For what feels like the 100th time, the Big 12 appears interested in adding BYU Football.
Here we go again.
Just when the Big 12 seemed like it was about to implode and be divided amongst other P5 leagues, the Pac 12 came out and said that they will not be expanding. While the Pac 12 never explicitly said that they were exploring taking Texas Tech and other Big 12 schools, anyone who can read between the lines knew that this was what was going on.
With the SEC already at 16 teams and the Big 10 and ACC not geographically in a great area to pick off teams like Texas Tech and TCU, it is appearing that for at least now the Big 12 may stay in-tact, albeit on life support.
That life support however could be adding more teams to the conference. Everyone always likes to point at G5 teams not moving the needle for the Big 12, but perhaps they could in the future. After all, isn’t that how everything got started? Don’t tell me the Orlando and Memphis markets couldn’t be helpful when the Big 12 already has Manhattan, Kansas and Lubbock, Texas.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these “expansion talks” is that it may be BYU Football’s last chance to get into the top tier part of the league.
Eventually, like many of you, I believe that the current P5 system will be cut down significantly. Whether that means Super Conferences, elimination of conferences, or some hybrid of the two, by the year 2030 I don’t think we are looking at 65 P5 teams.
The Pac 12 also announced that they will not be expanding. While BYU never had really any hopes or aspirations of being invited, it was an opportunity. The reality is, the Pac 12 is likely the only other major conference that would ever even make sense for BYU. The SEC is too proud to cross into the Mountain Time Zone, the Big 10 is more interested in teams like Kansas and Oklahoma State, and the ACC is just too far east.
That leaves the Big 12. If somehow the Big 12 can pull in BYU, Boise State, Cincinnati, UCF and then some combination of UNLV, San Diego State, Memphis, South Florida, and Houston then this conference may just survive.
In that conference, BYU would instantly become a top half of the conference team, likely only behind Cincinnati, Oklahoma State and perhaps Iowa State, while on the same level as Boise State, UCF and TCU.
When the next round of expansion (or depletion) happens, the Cougars would be in a great spot to survive and make it to the next round as a top team. Could Independence continue to work for BYU? Probably, but there is nothing guaranteed. The Big 12 would at least, for a moment give BYU that P5 status, something that could be very valuable in years to come.