College Football Conference Expansions, the Big Picture

Though it did not come to pass, there was a substantial amount of buzz regarding super-conferences his past months. I assume that super-conferences will be 16 teams in size. I do not assume there will be just 4 super conferences because of the BCS bowls. There are currently 4 BCS bowls, the Fiesta, the Orange, the Rose, and the Sugar. These four bowls then rotate hosting a fifth bowl for the championship game. Currently the Cotton bowl is negotiating for inclusion as a BCS bowl. There is substantial money associated with the BCS bowls and they will not be going away any time soon. This means there will be 5-6 BCS games each year, and 10-12 teams. To prevent anti-trust, there must me 1-2 open slots for non-automatic qualifying conferences. This leaves 8-10 automatic invites to be divided, likely among 5-6 super conferences. It seems more likely that the six automatic qualifying conferences will become super conferences then one or more of the non-automatic qualifying conferences gaining super conference status and gain automatic qualifying status. In addition, the automatic qualifying conferences have better teams, at least in football, on average than the non-automatic qualifying conferences. For most schools though, football brings in the majority of the income.
Given these consideration, the only driver for conference expansion is to gain television market share without damaging the character of the conference as is. Each conference's character is a varying combination of athletic competitiveness, academic standing, and regionality. Another assumption is that not all conferences are equal and the stronger conferences will have more influence to expand over weaker ones.

The top conference is the Big 10. All of the Big 10 members are institution of significant academic standing and members of the Association of American Universities (AAU). The Big 10 is also based around the Midwest of the US, thus any future members must also be geographically connected to the Midwest yet at the same time increase its market share. If you look at the list of AAU universities not already in the Big 10 but within geographic fit, there are only 4: Iowa State, Rutgers, University of Buffalo, University of Missouri, and the University of Pittsburgh. Of these I believe Pittsburgh and Missouri would be the best fit as Pittsburgh has 2,050 millions followed by Mizzou has 974 millions in endowment, compared to 640 millions for Rutgers, 566 millions for Buffalo, and 508 millions for Iowa State, the Big 10 on average for endowment is 2.264 million dollars. Both Pittsburgh and Missouri would bring major media markets (Pittsburgh, St Louis and Kansas City) and are very much Midwestern. While Rutgers is located in a major media market, neither it nor Iowa State has a very large fan base to carry the market. By this analysis in the NYT, Missouri has a nearly 1.1 million fan base and Pittsburgh as nearly 0.9 million fans. Rutgers has over 0.9 million fans compared to 0.5 millions for Iowa State and 0.2 for Buffalo. Buffalo, with a relatively low endowment fund, small fan base, and not currently in not in a BCS automatic conference (Buffalo is in the Mid-American Conference) will be the weakest candidate for the Big 10. The strongest are Pittsburgh and Missouri. Pittsburgh has recently shifted from the Big East to the ACC and Missouri is currently in the Big 12. Interesting enough the remaining two schools are also in the Big 12 (Iowa State) and the Big East (Rutgers). The big 10, sitting on top with 12 teams should have no urgency to expand.

Next up is the SEC. The SEC recently accepted Texas A&M as its 13th member, and is likely looking for at least a 14th if not 15th and 16th. Given that the conference is currently divided East West, the 13th team will likely be an eastern team. The most attractive candidates are Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia Tech (all from the ACC), South Florida (Big East), and Central Florida (C-USA). Both South Florida and Central Florida are geographically too close to University of Florida and will not add much in terms of television markets and are both unlikely candidate. That leaves the ACC schools and with the new 20 million exit fees, it will be a difficult poach but it will be possible. Of these ACC schools, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, and North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech is least wedded to the ACC being among its newest members. Miami also has a huge fan base (1.3 millions compared to 1.7 for Clemson and 1.6 for Georgia Tech) and adds the populous south Florida market for the SEC. Miami however has a certain reputation as manifested by their current troubles with the NCAA. Virginia Tech also has a large fan base, same as Miami at 1.3 millions and gives the SEC a place in Virginia. However, Virginia Tech may want to bring Virginia with them. West Virginia (oft mentioned as a potential candidate) is neither a good geographical fit nor does it add much to the TV market. Virginia Tech also has a large fan base, same as Miami at 1.3 millions and gives the SEC a place in Virginia. However, Virginia Tech may want to bring Virginia with them. Missouri, another currently cited potential candidate, would force reformation of the East-West divisions, is not a better candidate than Virginia Tech or Miami. For 15th and 16th, Missouri will be considered, but so will TCU and SMU to further expand the Texas reach for the SEC. If TCU is still available it will be preferable to SMU In the East it will likely be a program in North Carolina to extend the geography of the conference. By 15th and 16th, the conference may be able to focus more on geographic expansion and be less rigorous on athletic competitiveness so the likes of SMU and perhaps even Eastern Carolina University (both from the C-USA) might be considered. But the SEC will be under no pressure to expand to 15 or 16.

