What the Big 12 could look like if it expanded to 20 teams

·2 min read

The Big 12 is well on its way to becoming the next super conference in college football.

The conference is still hotly pursuing four teams out West in Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah. Arizona State and Colorado have a relatively strong history in football, while Arizona and Utah have had their fair share of success in the past.

As currently constructed, the Big 12 footprint has a void on the East Coast. With no teams between West Virginia and UCF and nationalization of other conferences, there is a clear opportunity for the Big 12 to expand eastward.

While it’s no secret the conference could not match the other two super conferences in football, the Big 12 could secure its future by becoming the top basketball conference.

Here is a look at a third potential 20-team conference.

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Big 12 East

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

  1. Duke Blue Devils

  2. North Carolina Tar Heels

  3. Pittsburgh Panthers

  4. UCF Golden Knights

  5. West Virginia Mountaineers

Duke and North Carolina seem like obvious choices for a conference that already has Kansas, Arizona, Baylor, Houston, and Texas Tech. All five programs have dominated college basketball in recent memory. Adding the top rivalry in college basketball only strengthens the conference’s basketball reputation. Pittsburgh would give West Virginia a strong rival and give the conference a five-team East Division.

Big 12 North

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  1. Cincinnati Bearcats

  2. Iowa State Cyclones

  3. Kansas Jayhawks

  4. Kansas State Wildcats

  5. Oklahoma State Cowboys

With Cincinnati already set to join the conference, they make for a natural addition to a few of the original members of the Big 12 conference. The rest of the group dates back to the Big Eight conference.

Big 12 South

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

  1. Baylor Bears

  2. BYU Cougars

  3. Houston Cougars

  4. TCU Horned Frogs

  5. Texas Tech Red Raiders

BYU and Utah cannot seem to get along. For that reason, the Cougars are moved to a division of Texas teams. By playing so frequently in Texas, the private school could increase its influence in recruiting within the state. The other four schools give more in-state recruits reasons to stay home.

Big 12 West

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  1. Arizona Wildcats

  2. Arizona State Sun Devils

  3. California Golden Bears

  4. Colorado Buffaloes

  5. Utah Utes

I recently excluded The University of California at Berkley from my expanded Big Ten Conference prediction. However, their strong athletics history make them a strong expansion candidate in college sports. They round out the remnant of the Pac-12 departing for the newly formed conference.

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