Ranking Big 12 expansion candidates: Best fits to join conference amid college realignment

·5 min read
Some Pac-12 schools are high on some lists of possible expansion candidates for the Big 12 Conference.
Some Pac-12 schools are high on some lists of possible expansion candidates for the Big 12 Conference.

The Big 12 is already set to add Cincinnati, Houston, BYU and UCF upon losing Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC.

But could the conference further expand amid college conference realignment?

Speculation and rumors surrounding the future of the Big 12 continues to run rampant.

Several sites have ranked potential candidates to join the conference, should it decide to expand.

Take a look at who those sites say are the best options to join the Big 12.

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More: Ranking Pac-12 expansion candidates: Best fits to join conference amid college realignment

Fansided: Ranking the six Pac-12 candidates for expansion

Andrew Miller ranked Arizona No. 6 among possible Pac-12 expansion teams for the Big 12, with ASU No. 5. He had Colorado at No. 4 and Utah at No. 3. Washington was No. 2 and Oregon was No. 1.

Miller wrote of Arizona: "Since the Arizona schools would essentially come as a package deal for the Big 12 in the expansion conversation, it makes sense to keep them together on this list. I also don’t believe that there is much of a gap in terms of the attractiveness between the two Arizona schools.  The Arizona Wildcats do get the bottom spot on this list thanks to the poor state of the football program. Sustainable success was a hard ask in the last few decades for the Arizona football program. Meanwhile, the upside to getting Arizona into the Big 12 would be adding the valuable Phoenix-area TV market and the recruiting grounds in that state. The Wildcats would also bring a nationally established brand to the table in basketball and a competitive baseball program."

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Heartland Sports: Top Big 12 expansion candidates from Pac-12

Bryan Clinton listed Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado as top candidates to join the Big 12.

Of ASU, he wrote: "I’m going to take the Sun Devils here for a lot of the same reasons that I took Utah. Adding ASU gives Arizona a proper boarding partner and it adds another upper echelon athletic program to the conference. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see a night game in Tempe, Arizona in October? The football program is in a bit of turmoil right now with the NCAA investigation, which almost convinced me to leave them off this list, but adding the national runner-ups in Golf and a Top 10 softball program gives them the nod."

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Survey: ASU, Arizona favorites among favorites to join Big 12

The Athletic recently published a survey of fans in the Big 12 conference regarding conference expansion. It included ASU and Arizona as options.

Arizona State (62.5%) and Arizona (61.9%) received the most votes as potential expansion candidates, ahead of Memphis (45.9%), Boise State (30.9%), SMU (29.8%) and Colorado State (21%) in the site's poll.

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Sooners Wire: Pac-12 schools, SMU among teams Big 12 should target

The site ranked Oregon as the No. 1 team the conference should consider adding in expansion, with Washington No. 2, Utah No. 3, Colorado No. 4,  ASU No. 5 and Arizona No. 6. SMU was ranked No. 7.

Of Oregon, John Williams wrote: "After the latest rounds of realignment, there isn’t a more valuable brand available than the Oregon Ducks. It may be a pipe dream for the Big 12 since the Big Ten potentially has its sights set on the Ducks. However, with maneuvering involving Notre Dame, Oregon may not want to wait on what the Big Ten might do with the Fighting Irish. The Irish would like to remain independent but that will not stop the Big Ten from pursuing. Oregon’s success on the gridiron combined with its backing from Nike founder Phil Knight provides significant value to whichever conference makes the most attractive duck call."

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Hawkeyes Wire: Notre Dame, Pac-12 schools, Boise State top expansion options for Big 12

Jacob Keppen included Notre Dame, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, Boise State, Memphis  and SMU among the teams the Big 12 should target in expansion.

Of Stanford, he wrote: "How could anyone forget about Stanford? From a pure academic standpoint, bringing in one of the most prestigious universities in the world is always a smart choice. Stanford would be a great addition to Big 12 baseball, and they’ve had good football teams in the past."

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College Football News: UTSA, Memphis, East Carolina, Colorado State, USF top Group of 5 expansion options for Big 12

Pete Fiutak wrote of USF: "It’s INSANE that the Big 12 hasn’t cleaned this up. If you’re going to add UCF, you have to get USF – you own I-4 AND you have the Tampa and Orlando markets. Combine all that with the gigantic enrollments at the two schools, and … the ACC has to give this some thought, too."

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Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Big 12 expansion rankings: Best fits in college conference realignment