What is left of the ACC will be considered next. Though standing at 14 teams now with their recent raids for Pittsburgh and Syracuse, they may still lose programs to other conferences (Pittsburgh to the Big 10 and Miami to the SEC). For quality programs they will have to continue to raid the Big East with occasional consideration for the C-USA. From the Big East already Rutgers and Connecticut have expressed interests (with 0.9 and 0.6 million fans respectively). These two teams will consolidate the North East reach for the ACC. Other teams to be considered will be South Florida (also Big East) or Central Florida (C-USA). The Florida programs (both with about 0.5 millions fan) will only be considered if the ACC loses either or both Pittsburgh and Miami.

Though the Big 12 might be a stronger football conference, the Pac 12 is currently more stable and will be considered next. The Pac-16 is the most stable conference west of the Mississippi and is highly unlikely to lose any members. This year it tried to raid the nearest automatic qualifying conference, the Big 12, but came up short, mostly because of the egos of the teams being considered (Texas primarily but also to a lesser extent Oklahoma). The Pac 12 will likely have problems finding quality programs for expansion, and will have to look at the Mountain West and the Western Athletic. The Pac 12 has already own nearly all the major media markets west of the Rockies and there are few media markets left to expand into. The candidates are BYU, Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, UNLV (all with the exception of BYU are Mountain West Conference). Note that like the Big 10 the Pac 12 does not have to expand.

The Big 12 survived a scare this month and would have ceased to exist as an automatic qualifying conference had Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech all left for the Pac 12. I have blogged about what the Big 12 needs to do to remain viable and competitive as a major conference. The Big 12 will need to expand to move forward, and given the continued risk of losing members (Missouri and Texas) the Big 12 should look to go to 14 rather than stop at 12. The three teams to round out the conference should be announced before the regular season ends; the additional two teams for 14 can wait till after the bowl games. The next three has to be viewed as competitive football teams to shore up the image of the conference viability. I believe two of these three should be BYU and TCU. Both teams have strong national awareness. BYU is an independent that really would prefer to be part of an automatic qualifying conference, would join the Big 12, and add the Utah market. TCU is in transition to the Big East and given how moribund the Big East appears currently, would also gladly prefer to play within its geographical foot print of Texas. The conference would also be better with 4 Texas teams to give it the options for a division split evenly through Texas (TTU & TCU west, UT & Baylor east). Of the currently available Texas teams, TCU is by far the best, better than SMU, Houston, Rice, or UTEP. The twelfth team in my opinion should be Boise State rather than Air Force or Louisville. Boise State is a competitive team that would provide a local competitor for BYU. Air Force has half the fan base of Boise State ( 0.2 millions compared to nearly 0.5) and less competitive. Air Force is also being courted by the Big East and there is no point in a bidding war for a second choice. Louisville has a good fan base (0.6 millions) and is geographically connected to the Big 12 via Missouri. I think Louisville could work but I view Boise State, being a western team, would be a better fit than a more Midwest Louisville. I am also certain the Big East would do what it can to keep Louisville. For team 13 and 14 the Big 12 can concentrate more for market share and worry less about team competitiveness (given a conference already has Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, and adding BYU and TCU, possibly Boise State. Market consideration will consider national fan base, local and state appeal, entry into a competitor media market, as well as academic. Top of my list for 13th would be Louisville with Tulane an alternative. Tulane has a small fan base (0.1 millions) but sits in New Orleans and Louisiana, an adjacent market that sits within the SEC and LSU media market. Tulane is also an AAU school with a large endowment of 800 millions and would thus increase the academic profile for the conference. The 14th team needs to be a Colorado school to provide western balance for an eastern Tulane, regain the lost Colorado market and compete with new Pac 12 member University of Colorado. The choice then is between Colorado State and Air Force. Both have about the same fan base (0.2 millions) with Air Force having a better national reputation but the Colorado versus Colorado State annual game is a biggest draw in Denver. Colorado State also has the largest endowment in the Mountain West at an acceptable 400 millions, along with 300 millions in research money. Compared to the state of Colorado, neither New Mexico nor Wyoming compare in either game play or television markets.

