The Big 10 currently stands at 12 teams, and will be swelling to 14 with the additions of East Coast schools Rutgers and Maryland — but a name change is not expected anytime soon.
Ironic, because the Big 12 currently boasts a mere 10 schools as athletic department heads and commissioners meet on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the state of the league. Thus, the specter of the possible additions of schools will be brought up, but only in the earliest stages of talks.
After losing Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-12, the Big 12 as a league would not like to be caught cruising in the slow lane again.
“It is very much an academic and philosophical discussion,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told Big 12 reporter Wendell Barnhouse. “We have no plans in the immediate future for any change in composition, but we think it’s wise and prudent to consider all the positive aspects of our current formation as well as whatever negative effects there may be. It also is a good time to talk about the positives of adding a new member or two members or six members.”
“We don’t have any plans to expand, But on the other hand, we don’t want to be caught off guard either. I think there’s a proactive approach we can undertake and also a reactive and responsive approach. We’re going to flesh out both of those.”
After San Diego State and Boise State made the decision to remain in the Mountain West rather than jumping to the Big East, the entire nation has been in a holding pattern.
The Big East has decided to go forward with the teams it has remaining, while Conference USA is excited to stand at 14 teams, even if they are former Sun Belt programs. Thus, very few programs are looking to make the leap — or are good enough to make the leap — to a higher conference.
BYU is currently an independent, and the Cougars’ successful, money making football team would be a great addition to any league. The Mountain West also has had its eyes on bringing in the program, although it is comfortable where it is at.
Cincinnati is another logical choice. Following the departures of West Virginia, Syracuse and Pitt, among others, the Bearcats made a huge push to earn admittance into the ACC. However, the league brought in Louisville instead. Thus, the Big 12 might consider bringing them in as another Midwestern school with an improving program who would help expand the league’s reach, as well as bring it one step closer to holding a lucrative conference title game.
Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech were all rumored to be eying a move to the Big 12 over the last few seasons. However, with the additions of ‘Cuse, Pitt and 2013 Sugar Bowl winner Louisville, the conference is looking far more stable. Not to mention the addition of Notre Dame in all sports, and half participation in football. Thus, bringing in a program such as one of those three would seem unlikely at this point.
Maybe one day, the Big 10 and the Big 12 will have the correct number of teams. Until then, we’ll be sure to keep counting on our fingers and our toes.
And who knows? Perhaps sometime soon the leaders of the Big 12 can count on BYU and Cincy to step up and into the league.
In the free-for-all that is conference expansion, such moves would not be a surprise, but rather would be quite welcoming.