Cincinnati, UCF and Houston to join Big 12 in Summer ’23

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The Big 12 will expand to 14 in 2023 as it was  the AAC and their three departing members have reached an exit agreement.  The Cincinnati Bearcats, Houston Cougars and UCF Knights will all join the Big 12 next summer according to a report from The Athletic (subscription). BYU, who’s played as an independent will be taking their place in the Power Five as well.

All three schools are coming from the American Athletic Conference, who has their own replacements.

Here’s what this says to me:

OU and Texas will be moving to the SEC sooner (see what I did there?) rather than later. Originally scheduled to move in 2025, recent events may have pushed up the timeline for the move. The University of Oklahoma and ESPN have just signed a massive multi-year contract for Soonervision on ESPN+.

The money earned from that deal could be what gives OU the capital they need to justify an early exit from the Big 12 and join the strongest conference in college football.

Fun Fact: ESPN owns the SEC Network.

While a 14-team Big 12 would be fun to watch for a year or two, it doesn’t feel like it’s destined to happen.

Of course, I could be wrong.

However, giving Brent Venables a year in the Big 12 to get his feet wet as a head coach before sending him off to the SEC seems like a good idea.

Meanwhile, OU Softball just won another national championship, OU Baseball is one win away from the College World Series, Women’s Gymnastics just won another national championship, Men’s Gymnastics placed second, and the list goes on and on.

OU Athletics as a whole is in a very good place right now. An early move seems more and more likely.

List

In the new-look SEC, how could the conference align its permanent rivals?

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