In my last column, I discussed how the SEC empire grew in power when it took over the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma from the Big 12. Even if the change didn’t take effect immediately, the Big 12 decided to plan ahead.
They decided to add four new teams to the conference to make sure they didn’t crumble like the old Big East during the reorientation of the conference in the early 2010s. The newest members of the Big 12 conference include Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Houston, and the University of Central Florida.
Although the Big 12 are primarily based in the Midwest, they are expanding by going west with BYU in Utah and southeast with UCF in Florida.
Although these supplements will allow the Big 12 to regain some sales and popularity, will these supplements make up for the Texas and Oklahoma exit?
First, let’s think about what this will mean for weight sports like soccer and basketball.
BYU, Cincinnati, and UCF will all add strength to football.
BYU finished 11th on the AP poll last season, and Cincinnati was 8th. Although UCF didn’t take the spot last season, it’s a consistently strong program that went undefeated through the 2017 season and ranked the season 6 ended in the people. Houston Football isn’t the university’s best track and field program, but the team typically goes to bowling and was ranked 8th once in the 2015 season.
While none of these programs can keep up with Oklahoma’s dominance in soccer, they can easily keep up with the current state of Texas. Overall, the newcomers can give the Big 12 more opportunities to reach the top 25 rankings and
possibly compete for a playoff position.
When it comes to basketball, all of these teams can add a little more power to the Big 12.
Basketball is usually not an issue for the Big 12, with schools like Kansas, Baylor, and Oklahoma State regularly dominating the competition. But schools like Houston and Cincinnati can definitely add another level to the Big 12
Houston made it to the Final Four in last season’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and Cincinnati usually competed closely with Houston in conference play when both were in the American Athletic Conference.
But BYU or UCF don’t count either. BYU defeated the Gonzaga powerhouse when they both attended the same conference, and UCF was almost able to beat a Duke team led by Zion Williamson at the NCAA tournament a few years ago.
It looks like the Big 12 should still be able to compete in both football and basketball. Another important factor for the conference, however, is whether they can still generate enough revenue.
As I mentioned in my previous column, Texas and Oklahoma have the highest annual conference revenues, so this will be difficult to repeat. However, since BYU has a large following among the Latter-day Saint community and the UCF is one of the largest schools in terms of enrollment in the country, there is room for potential growth in both revenue and income after losing its two largest schools Popularity. .
With Houston and Cincinnati dominating basketball and soccer respectively, this can also add to the money the conference can raise and distribute to its members.
Scheduling will be difficult with these additions, as traveling between states like Utah and Florida for a conference matchup is a lot of work. However, these supplements have many benefits. It was a great strategic move by the Big 12 to include these four schools in the mix.
Losing the flagship schools of two states, which have a dominant presence in college sports, is not optimal. Still, by expanding their boundaries, the Big 12 can open up new markets that can lead to more sales.
The Midwestern college town vibe behind the Big 12 could also fade by adding schools from major cities like Orlando, Houston, and Cincinnati, but that’s a small sacrifice the conference has to pay to stay relevant.
Overall, moving the Big 12 to a nationwide conference can have a significant impact on sales, popularity, and other metrics. This is going to be a difficult task, but if you are strategic it can just work out. Other major conferences like the Big 10, Pac 12, and ACC have expanded to other regions, so why can’t the Big 12 get them working?
How good the move ends up depends on how well all of these schools do in the field. With the support of a
Top five conference, these teams can jump to the next level and revitalize the Big 12.
Pratik Thakur is a junior writing about business in the world of college sports. His column “Money Talks” runs every second Wednesday.