With the Big East/American Athletic realignment occurring in a few weeks, college football will be left with five “power conferences.” Four of them have big-money championship games. The fifth is the Big 12.
For the Big 12 to again stage a championship, it will need to add an additional two teams, for a total of 12. Having a dozen teams would also help the conference champs’ chances at making the College Football Playoff, and increase the feasibility of a cable network. (While the Big 12 has a webstream, it has not launched its own channel as of yet).
Here are 12 teams that could be the 11th and 12th members of the Big 12.
This article operates on the assumption that the Big 12 is below the SEC, Pac-12, and Big Ten in the college football pecking order, and is unlikely to pry away any members of those conferences. Most of the suggested teams are current or former members of Conference USA or the Mountain West; many are in or border current or former Big 12 territory.
It is also constrained by the fact that the Big 12 (and the Big Eight before it) have been conferences of mostly public schools, but also that the Big 12 may want to find a rival for West Virginia, who at present is geographically isolated from the other teams in the conference.