What the Big 12 could look like if it expanded to 20 teams

The Big 12 is well on its way to becoming the next super conference in college football.

The conference is still busy with four teams in the west in Arizona, the state of Arizona, Colorado and Utah. The state of Arizona and Colorado have relatively strong histories in football, while Arizona and Utah have had quite a bit of success in the past.

As currently built, the Big 12 footprint has a void on the East Coast. With no teams between West Virginia and UCF and nationalization of other conferences, there is a clear opportunity for the Big 12 to expand eastward.

While it’s no secret that the conference couldn’t match the other two super conferences in football, the Big 12 could secure its future by becoming the best basketball conference.

Here’s a look at a third potential 20-team conference.



Big 12 East

Chris Jones-US TODAY Sports

  1. Duke Blue Devils

  2. North Carolina Tar Heels

  3. Pittsburgh Panthers

  4. UCF Golden Knights

  5. Mountaineers from West Virginia

Duke and North Carolina seem like obvious choices for a conference that already has Kansas, Arizona, Baylor, Houston, and Texas Tech. All five programs have dominated college basketball in recent history. Adding the biggest rivalry in college basketball only bolsters the conference’s basketball reputation. Pittsburgh would give West Virginia a strong rival and give the conference a five-team East Division.

Big 12 North

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  1. Cincinnati Bearcats

  2. Cyclones in the State of Iowa

  3. Kansas Jayhawks

  4. Wildcat Strikes in the State of Kansas

  5. Oklahoma State Cowboys

With Cincinnati already ready to participate in the conference, they are a natural addition to some of the original members of the Big 12 conference. The rest of the group dates back to the Big Eight conference.

Big 12 South

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

  1. Baylor Bears

  2. BYU Cougars

  3. Houston Cougars

  4. TCU Horned Frogs

  5. Texas Tech Red Raiders

BYU and Utah don’t seem to get along. For that reason, the Cougars are moved to a division of Texas teams. By playing in Texas so often, the private school could increase its influence on recruiting within the state. The other four schools give more in-state recruits reasons to stay home.

Big 12 West

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  1. Arizona Wildcats

  2. Arizona State Sun Devils

  3. California Golden Bears

  4. Colorado Buffaloes

  5. Utah Utes

I recently excluded the University of California at Berkley from my comprehensive Big Ten Conference forecast† However, their strong track record makes them a strong candidate for expansion in college sports. They round up the remnant of the Pac-12 leaving for the newly formed conference.



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