Schlabach has sweet Big 12 expansion scenario including BSU
For the second time in just over a year, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is desperately trying to keep his league intact. Texas A&M is apparently leaving for the SEC, while Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech are flirting with departing for the Pac-12. Can the Big 12 move on without them? As long as Texas stays, the Big 12 can survive.
Houston: The Cougars, who compete in Conference USA, would seem like a natural replacement for Texas A&M and would deliver the Houston TV market. Houston was a member of the now-defunct Southwest Conference, along with current Big 12 members Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M. The Cougars also have raised about $60 million of the $85 million needed to finance a new football stadium.
SMU: The Mustangs were a former SWC member and are finally recovering from the effects of being leveled by the NCAA's death penalty in 1987. SMU athletic director Steve Orsini has already lobbied Big 12 officials to replace the Aggies, and SMU president R. Gerald Turner said the Mustangs are ready to join any AQ conference that wants to tap the Dallas-Fort Worth market. SMU plays in Conference USA and boasts of having about 40,000 alumni living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
TCU: The Horned Frogs are set to move from the Mountain West to the Big East next season, but wouldn't joining the Big 12 be more attractive to them? The Frogs seem out of place in the Big East because of geography and might be interested in joining a revamped Big 12. TCU won at least 10 games in five of the past six seasons under coach Gary Patterson and is the defending Rose Bowl champion. Prominent Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens told The Oklahoman newspaper this month that Oklahoma and Texas are opposed to inviting TCU join the Big 12.
Air Force: The Falcons, who play in the Mountain West, are reportedly being considered as a replacement for Texas A&M. Air Force would allow the Big 12 to regain some footing in the Denver TV market. Even if it joined the Big 12, Air Force could still compete for the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy by playing Army and Navy in nonconference games each season.
Boise State: The Broncos, who left the WAC to join the Mountain West this season, are 62-5 over the past six seasons and have won two BCS bowl games since 2006. If the Big 12 went back to playing in two divisions, which OU and Texas are opposed to doing, there would be at least one really competitive team in the Big 12 North.
BYU: The Cougars left the Mountain West to become an independent this season, but a chance to join an AQ league might entice them to join the Big 12. Adding the Salt Lake City market would be an added bonus for the Big 12.