7 teams the Big 12 should target in next round of college football realignment

7 teams the Big 12 should target in next round of college football realignment

While the NIL and the transfer portal have had a huge impact on the landscape of college football, nothing has changed the game more than a conference realignment.

A decade ago, when Nebraska, Texas A&M, Colorado and Missouri dropped the Big 12, it upset the apple carts of college football. USC and UCLA, followed by Texas and Oklahoma, have turned the tables by abandoning their Power Five conventions for greener pastures.

Last year’s moves have put the SEC and Big Ten at the forefront of college football, leaving the ACC and Big 12 behind in the Monday Night Wars edition of college football. The ACC and Big 12 have a solid foundation, even if they don’t have the same media rights bargaining position as the SEC and Big Ten. The Pac-12 looks like the convention that’s on a weak foundation with the Big Ten and Big 12 Secret.

New Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yourmark has been open about his desire to expand the convention. Shortly after the USC-UCLA announcement, it was reported that the Big 12 was looking to connect Arizona, the state of Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. Things have slowed since the Pac-12 entered the 30-day window to begin negotiations on its media rights deal, but the Big 12’s interest still remains.

And if they were able, they were interested in connecting Oregon and Washington, although the Big 12 would have to contend with the Big Ten for those northwestern powers.

As conference realignment continues to reshape the future of college football, let’s take a look at seven schools that should target the Big 12 in conference expansion.

Oregon Ducks

Sobam Im – USA TODAY SPORTS

After the latest round of realignment, there isn’t a more valuable brand available than the Oregon Ducks. This could be a daydream for the Big 12 as the Big Ten potentially sets their sites on the Ducks. However, with maneuvers involving Notre Dame, Oregon may not want to wait to see what the Big Ten can do with the Fighting Irish. The Irish would like to remain independent but that won’t stop the Big Ten from pursuing them.

Their success on the gridiron combined with the backing of Nike founder Phil Knight provides a great deal of value for whatever convention is able to call the most lucrative ducks.

Washington Huskies

September 28, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Jacob Eason (10) celebrates with fans after a match against the USC Trojans at Husky Stadium. Jennifer Buchanan – USA TODAY SPORTS

On the surface, the Washington might not seem like a team with a big enough draw, but on Forbes’ list of most valuable college football programs, the Huskies were in the top 25. It’s possible that wherever Oregon goes, Washington is bound to follow.

The Huskies bring to a Seattle and Northwest media market that will be attractive to future media rights partners, increasing the Big 12’s footprint across the country.

Utah Utes

April 23, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes Redshirt freshman quarterback Ja’Quindon Jackson (3) scored for the first run in the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Rob Gray – USA TODAY SPORTS

If Oregon and Washington move up to the Big Ten, the Utah Power Five remain the best remaining football program that is reasonably on the table.

The Utes have made most of their entry into the Pac-12, winning the conference in 2021. Since joining the Pac-12, he has had six seasons of nine or more victories, including three 10-win seasons. Head coach Kyle Whittingham is one of the longest-serving players in NCAA football.

Adding them to the Big 12 would provide the conference with “Holy War” one of the best West Coast rivalries in college football, a game that has been played 101 times since 1896.

Colorado Buffalo

November 20, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffalo linebacker Robert Barnes (20) celebrates his fumble recovery with defensive end Mustafa Johnson (34) in the second quarter against the Washington Huskies at Folsom Field. Ron Chenoy – USA TODAY SPORTS

It’s a different big 12 from when Colorado switched to the Pac-12 a decade ago. Namely, issues related to the Longhorn Network and revenue distribution are going to the SEC.

Bringing the Buffaloes back makes as much sense as any team potentially available with their history in the Big 12. Colorado was always a better regional fit with the Big 12 than the Pac-12, anyway, on the border of Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Who doesn’t have fond memories of Andre Gurod, a Nebraska defensive tackle bully from behind the end zone and back of the end zone in the early 2000s?

Arizona State Sun Devils

December 30, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Jaden Daniels (5) tries a pass against the Wisconsin Badgers during the 2021 Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credits: Stephen R. Sylvaini-USA TODAY SPORTS

Adding Arizona State may not make sense for the football side of things at this time. The Sun Devils have struggled lately, but they help the convention expand its media footprint in Phoenix and the Southwest. They help the Big 12 remain a strong softball conference even after Oklahoma and Texas left for the SEC.

Arizona Wildcats

December 11, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Grant Gunnell (17) against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SPORTS

Like the state of Arizona, the Arizona Wildcats give the Big 12 access to the Tuscan media market. Connecting the two Arizona schools gives the convention a more natural rivalry with which to produce programming with its media partners.

The Wildcats have had a lot of success in basketball over the years, providing interesting matchups for Kansas, Baylor and Texas Tech. And don’t forget their success as a softball program that helped maintain the Big 12 as one of the best softball conferences in the country.

SMU Mustangs

October 30, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) throws a pass against the Houston Cougars during the first quarter at TDECU Stadium. Troy Taormina – USA TODAY SPORTS

Major media market? the inspection. Ties with the current Big 12 teams from your time in the old Southwest Conference? the inspection.

The death penalty put the SMU down for a long time. Sonny Dykes, now at TCU, helped the Ponies to three straight winning seasons for the first time since he had four straight winning seasons at the end of his tenure at Conference USA from 2009 to 2012.

Their rivalry with TCU would be a nice addition to the Big 12 devoid of many natural rivalries beyond Kansas and Kansas State.

Mustangs, with their deep-pocketed booster bases, could see another resurgence in the Void’s new world order.

wild card teams

December 3, 2021; San Antonio, TX, USA; Upright McCormick (3) running behind the UTSA Roadrunner runs a 65-yard touchdown against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defense in the first half of the conference USA championship game at the Alamodome. Ivan Pierre Aguirre – USA TODAY SPORTS

With the Pac-12 virtually on life support, there’s a longstanding question of what to do with Washington State, Oregon State, Cal and Stanford. There have been reports that the Big Ten has looked into the feasibility of connecting Cal and Stanford with Oregon and Washington, but this leaves Beaver and Cougar in the balance.

Will Washington State and Oregon State Be Interested in the Big 12? They don’t really have a football presence, but like Oregon and Washington, it takes the conference to new markets.

As the conference continues to be restructured, there will even be some groups of five teams that can make the leap with SMU. Since returning to FBS in 2012, UTSA has had five winning seasons, including 12 in 2021. Memphis will bring a solid football program along with a great basketball program. Tulsa is in Football Alley and in major metro areas like UTSA and SMU.

It is unlikely that they will add another group of five schools after adding Cincinnati, BYU, UCF and Houston in last year’s expansion, but if they need a school to balance the numbers or if they achieve 20 teams. want to do, so it can be the way they go.

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The story was originally published by Sooners Wire. appeared on

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