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As you may well be aware, after months of slowly, tentatively easing the door closed on the topic of expansion, the Big 12 Conference abruptly flung the door open last week. Indications are that the conference, when reconvened for fall meetings, may vote to expand by two or four teams.

Of course, the potential candidates have been speculated on long before this point and in great detail. Some say it's driven certain SBNation reporters truly mad. Most of these analyses, however, have focused on two things: the strength of the school's football program, and the geographic/market fit relative to the existing conference.

This, it is our belief, misses the forest for the trees. The Big 12 is only expanding because their pre-negotiated television contracts state a specific amount of money they will be awarded per team. It doesn't matter if they take a major-media-market darling like Rutgers (muffled snort) or a football powerhouse like Maryland (face reddens, a single tear runs down cheek). They can pick whomever they like, and their television partners gotta pay.

With that in mind, let's take a holistic view of the potential candidates, and what they can bring to the Big 12 academically and culturally and otherwise. We'll narrow it down to two candidates for our official and binding recommendation.


They have a reputation for clean living but they went to Miami and got into a brawl with Memphis. They're in. This isn't rocket science.


[thumbing through Wikipedia, giving respect to the fairness of this process] uh, let's see, Moby went there? Gotta be honest, I haven't heard of most of these people. [furrows brow, makes notes on legal pad] We'll come back to this. [places legal pad in trash can]


FedEx is based in Memphis and has already made bold promises to continue their boostering of the school should they step up to a Power 5 conference. You know, my wife's birthday is on Friday, and I ordered her a gift on Monday. Selected two-day shipping. Now they're saying it's going to arrive on Saturday. Sure, it's shipping UPS, so can I really blame FedEx for that? Well, maybe if they had a larger market share, I wouldn't be rushing to find a backup plan.

Think long and hard before you end up making a last-minute trip to the mall, Texas. [crosses Memphis off list]


Their Wikipedia page doesn't even have a listing of prominent mass murderers associated with the school. To me, that's a clear tell that they're hiding something. Also, "Tom Herman" is an anagram for "Not Hammer". You want that kind of anti-construction attitude around when you're trying to build a better conference? I sure don't.

Central Florida

UCF has the largest undergraduate enrollment in the country, at over 60,000 students,

YOU: [goes to mark that in the "pro" column]

ME: whoa whoa whoa what if you want to invite the whole conference over for dinner buddy that's a lot of burgers and we don't want to have to make extra dip and the patio, the patio only has chairs for 40, 45 thousand max. [shakes head ruefully] I'm just being objective here.

South Florida

The northernmost part of Florida runs along a latitude of 31ºN. The southernmost goes beyond 25º. USF sits at 28.0587°N. If lies and identity crises were important to the Big 12, they would have fought harder to keep Texas A&M.



Northern Illinois

I strongly endorse them as a travel partner for Iowa State.

In the MAC.

Colorado State

"CSU's Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis is dedicated to reducing the harm and losses caused by natural, technological, and human-caused disasters."

Look, we don't need a new guy coming in on the first day and making Texas Tech feel bad about their defense. They already know.

[pushes chair back from desk] Whoo, I dunno, guys. We need to find two teams, and we're all pretty happy with BYU, but this is awfully damning for the rest of the candidates. If only there were a school that really showed some promise, some dazzle, some-

[door flies open]

The University of Cincinnati, The #HottestCollegeInAmerica

A major public research university nestled in the heart of a diverse and growing city, the University of Cincinnati has much to offer any conference, aside from its consistent success on the football field (bowl games eight of the last nine years) and the basketball court (NCAA tournaments the last six years and it's been a while since anyone punched a police horse).

The University was a pioneer in Cooperative Education, "alternating semesters of coursework on campus and outside work at a host firm, giving students over one year of relevant work experience by the time they graduate". Providing slightly pre-jaded, less-idealistic students to the work world since 1908!

The school's Architecture program is consistently ranked in the top ten nationally, and has produced many prominent figures, including part-time sports bloggers who don't have a deadline today and totally aren't writing this on the clock what nevermind unbiased, remember.

[reading further]

The University's College-Conservatory of Music features, among many lauded programs, the top-ranked Musical Theater program in the country. People love musical theater!

[sea of blank faces]

[an email from Spencer arrives in my inbox]

Well wouldn't you rather send us all to Lubbock, then?

The choice is clear.