Is it actually happening?
The smoke continues to blaze from Big 12 expansion news, this time with a report from Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reporting that the Big 12 is expected to add BYU, UCF, Houston and Cincinnati “by the end of next week.”
From the report:
UCF, Houston, BYU and Cincinnati are expected to apply for Big 12 membership next week and then could be approved for admission in a meeting of Big 12 presidents Sept. 10, multiple sources tell Sports Illustrated.
The league has the eight votes needed for expansion.
In this scenario, the four teams will join the league by 2023 or, at the very latest, 2024, and may even compete alongside Oklahoma and Texas before those two powerhouses depart for the SEC.
This seems to align with the news out there that has BYU going to the Big 12 as all but imminent. Brett McMurphy reported earlier today that the Big 12 would add BYU for all sports, not just football only.
2023 would make sense for BYU to join. BYU would have nearly two years to get out of future football contracts, which aligns with the 18-month clause BYU has to cancel if they are added to a P5 conference. If BYU were to join in 2022, they may have to pay buyout for several of the 10 games currently on the schedule. Joining in 2023 would avoid that and allow the AAC members to negotiate their buyout.
Playing in a conference with OU and Texas, even for just a year or two, would also be fun for BYU and delivery some great matchups in football and basketball.
One other important point from the report says that the “Big 12 will retain its status as an Autonomy 5 league, college football leaders believe.” This would be huge for BYU and the Big 12 to stay as a Power conference in terms of status and a seat at the table for CFP access and prestige in the eyes of recruits.
We’ve been burned before, but all signs point to BYU being added to the Big 12 conference.