Rumors have been swirling of late about the expansion of the Big 12 Conference. Some people want a football power like BYU to join, others prefer to keep it close to home with a school like Colorado State. While both of those schools would benefit the conference, neither are the best options.
At the top of the list are the Cincinnati Bearcats. The location of the school alone makes perfect sense.
This would mostly benefit West Virginia, as it would give them a school closer to travel to, virtually the same distance from Manhattan to dreaded Norman, Oklahoma. On the field, the Bearcats are no slouch either, making it to a bowl game nine out of the last 10 years and have a winning season in each of those years.
What is often overlooked is the talent a school has in basketball. Although men’s basketball doesn’t make as much money as college football, there is still money to be made and popularity to be gained.
Head basketball coach Mick Cronin has led the Bearcats to the NCAA tournament each of his last six seasons, including an American Athletic Conference championship. And it’s not like the Bearcats haven’t reached this level of success before, Bob Huggins led his squads to 14 straight tournament appearances in years past.
The next, and final, school the Big 12 should add is another Texas school, the Houston Cougars. Geographically, again, it makes complete sense. Why not play another football game in Texas in early December?
It’s not like the weather is going to be awful, and besides West Virginia, and possibly added Cincinnati, is within close proximity to every other school. Houston also just came in at No. 15 in the AP poll.
Now let me ask you this: Who wouldn’t want the 15th best college football team in the country in their conference? The Cougars, who have been to a bowl game 10 of the last 13 seasons, and currently have a Heisman Trophy contender in Greg Ward Jr.
Ranked, bowl games and a Heisman candidate; sounds like a pretty good team to have in your conference.
On the basketball court, Houston, by any means of the matter, isn’t the best team to have at all, with their record leveling at about .500, give or take a few wins per year. Some would stop the Houston discussion right there, but look at TCU. Besides stunning KU one time (which I think we all enjoyed), what memorable wins does TCU have in the conference?
Football is where a big chunk of consideration is taken from, and while a basketball situation like Cincinnati’s is always beneficial, it’s not a deal breaker.
So sorry BYU, Justin Timberlake and Memphis and any other school who actually thought they had a legitimate chance to join the conference, but the situations in Cincinnati and Houston are just too good for the conference to pass up.