The Big East might not survive, currently down to 6 members with the loss of Pittsburgh and Syracuse and at risk for losing Connecticut, Rutgers, as well as Louisville. West Virginia is unlikely to leave, not because it doesn't want to, but because like Oklahoma, it has little options. West Virginia is not attractive to the Big 10, and doesn't add enough to the SEC or even the ACC. To be seen as viable the Big East must expand to 12, possibly 14. However, going to 12 means adding 6 new teams, nearly doubling its remaining members. Though TCU is expected to come on board, I suspect they will instead move to the Big 12. For expansion Army, Navy, Air Force and Temple are all mentioned as potential candidates and I believe these will all be good addition for the Big East, with possibly the exception being Air Force for geographical consideration. Some other teams that should be considered are Buffalo (from the MAC), Central Florida, East Carolina, possibly Memphis (from the C-USA), and Florida International (Sun Belt). Buffalo is an AAU program with strong academic and is nearby to Syracuse, a departing Big East member, and thus continues the western New York presence for the conference. Central Florida has a large fan base (by remaining Big East standards) with 0.5 million fans, and would be a natural local competitor Big East's South Florida. Florida International, though doesn't have much of a football presence, like Buffalo is very strong in academic though not AAU itself. Florida is an excellent market and more exposure for the Big East in Florida is good for the conference. East Carolina wants in, has a decent fan base of over 0.3 millions, and will introduces a foothold in North Carolina, an ACC stronghold thus expand the geography of the Big East. Memphis comes with a smaller fan base (0.2 millions) but would extends and bridge the geography of the Big East. If TCU stays, then Air Force would make more sense, as well as other Texas schools such as SMU or Houston. Once the Big East is at 12 teams, it must then assimilate the new members before bringing in any more.

The remaining conferences, Conference USA (C-USA), Mountain West (MW), Mid American Conference (MAC), Sun Belt, and Western Atlantic Conference (WAC) will naturally have to readjust. For these conferences, geography may be a limiting factor given the cost of travel. Regionality maybe more important than new market gains. C-USA may lose ECU, Tulane, UCF, and possibly Memphis. Replacement for these 4 would most likely come from the Sun Belt (Florida International, Troy, Arkansas State) and Louisiana Tech (WAC). With these programs: Florida International (for Miami market), Troy (nearly 0.4 millions fan), Arkansas State (0.3 million fans) and Louisiana (replace the Louisiana market with the loss of Tulane) the C-USA will maintain its current east-west division and geography. If C-USA also loses Marshall, Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt) should be considered.
The MW, minus TCU, +/- Boise State, +/- Air Force, +/- Colorado State will be down to 4-5 teams but is already expecting 3 teams from the WAC (California State-Fresno, Hawaii-Manoa, and Nevada-Fresno). The MW should consider expanding to get to 12 by raiding or merging with a smaller WAC for 12-16 teams. Yes I know that was tried before but the conference realignment environment is different this time. The teams from the WAC to consider are Idaho, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Utah State and future member Denver and Seattle. The remaining WAC teams, Texas State, UT-Arlington and UT-San Antonio should look to the Sun Belt. Louisiana Tech could also look to C-USA.
The MAC, if it loses Buffalo, should look to Marshall (C-USA) to go back to 12. Marshall is also a nice geographical fit with a rich football tradition.
The Sun Belt, without Arkansas State, Troy, Florida International, and possibly Florida Atlantic but with Texas State, UT-Arlington and UT-San Antonio would largely retain its size and gain a greater presence in Texas. Along with South Alabama, Texas State, UT-Arlington, UT-San Antonio the Sun Belt would have the 4 youngest Division 1 football teams but all in good tv markets.


