I’m going to start putting each day’s links into its own daily post to help better track. Again, apologies if any of the following were linked previously:
Today’s links feature Justin Timberlake, a MAC/Bachelorette mash-up, UCF touting itself as a potential monster (after bad seasons in just about every sport), the floating of Tulane as a legitimate option, and a back-handed article from Lubbock that touts the Cougars the best option of an ugly expansion lot (always has to be a Texas Tech guy).
Pick candidates for the long-term. Credit this piece of wisdom to TCU coach Gary Patterson, who traversed these waters with the Horned Frogs in the most recent round of realignment. And TCU, which established itself as a winner over a decade before the Big 12 called, offers the most notable success story among the programs to move into the Power 5. The most obvious parallel to Patterson’s program is BYU, with its impressive track record. Just as notable is the comparison to Houston, a hot name with a trendy coach. Is it a quick fix, though?
“We check every single box,” White told ESPN.com in a phone interview Wednesday. "It’s inevitable that UCF will be a top 25, even top 10 athletic department. Of the Group of 5 athletic departments, our place has been at the pole position for some time. When you consider the future, it’s not even close.
“We can build a monster here.”
Imagine a scenario in which the Big 12 expands by four teams and adds current presumptive favorites Houston, BYU and Cincinnati. The league, obviously, would still need a fourth school. Imagine next that the conference conceivably concludes that Connecticut and Central Florida are too far away.
Imagine then that the decision comes down to, say, Memphis and Tulane. And then keep in mind that the presidents and chancellors – not the football coaches and athletic directors – will be making the call.
Tim Brando: Big 12 needs to make bold expansion move NOW
Here is my new look Big 12: Bowlsby’s first move (in my opinion) is to BYU. The only hindrance is scheduling because of the school’s religious affiliation (no Sunday games), but working around it shouldn’t be a problem. Once you move to the Mountain Time zone, you need another school that is a geographic fit. I love the advances made in Fort Collins and Colorado State is really well supported. Get CSU as the 12th team.
Now it’s here where the Big 12 should pivot and become proactive and go to 14 teams. Fans need to understand that at this point, TV markets and financial backing really counts. Texas needs to allow Houston to join. If that doesn’t happened, you get Fred Smith at Federal Express on the phone and see if his commitment to Memphis is real. If the answer is “yes,” take the Tigers as number 13. Ideally, Houston and Memphis are the choices. If the Cougars can’t shake old-fashioned Texas politics, you have plenty of options, and the two that make the most sense are UCF and Cincinnati.
Why Houston Should or Shouldn’t Join the Big 12
_From a common sense standpoint, Houston in the Big 12 makes a lot more sense than some options like BYU, Connecticut or Memphis. But common sense is rarely the biggest factor when it comes to conference realignment in college athletics so Cougars fans probably won’t be counting on an invite until one actually comes.
Local Writers from Big 12 Locations:
Examining Big 12’s possible expansion candidates (May be a subscription article)
Many candidates, but few perfect fits
Case for the Cougars: Houston has been a successful football program over the past few seasons, including its 13-1 mark last year under coach Tom Herman. The Cougars would also bring in a rising baseball program and respectable basketball team. Houston boasts a top-10 television market. Adding the Cougars would not only prevent another conference from acquiring them, but also keep Texas recruits from leaving the state.
Case against: The Cougars would be another Texas program in a conference already Lone Star State saturated. While adding UH could keep another conference out of the state, it could also hurt Big 12 recruiting as the school would be one more competitor vying for top Texas recruits.
Williams: Big 12 expansion’s a bad idea, but UH makes sense at least
If league determined to add, Cougars best of an unattractive bunch
Truth is, the acrimony fans of Tech, TCU, Texas A&M and Houston show each other proves my point. These are your rivals. These are the people you should be playing. Why not let the rancor play out on the field?
By the way, “eff” this guy
Articles from Expansion Candidates:
Bulls to remain mum about Big 12 pursuit
The taciturn approach, which USF officials believe is the most prudent going forward, stands in glaring contrast to the public comments emanating from other Big 12 prospects nationally.
East Carolina’s bid to join Big 12 gets boost from state politicians
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper both released statements urging Big 12 officials to consider the Pirates in their expansion plans.
East Carolina athletics doesn’t deserve a seat at the Big 12’s table
Even if the Big 12 does a football only expansion, ECU doesn’t deserve to go. In the AAC and C-USA, ECU hasn’t won a conference title since 2009. The program struggles to make bowls and barely averages six wins a year. Put that with the Big-12’s talents and Pirate fans will have to pray for five wins.
The AAC alone offers much better athletic programs and football teams. Houston, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati, and Temple all offer better programs as a whole. When it comes to football only, Navy could make a better case.
National analyst: Could Tulane become Big 12’s Vanderbilt?
As a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), Tulane is considered one of the top 62 research universities in North America. It’s a distinction many sources at Tulane believe is a critical factor in their pitch to those Big 12 presidents, who have seen the league lose three AAU members (Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M) and not gain any in the past five years.
Justin Timberlake lobbies for Tigers to join Big 12
But Timberlake is really bringing it with the wishful lobbying for Memphis’ inclusion in Big 12 expansion. Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen released a statement on last week, which essentially said that the school would do whatever it can to increase its national exposure.
Big 12 expansion, examined: Focus on fan bases
This isn’t a Memphis weakness. U of M fans have proven they will support a program that commands their attention. Consider the recent resurrection of the program under Justin Fuente, who left last fall for Virginia Tech after leading the program to 10 wins in 2014, nine in 2015 and back-to-back bowl appearances after six straight losing seasons. The success pushed average attendance past 40,000 for the first time since 2004 when DeAngelo Williams was amassing record-breaking rushing numbers. It’s conceivable Memphis could approach 50,000 average attendance playing a Big 12 schedule, one in which opposing league schools bring their fans in far greater numbers than the U of M has experienced in Conference USA or the American Athletic Conference.
BYU football: Houston to make “big announcement” and Ft. Worth columnist touts BYU’s position
In a ranking decided by success since 1936, the Cougars from Provo came in far higher than any other expansion candidate with Houston at No. 47, Boise State at No. 54, Colorado State at No. 75, Cincinnati at No. 82, South Florida at No. 87, UConn at No. 90, UCF at No. 91, Tulane at No. 93 and Memphis at No. 110.
Big 12 watch: BYU praised for ‘excited’ Twitter statement
Max Olson of ESPN rated the candidates based on their Twitter statements. He writes, “Remember, Brigham Young does not have to play nice with its current conference because it has none. So the Cougars’ AD focused on how stoked he is about the Big 12 news. Bonus points for giving a shout-out to Big 12 leadership and commissioner Bob Bowlsby.”
(My view: The Big 12 should add two schools in all sports, two as football-only members and plow forward with 14, thereby gaining needed short-term bulk and securing itself for the next round of realignment when the Oklahoma schools bolt for the SEC.
The MAChelorette: Three Schools Courting the AAC
The 3 teams are Northern Illinois, Buffalo, and Toledo and the writer goes into depth about why they should or should not have a case. NIU and Buffalo get “roses” in this scenario.