Big XII Conference Expansion 4.

Frank the Tank has a post specifically discussing Big XII conference realignment here. My thoughts are as follows.

I believe it is easier to prioritize values than to categorize values with a point based system. Lets then look at what will be valued.

1. Athletic power. When it comes down to it the number one reason a program would be considered is athletic value, which has two related components: competitiveness and commercial value. Regarding competitiveness the questions are: What have you done? (50 years analyzed by mcubed which really only quantify conventional impression), What have you done lately? (7 years by F+), and What are you doing now? (current BCS performance). Here only Boise State and BYU exceeds that of the Big XII average as determined by mcubed and F+ scores. Cincinnati, UCF and NIU could be considered if they win a BCS bowl game this season. Note the BCS win doesn't give get them the invite. The BCS win puts them on the radar for consideration.

2. Fandom. Fandom matters because it speaks to commercial value of the program. More fans means more attendance, more alumni contact and donation, more purchases of sport paraphernalia, and thus ultimately also more brand awareness. This is a measure of the program's commercial value. Here only BYU compares to the Big XII with game attendance and tv viewers (by Nate Silver's estimates in the NYT a year ago).

3. Demographic. Demographic here is about general population  size, population growth, and recruiting grounds. There are several programs here with the top two being UCF and USF for being in Florida. BYU gets listed here as Utah is a growing state. Cincinnati is a plus for Ohio (large state) and a minus (shrinking state).

4. Academic. Here the only real criteria will be AAU membership. Remember that the Big XII lost 3(4) AAU schools with Colorado, Missouri, aTm, (and Nebraska). Only two AAU schools would be Rice and Tulane, both programs doing pretty well this year with 6 wins thus.

5. Regionality. Here only proximity to ISU and WVU matters as the rest of the conference is already bunched up. For considerations might be NIU, Cincinnati, possibly ECU.

So in the end I agree with BYU as the top schools eligible placing with athletic power, fandom, and demographic. Then comes a huge gap for program #12 with choices from UCF, Cincinnati, possibly NIU or Boise State. The program able to win a BCS game this year will get the edge. Otherwise, i think it will be UCF before Cincinnati as Florida is a better state for the conference whereas Cincinnati is predominantly better for WVU.

Once back at 12, Big XII divisions should be zippered to allow "equivalent" access, exposure and travel. Each division should be anchored by OU and UT. There should be one to two annual cross division games to maintain rivalries. Each team will then play 5 division games, 2 annual cross division games, and 2 rotating cross division games. Listed are first annual cross division games.


  • KSU : KU (2nd cross division game versus ISU to allow regional play for ISU)
  • OU: OSU
  • TTU: UT (2nd cross division game versus OU to maintain the Red River game)
  • TCU: Baylor (2nd cross division game versus BYU so all the religious schools play each other)
  • ISU : UCF
  • BYU : WVU
Should the Big XII go to Big XIV (the Big XII already owns the rights to "Big XIV"), then it should be Rice and Tulane. Firstly why 14? The only reason would be to generate a dramatic increase in conference athletic volume and inventory for sales rather than just an incremental increase to 12 from 10. Rice and Tulane because they are both AAU programs and academics do matter to University Presidents. As #11 and #12 were taken based on competitiveness, there won't be a need to go to 14 for strength of schedule, but it will generate an opportunity to improve on academics. Never the less, a Big XIV is very unlikely.
  • KSU : KU (2nd cross division game versus ISU to allow regional play for ISU)
  • OU: OSU (2nd cross division game versus TCU?)
  • TTU: UT (2nd cross division game versus OU to maintain the Red River game)
  • TCU: Baylor (2nd cross division game versus BYU so all the religious schools play each other)
  • ISU : UCF (2nd cross division game versus Rice)
  • BYU : WVU (2nd cross division game versus TTU?)
  • Rice : Tulane (2nd cross division game versus KSU?)
Each team would then play 6 division games, 2 annual cross division games and one rotating cross division games to keep conference games at 9 total.

The above discusses expansion candidates, not whether the Big XII should expand. Current TV contracts pay each Big XII schools $20M. No one knows for sure whether there is a contract clause that will increase payout for more games available with an expanded conference and a conference championship game. I suspect if there is one there has to be a reason why it has not been taken. It could be from the networks saying no teams available meets network's criteria for an increased payout of $40 millions to the conference. Thing is, if there is any program worth $20M the program would be getting it already, and so no need to join a power conference. And if the network already has that program in its stable for less, then why pay more for it?
Thus the only reason to expand would be if the conference loses out on post season revenue after the 2014 season when the new 2+1 "playoff" goes into affect. We will know more before June 1 2014.