College Football Big 12 Expansion

So the PAC-12 have decided not to expand, thus largely leaving Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech in the Big-12. That still leaves 2 thorny issues and 2 uncertainties.
The two thorny issues are conference revenue sharing agreements, equal or unequal. If the conference is to regain stability, rather than going through this drama and turmoil again, it will need to move to equal conference revenue sharing. Doing so will facilitate the conference members to act as a team rather than continuing on every school for itself. Which brings to bear the next thorny issue, which is the Long Horn Network (LHN), U of Texas and ESPN 300 million dollars 10 year partnership sport channel. The LHN, and UT's attitude regarding it, was the essential reason why Texas A&M left, this is the primary reason why the PAC-12 decision against expanding to 16 with OU, OSU, TTU, and UT. If UT and the LHN cannot or will not become compliant to the Big-12 expectations, then UT should not be a football member of the Big-12. UT will be fine as a football independent and should not have a problem scheduling annual games with OU, TA&M, TTU or any other regional teams. UT would have no problems arranging for games with USC, UCLA, Stanford, or Notre Dame. In many ways both UT and the Big-12 would both be better off with an independent UT.
The other uncertainty is Texas A&M (the first is whether UT should go independent or not). If revenue sharing and UT/LHN will comply with the conference, then TA&M may decide to stay. IF UT is independent then TA&M will likely stay in the Big-12.
Once the thorns and uncertainties are clarified, the Big-12 should expand to at least 12, if not 14 or even 16. With either UT or TA&M the next three teams the Big-12 needs to get back to 12, and thus host a conference championship game, would be to add BYU, TCU, and Boise State. All these are competitive teams with national standings. I believe though stopping at 12 would be a mistake and the conference should go to 14 with the addition of Air Force or Colorado State (for the Colorado market) and Tulane (for the Louisiana/New Orleans market). I think 14 would still permit two divisions with a reasonable conference schedule of 9-10 games (6 divisions games, 1 cross division annual rivalry, and 2-3 rotating games from the other division). To go to 16 would mean a pod based arrangement with 4 teams each, 9 conference games. But other than Colorado State/Air Force who else? Wyoming? New Mexico? A 15 team conference would means 3 pods of 5 (4 intra-pod games, 2 inter-pods annuals, 4 rotating intra-pods. Expansion to 14 I think would be reasonable for now rather than going to 15 or 16 to be a super conference.


College Football Conference Realignment

Since my last post on Big 12 realignment survival through retention and expansion, news over the weekend suggests the Big East is even in worse shape than the Big 12. The Big East, with 8 football schools lost Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC to become their 13th and 14th schools.
Today came an analysis by the NYT's Nate Silver looking at the value of each school with respect to their estimate fan size, and their respective conference. But before I get into Nate's analysis, I want to set forth some premises.

Premise 1. Conference realignment will continue, with conferences seeking to grow larger.

Premise 2. The minimum size for a conference is 12 and the maximum is 16.
Smaller conferences has less leverage for tv contracts, as well as leave member teams open for poaching by larger conferences (both the current Big 12 and Big East are less than 12 teams). Twelve teams will allow the conference to hold a championship game. A championship game brings both visibility and money to the conference. However, 12 teams leave no cushions for changes, as the Big 12 saw last year with the lost of Nebraska and Colorado. Not only did the Big 12 lose its championship game, it also became vulnerable to greater instability as witnessed by Texas A&M, OU, and UT drama this year, which is still unfolding. I am certain that all the conferences realize this and though both the SEC and the ACC had 12 members, both sought cushion against future instability by expanding beyond 12. Had the Big 12 and the Big East possessed any fore vision, they would have expanded to at least 12 last year and now it may be too late. So if the conferences want to expand beyond 12, what would be a good number?
With 13 teams, each team could play 2/3 of the conference each year on a rotational schedule, with a conference schedule of 8 games. Very dooable. Conference championship could be between the top two conference teams rather than by division.
With 14 teams, each team has 13 conference opponents, which is an odd number. One solution is to set up an annual rivalry game, and then play 1/2 or 2/3 of the remaining conference teams for a conference schedule of 7-9 games. 14 teams also allows 2 divisions, with 6 games from your own division each year, 1 annual rival from the other division, and 1/2 the other division on a every other year rotation. Again division championship could be based division champions.
With 15 teams the schedule becomes much more difficult. Each team could play two annual rivalry games then half the remaining conference teams for a total of 8 conference games. The conference could also be split into pods of 5 but this means three pods; 4 games against pods mates, 2 annual rival games (one from each of the other pods) and 2 of the 4 teams from each pods every other year for a total of 10 conference games. !0 conference games is likely too much as it only leave one non conference game within the standard school season. Non conference games bring exposure to a non-conference market, which ultimately enhances the program. 15 teams is dooable but barely so and I am skeptical any conference wants to stay at 15.
With 16 teams, the most popular arrangement is four pods of 4. Each team would play 3 games against pod mates, and 2 of 4 of each other pods for a total of 9 conference games. Pods also allows for regionalization to save travel costs. Divisions would result in an 11 conference games schedule and this is prohibitive. Conference championship could be the two pod champions with the best records.
With 17 teams, the odd number would rule out pods organization and division separations. 17 teams i do not believe is workable.
Thus conferences will likely be configured at 13, 14, or 16. 14 seems most practical to me to allow regionalizations with divisions and designations of division champions that actually means something (rather than pod champion). The WAC tried 16 with pods before and did not work then in actuality despite a workable concept.

