Now that it is between BYU, UH, and Cincy - a quantitative look

Below is something I posted on Coogfans in late Jan/early Feb of this year. Now that BYU, Cincy, and UH, are being talked about as the primary Big 12 candidates I think it may make some good fodder for discussion. Sorry the tables aren’t showing up right, I will try to fix them. But it lists team and then score (normalized to 100)

Below I have attempted a quantitative calculation of candidate viability for the Big 12. I believe that the data the Big 12 will be given this summer will look something in the neighborhood of this.

Let me preface this post by saying that I am not a statistician and have never really produced metrics beyond doing it in a couple of college courses and a little at work, however, the calculations are mostly just weighting/averaging in excel and are largely based on real objective data and this took me a fair amount of time to do. I also realize that I don’t know all the factors that matter to the Big 12 and how they weigh them. This is a best guess of something reasonable given real data.

Data used:

  • football wins last 10 years
  • top 25 finishes last 10 years in football
  • men’s basketball wins last 10 years
  • NCAA basketball tournament appearances last 10 years
  • NCAA basketball final RPI rankings
  • local market size related to value added for a Big 12 network (Houston drags here because we are already in the footprint of the Big 12)
  • local market size related to recruiting (what % of population signs D1 football scholarships is taken into account here - for instance the South signs more players per capita to a scholarship than the North East)
  • national tv appeal for football
  • distance from other Big 12 schools (an indirect way of accounting for travel costs for sports)
  • US News national academic ranking
  • Tier 1 research university or not
  • traditional rivalries with current Big 12 schools
  • football facilities to include practice facilities and potential use of NFL stadium in city
  • basketball facilities to include basketball facilities and potential use of NBA arena in city
  • fan support of football and basketball

*** facilities in the works that will be open in next 2 years are counted positively towards facilities scores***
***Recent accomplishments are weighted heavier than more distant ones to account for momentum (a top 25 football finish in 2015 is more valuable than a top 25 finish in 2010). ***
*** for the most part the factors are weighted about the same except recruiting and basketball strength are weighted slightly less and tv/Big 12 nework appeal are weighted slightly higher ***

Without further ado I give you my (I believe) reasonably accurate overall candidacy strength scores for addition to the Big 12 on a scale of 100:

Final Overall Strength Score
BYU 72.5265582
Houston 69.9108865
Cincy 61.6936011
USF 60.7059273
UCF 59.4378544
Boise State 52.3505516
Connecticut 44.0725834
Memphis 41.8841588
Colorado State 36.7245379

  1. BYU is strong in football, basketball, fan support and academics, but lacks in geography, recruiting, and has drawbacks of no Sunday games and BYU TV.
  2. Houston is strong in geography, tv appeal, facilities, and football but lacks in academics, fan support, and basketball program strength.
  3. Cincy is strong overall, being in the top 5 in every category except television strength because they don’t have the largest national appeal or local market size.
    4./5. USF and UCF’s largest value comes from their market sizes being opened to recruiting and a Big 12 network. USF sports have been bad the last 10 years though and they don’t have their own football stadium, so UCF probably produces the better overall package.
  4. Boise State has good football and basketball along with facilities, but lacks in market size, geography, recruiting advantage, and academics which are likely killers.
  5. Connecticut has great basketball and academics but geography, football, facilities (to an extent), and recruiting really hurt them.
  6. Memphis is strong in fan support, basketball, and geography but lacks in academics, football facilities, football, and value added to a Big 12 network…too many weakness in my opinion to be in real contention.
  7. Colorado State has some strengths but is clearly a level below being ready for the Big 12.

