(Photo by WVU Athletics)
Conference realignment has been a major topic of conversation as of late. With the Pac-12 clearly struggling, many believe the west coast oriented league could be the next to collapse. With that being the belief, many schools are beginning to allegedly be looking to jump ship.
Today, we are taking a look at five schools the Big 12 SHOULD consider inviting if they are truly interested in expansion. Despite the Pac-12 rumors, however, we have decided to keep all five schools from the Group of Five ranks.
Here are the schools the Big 12 should take a long and hard look at when considering expansion:
- Boise State (Mountain West) – The Broncos football program is one of the most successful of the 21st century. Everyone remembers their incredible runs to the BCS, and the complete domination they held over the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) prior to moving to the Mountain West. They have also found some success on the hardwood with their men’s basketball team finishing 24-10 in the 2022-23 season.This move would be a no-brainer for Boise State and the Big 12. Boise, Idaho may not be the most attractive market for the Big 12, but adding a proven athletics program would only increase the league’s prestige. Not to mention Boise State DESERVES a chance to compete in a Power Five Conference.
- Appalachian State (Sun Belt) – The Mountaineers of Appalachian State have quickly ascended to national prominence. Competing at the FBS-level since 2014, they have yet to post a losing record. With four Sun Belt championships under their belt as well, they would be a school clearly up for the challenge of a Power Five Conference.Located in Boone, North Carolina, this would also be a reasonable trip for all of the east coast teams in the league. Their beautiful baseball field would also be a plus when it comes to Big 12 venues.
- Air Force (Mountain West) – The Falcons may be the most underrated football team in America – I’m serious. Troy Calhoun has built a scrappy program, and many teams hate to see them on their schedule. The triple-option that Air Force runs would also be a unique addition to the league, and one that would likely be a headache for defensive coordinators.If you are really having trouble imagining Air Force competing in the Big 12, keep in mind they just knocked off Baylor in the Armed Forces Bowl. They would be up for the challenge. Their other sports do leave a lot to be desired, though.
- Memphis (American) – The Tigers have witnessed an emergence on the gridiron. Producing coaches like Mike Norvell and Justin Fuente, they have shown that they can compete with anyone. Memphis is also an incredible market and would be a huge money-maker for the Big 12.If we’re being honest, Memphis deserved an invite to the Big 12 during the last expansion. Along with their great men’s basketball program, they would have been a much more reasonable addition than UCF.
- SMU (American) – This is one that many may not welcome. Hear us out, though – SMU just produced a national championship coach in Sonny Dykes. They have been very competitive in recent years, and are in the heart of Texas. The Mustangs also have a built-in rivalry with TCU already.This program has come a long way since the “death penalty” in the 80s. SMU has a passionate fanbase, a fun style of play, and the resources to compete in the Big 12 right away.