Premise 3. The BCS Bowl series will remain intact. The BCS bowl is about money, and money speaks. Many has suggested replacing the BCS bowls with a playoff but that will only happen within a bowl format anyway. Currently there are 5 BCS bowl games: the championship game, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl. Conference champions would play each other, but sometimes a second team from one conference would rank higher than the champion from another conference, thus open spots are necessary. With 5 BCS bowls there would be 10 teams, easily permissive of 6 champions, 3 second conference teams, and an at large spot. This is practically the current arrangement for the champions of the ACC, Big 1G, Big 12, Big East, PAC 12, and the SEC. There has been talk of 4 super conferences and I just don't see this applicable with the current BCS Bowls. Lets also keep in mind that there is movement to add a 6th BCS Bowl with the Cotton Bowl. 6 BCS Bowls means there will certainly room for more than 4 super conferences.

Premise 4. Conference wealth is based on fans, for TV as well as merchandise.
According to Nate's analysis of team's fan base, the conferences rate as follows:
Big 1G: 15.5 million fans with an average of 1.46 per team.
SEC: 13.5 million fans with an average of 1.13 per team; with Texas A&M 15.5 million fans and 1.19 per team.
ACC: 11.1 million fans with an average of 0.93 per team; with Pittsburgh and Syracuse 12,7 million fans and 0.91 per team.
PAC 12: 7.4 million fans with an average of .62 per team.
Big 12 without Texas A&M: 8.1 million fans with an average of 0.9 per team.
Big East without Pittsburgh and Syracuse: 3.7 million fans and an average of 0.52 per team; with TCU 4 million fans and 0.5 per team.
C-USA: 2.6 million fans with an average of 0.22 per team.
MWC without TCU, with Hawaii, Fresno State and Nevada: 2.5 million fans and an average of 0.25 per team.
Sun Belt: 1.8 million fans with an average of 0.20 per team.
Mid American: 1.6 million fans with an average of 0.13 per team.
WAC without Hawaii, Fresno State or Nevada: 0.5 million fans with an average of 0.11 per team.
Notre Dame with 2.2 million fans (and UT also with 2.2 million fans) appear viable as independents.
As above, despite talk of the Big 12 being weak, it actually has greater potential than the Pac 12.

Premise 5. Teams from strong conferences (BIG 1G, SEC, ACC, PAC 12) will not leave their conference.
Thus realignment will center on the Big 12 and Big East. The Big 12 as is can survive as a fifth super conference, on par with the Pac 12.
For completeness lets look at what looms on the horizon currently with realignment.
PAC 16 with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech: 12.5 million fans with an average of 0.78 per team. Just 4 teams will nearly double the fan base for the PAC 12. Given the rich football recruitment and growing population of Texas over that of California, it could have been these 4 schools expanding to take the PAC 12 rather than the PAC 12 taking in these 4 schools. What the PAC 12 has is organization and leadership that these 4 schools lack, as each essentially is its own master and independent of each other. If these four teams were smart, they would do better by staying and expanding rather than joining the PAC 12.
SEC with Missouri and Texas A&M: 18.7 million fans with an average of 1.33 per team.
Big 12 + Big East remnants: 5.6 million fans with an average of 0.56 per team.
Big 12 remnant + MW +BYU: 5.1 million fans with an average of 0.22 per team.
Big East remnants + C-USA: 6.2 million fans with an average of 0.35 per team.
Given the last 3 combination, the Big East is better joining with the C-USA while the Big 12 remnant would do fine with BYU and the MW. However, if the Big 12 remain intact and merge with the MW, BYU and TCU, the result would be 11.63 million fans (20 teams so some pruning will be necessary).
Approximately of course.

In summary
1. Conferences will expand to 14-16.
2. There will be room for 5-6 super conferences, and the Big 12 could remain a player if it remains intact and expand.