Therefore in conclusion, BYU, Houston, Cincy, USF, and UCF should be the only real contenders for Big 12 expansion. If it is all about getting new market $$$ then USF is the team however their sports lack and they don’t have their own football stadium. UCF has their own stadium, larger student population, and enough recent success in sports that I think they would win out over USF for those reasons if a Florida school is picked unless JUST tv dollars talk. BYU is greatly appealing for all sports but would be even more with just football only as that would greatly reduce a primary weakness in geography. Cincy is extremely solid in all areas but I think their tv market value is overrated –but they do appear to be a relatively safe choice and do fill the real desire to “bridge” WVU.
I have been saying for months that UH and BYU (football only) are the best options and I think this data (although somewhat subjective and largely debatable) shows it – BYU even with all sports still turns out to be the Big 12’s best option. However, If BYU is a no go due to BYU TV, Sunday sports, geography, or their demands in general, then UH and Cincy are the best two choices given no Big 12 network. Given a Big 12 network UH is still a better choice overall by a decent margin as long as the Big 12 doesn’t value a Big 12 network much higher than other factors (the overall rankings shown take into account a Big 12 network at 10%). In the end, could the Big 12 maintaining individual tier 3 rights and shunning a Big 12 network (largely due to the LHN) get us a Big 12 invite? I think the data supports that we should get an invite in that instance. Even with a Big 12 network, we are still notably stronger overall, then Cincy or the Florida schools – that is unless they weigh the network’s value VERY high relative to the other factors (which I’ve calculated to weigh tv/network factors at about 50% of the equation vice 30% now).
I haven’t taken political pressure for a UH invite into account because that is hard to quantify and an argument can be made that the vitriol of the Texas Big 12 schools toward our inclusion basically negates any politicking affect one way or another creating a zero sum difference in effect.
If anyone is interested, I can share the spreadsheet I used for calculations.
note- the top school in each category is given 100% and everyone else is adjusted down according to their relative strength in that category

Football Strength – 20%
Boise State 100
Houston 73.25103
Cincy 61.7284
BYU 54.73251
UCF 54.73251
USF 26.33745
Connecticut 23.86831
Colorado State 21.39918
Memphis 18.93004

Television Strength (combination of local appeal and national appeal) – 15%
Houston 100
USF 94.02496
BYU 79.74406
UCF 78.30408
Boise State 71.63808
Cincy 49.71062
Connecticut 36.10849
Memphis 25.00363
Colorado State 16.50272

Value to add to a new Big 12 network – 15%
USF 100
UCF 83.2801
BYU 57.02771
Houston 53.17737
Cincy 52.8696
Connecticut 38.40309
Boise State 31.7363
Memphis 26.59255
Colorado State 17.55143

Basketball Strength – 5%
Memphis 100
BYU 99.13337
Connecticut 91.0554
Cincy 81.58213
Boise State 59.66517
Colorado State 47.16319
Houston 38.17235
UCF 36.5265
USF 24.54993

Academics – 10%
Connecticut 100
BYU 85.71429
Colorado State 74.35897
Cincy 69.59707
USF 63.73626
UCF 59.34066
Houston 52.38095
Boise State 0
Memphis 0

Recruiting value to Big 12 – 5%
USF 100
UCF 78.74366
Cincy 35.25432
Houston 28.43525
BYU 20.24673
Memphis 10.86987
Colorado State 2.128694
Connecticut -0.05269
Boise State -3.10534

Geography-Rivalries 10%
Houston 100
Memphis 94.00799
Colorado State 71.26283
Cincy 70.61553
BYU 34.85466
UCF 30.23392
USF 28.10281
Connecticut 1.483813
Boise State 0

Facilities-Fan Support – 20%
BYU 100
Memphis 77.07216
Cincy 70.48903
Boise State 70.08201
Houston 68.578
Connecticut 67.11833
USF 65.32712
UCF 62.28803
Colorado State 51.54902

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TL/DR but I’m sure there is some good UH stuff there

U of H LACKING in academics!! GO STICK IT IN YOUR EAR!!! Where have you been or not been?

UH academics are as good or better than everyone else on your list except for possibly BYU.

Not per USWNR, which is what OP said he used. UConn is #57, we’re #187. We have to get the graduation rates up.

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That the Achilles heel for UH, graduation rates.

