The word that keeps lingering around the Big 12 is expansion. Some people think they know what that means, but do they really? Yes, expansion means to get bigger or gain more, but does the Big 12 really need to expand?
The Big 12 does need to expand if fans want it to stick around. The conference has only 10 teams right now, which, in football, prevents it from having a championship game. This rule was recently revoked, giving the conference a championship game in the 2017 season.
The Big 12 needs to expand, at least two teams, primarily to keep the conference alive.. With rumors of Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State thinking about bailing for the SEC or Pac-12, the conference needs to expand now more than ever.
However, a main contributor to the reluctance of schools joining has everything to do with the Longhorn Network on ESPN, which makes every non-Texas fan cringe. They suck away so much money that could benefit the whole conference, but the word selfish won’t be used here. As teams on the outside look in, they want to be rid of the Longhorn Network. With every other Power Five Conference (Big 10, Pac-12, SEC and ACC) having some sort of TV channel or deal, it leaves those teams asking, “Why don’t we have what they have?”
Now, the interests are definitely there, and it has been rumored that the Big 12 wants to have the expansion set in stone before football season. It doesn’t seem on par with that timetable, but progress has been made. Teams like Colorado State, Air Force, Central Florida, South Florida and especially Houston have been the bigger names to be linked with the expansion. The idea has some rejoicing and others ripping their hair out. But, why?
Well, it comes down to recruiting. Especially with the city of Houston, the Big 12 could partially take over the state of Texas and rope off all of the recruits from leaving the plentiful state. This topic has a lot of Big 12 fans and traditionalists jumping up and down yelling, “Please no, don’t let them in!” However, adding Houston, fresh off a bowl win against powerhouse Florida State, would add so much more competition to the lackluster and diverse conference. Football and baseball are both top-heavy and basketball is already the best in the country, so adding teams couldn’t hurt the competition aspect.
As progress is made every day on this dilemma, the common debate among all sports fans has to do with expansion. The answer is simple. If people want the conference to stay, then vote for expansion. If they want their beloved team to go join someone that doesn’t provide the excitement of high-scoring football, best competition basketball and a diverse sports selection, then vote to leave. Whichever you may choose, just remember, nothing will ever provide the excitement the Big 12 does.