has that USF doesn't. Smaller city, smaller TV market, more pedestrian results. There are the Hillbilly Bears, of course, which would be a natural rival for Baylor's Bears. I got a giggle out of CBS Sports.com's assessment of UCF. “Emerging powerhouse under Scott Frost?'' the website asked. Hey, guys. I'm impressed with Frost, too, but your “emerging powerhouse” was 0-11 last year.

But here's my problem with USF (and, with UCF). I don't think either school exactly owns its market. It's one thing for USF to say it's in the 11th-rated TV market, but how many fans are going to tune in when Iowa State plays the Bulls?

Those are the kind of questions that the Big 12 is asking in every direction today. What, really, does Cincinnati bring that the Big 12 doesn't have in West Virginia? Who has UConn ever beaten? Does Colorado State sound big time to you? Rice? That's a side dish, not a power school. Arkansas State? Tulane? UNLV?

Ask yourself: Who isn't trying to get into the Big 12? Southeastwest Louisiana? Guam? Alderaan? Apex Tech? Kaiser University? The Tampa Bay Rays? After a while, you feel like you're in a deli and the cashier is calling out numbers.

It has gotten so bad that Oklahoma State's Mike “I'm a man!” Gundy has said the conference is “clueless'' to even consider expansion. Right. Because the conference could screw up and invite another team that means as little on the national stage as, well, Oklahoma State.

Already, you can hear whispers that UCLA might jump the Pac 12 to get into the hunt. Just wait. There will be other teams mentioned, too. Nebraska. Maybe Arkansas. If the Big 12 is hiring, a lot of schools are filling out applications.

For now, however, the problem is that the Big 12 already has too many teams that aren't quite big time. Texas Tech. Iowa State. Kansas. It really isn't a Big 12. It's more of a medium-sized 12. Maybe they could change the name of the conference to Another Dozen.

Soon, it will decide to get even bigger. Or it won't.

But if it does, and it invites USF, I'm sure you will all join me in saying "congratulilations."

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