All those stats are for diddly squat when there are only 3 left …

I gather the ex-sooner plus some others were pushing UCF forever … and they BIT THE DUST … BIG TIME as most of us were predicting …

My condolences to those who didn’t make it …

Should have listened to Louie and the Duke …


As long as Tyler Junior College isn’t a candidate, academics will be pretty much irrelevant (all the candidates are about as good or better than Tech), and without a conference network, new markets hardly matter. The Big 12 has made it fairly clear that it wants to bring in the best programs it can. The best football program today (and over the last three years–29 wins compared to 25 each for BYU and Cincy) is UH. Travel may be instrumental in the decision-making process as well. BYU is nearly 1500 miles from Austin, UH a little more than 150. Cincinnati isn’t exactly a next-door neighbor, but the Bearcats would provide a bridge for WVU, and UC about half as far a trip as Provo for ISU, KU, KSU, etc., so UC should have support. Furthermore, the Sunday issue could prove problematic, and we’ve heard that BYU is really tough to deal with. None of that will matter if UT doesn’t accept UH under any circumstance, but we’ll see. If we could get to a NY6 bowl again, I think we’d be a pretty good bet.

Pawrful, The stats that I present are still relevant. Differences in category rankings between BYU, Cincy, and UH are shown and they can be analyzed to see where each is stronger and weaker. My data, again which is all real data, and processed using reasonable assumptions (I think anyway) states we are clearly ahead of Cincy- namely geography, football, and TV appeal set us apart. Politics will keep us out if we don’t get the invite in my estimation.

Second, I and others have said UCF and/or USF ONLY if there is a Big12 network and “it’s ALL about the money”. Since that’s off the table, they are out of contention. That was the only real thread of hope they had. Not sure how I “got proven wrong” there.

The obvious choice would be Cinci and U of H. Having Cinci “bridges” the geographical gap and enters BIG10 country. U of H “cements” East Texas but more importantly “cements” the greater Houston area. Remember the reason that CTH is at U of H is strictly correlated to what the greater Houston area is all about.
What about BYU? They have their own network but I believe it is also produced by ESPN. Even though BYU can’t play on Sundays I can’t discount uta from making a deal that nobody expects.
Historically uta has done everything to put us down. Why would they stop now? One week uta is against us the next for us. I remember history. uta’s history has not been kind to us.
I still think that we will get an invitation to join…Just for uta to bail out as soon as they see an opportunity. I feel like I have gone through twenty years of permanent cycle and dry cycle…all at the same time.

Until we hear otherwise I will keep thinking that we will get the invite. Tomorrow is a new day; let’s hope it’s our day.

One of the national reporters was adamant last fall that western expansion never going to happen. I think BYU is a smokescreen to keep people guessing.

Well, Cincy doesn’t have anywhere near the national “name” that BYU has. Not even close.

Nevertheless, BYU brings its own baggage and that leaves the door open for Cincy. If their ND transfer QB finally lives up to his potential it would elevate Cincy’s national profile significantly.

Meanwhile. UH has a NY6 game to start playing for. And who knows, maybe even something bigger.

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We have the Ritz…hooray for boobies!


UH academics are rising, but UConn, BYU, Colorado State, Cincy, UCF, and USF all have higher USNWR rankings currently - although the only that are significantly ranked higher are BYU and UConn. BYU is not tier 1 research, but the others mentioned in the previous sentence are.

USNWR’s methodology is so slanted it is unusable. Look it up.

The problem is a lot of people use it, whether it is an accurate reflection or not.

The only pertinent category for me is mid-career pay, and Houston graduates make on average $84K a year at mid-career. That puts them on par with most other major schools in the state except Rice. See here… I didn’t get my degree to become a well-rounded person; I got it to make money.

Wow, that survey is a piece of crap and there is zero chance it should be taken as anywhere close to accurate. Self reporting salary and school - sounds like there is no way that it could be wrong [sarcasm]

“The data used to calculate all salary information comes from millions [I have a feeling this is not true -KFD] of people who have taken the PayScale Salary Survey and told us where they received their bachelor’s degree. If you want to see salaries based off alumni who only received a bachelor’s degree, use the Bachelor’s Only tab. To see median alumni salaries that include data from graduates who went on to earn a graduate degree (at any school, not just the university where they obtained a bachelor’s degree), use the All Alumni tab.”

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