College Football Big 12 Realignment

Last year the Big 12 lost the University of Nebraska to the Big 10 (giving the Big 10 its twelfth team) and University of Colorado to the Pac 10 (which now also has 12 teams). This year Texas A&M University have made plans to leave for the SEC. Currently rumors are flying about Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University, and the University of Texas considering options with other conferences, and to a lesser extent Texas Tech University and the University of Missouri as well.

My preference is for the Big 12 to continue and expand rather than shrivel and die. I would also like to see UT get kicked out of the Big 12, left with no conferences to join, and thus declare themselves Independent. I personally have no problem with some disproportionate sharing of the wealth among member teams. After all if you are better you should get more. However, a conference should still function as a team, meaning you are only as good as those you play against. The stronger team should help the weaker team some. This is also a trait of a leader. The University of Texas, though better positioned than mist others in conference, has not been a leader in the Big 12 but rather played the spoiled brat. The big 12 teams deserve better.

I hope the remaining eight teams, Baylor University, Iowa State University, Kansas State university, Oklahoma State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri, and the University of Oklahoma, all work together to rebuild the conference with recruitment and expansion. Why would any team want to join the Big 12? Because the Big 12 is an automatic qualifying conference for the Bowl Championship Series. However, given the weakened position of the Big 12 currently, it will be highly unlikely to expand with teams already in an automatic qualifying conference such as the ACC, Big 10, Big East, Pac 12, or the SEC. This leaves the second tier conferences such as Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt, or Western Athletic. Interesting enough, the unequal distribution of conference money may make expansion of teams from these conference easier for the existing teams.

Teams I think the big 12 should consider are, in order:
Tulane University. Enrollment of 11,000. Endowment of 800 millions US$. Football Stadium for 73,000. Tulane would also bring in the New Orleans and Louisiana market of 1.2 millions and 4.5 millions respectively.
Colorado State University. Enrollment of 25,000. Endowment of 400 millions US$. Football Stadium for 34,000. Colorado State would resume Big 12 football in Colorado with its 5 millions already familiar with the conference.
University of Houston. Enrollment of 39,000. Endowment of 500 millions US$. Football Stadium for 32,000. Houston is an up and comer program with a competitive team in a major media market.
Texas Christian University. Enrollment of 9,000. Endowment of 1.1 billions US$. Football Stadium for 44,000. TCU is a competitive team, a good school, and belongs in the Big 12 rather than the Big East.

The addition of these 4 teams would bring the Big 12 back to 12. While both Boise State and BYU would make strong competitors, the distance is too far and the market gain not worth enough to travel for. However, alternative neighbors, or to bring the conference to 14 for greater stability would be to add the Air Force Academy (4,400 enrollment, 24 millions US$ endowment, and 52,000 football stadium) and the University of New Mexico (35,000 enrollment, 300 millions US$ endowment, and 40,000 stadium) to maintain regional hegemony.

The conference's two divisions should be split to include Texas in both (2 Texas teams each) to allow all conference teams continuous exposure to the most populous state in the conference. The divisions could be East-West or by "zipper" based on rivalries. Each year each team would play all its division partners and half of the other for a total of 8 games, allowing plenty of non conference play. A 14 team split would allow for 10 conference games (6 within the division, 1 annual rival game from the other division, and 3 general rotating games from the other division). A 16 teams two division conference would result in an 11 game conference play and is not practical with the current season length.

Should Texas stay then either not add TCU or expand the conference with the University of New Mexico for 14 (along with Tulane, Colorado State, TCU and Houston). The current Big 12 teams, minus Texas A&M University, are:

Baylor University. Enrollment 13,000. Endowment 870 millions US$. Football Stadium 50,000.
Iowa State University. Enrollment 29,000. Endowment 500 millions US$. Football Stadium 55,000.
Kansas State University. Enrollment 24,000. Endowment 280 millions US$. Football Stadium 51,000.
Oklahoma State University. Enrollment 23,000. Endowment 500 millions US$. Football Stadium 60,000.
Texas Tech University. Enrollment 31,000. Endowment 775 millions US$. Football Stadium 60,000.
University of Kansas. Enrollment 30,000. Endowment 1 billions US$. Football Stadium 50,000.
University of Missouri. Enrollment 33,000. Endowment 975 millions US$. Football Stadium 71,000.
University of Oklahoma. Enrollment 30,000. Endowment 970 millions US$. Football Stadium 82,000.
University of Texas. Enrollment 50,000. Endowment 14 billions US$ for the entire UT system. Football Stadium 100,000.