For a minute, the Big 12 was going to crumble after the defections of the last couple of seasons. Then they were going to expand bigger than ever. Eventually they settled on a 10-team format (for now) that included TCU and West Virginia for the 2012-13 season and even that has been tenuous with WVU and the Big East working out their quarrels.
But the stage is set for Big 12 expansion. It only makes sense for the conference to vie for more power on the national stage and their expansion to the East Coast with the Mountaineers stretches them already. They are now ready to add some more brands, perhaps more than any conference at this point, so it’s reasonable to wonder who else could be added. Names like Cincinnati and Louisville are usually brought up, but the BYU Cougars were also rumored for some time.
However, Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman says that the attitude needs to be right before the two parties sign off:
The question of BYU’s seriousness is interesting. I was a big proponent of BYU last summer, but then I heard from all kinds of BYU people about how pleased the Cougars are with independence and how they wouldn’t join the Big 12 unless the terms were just right. I think that makes BYU a longshot. I think the Big 12 enjoyed the jubilation we saw in Fort Worth and Morgantown over TCU and West Virginia joining the conference. I don’t think the Big 12 wants someone who is lukewarm about the conference.
Tramel is right about the “lukewarm” response. Some seemed quite excited by the move at the time, but it had enough detractors as well. However, instant emotion is always going to fade and the conference and the school both need to consider the long-term effects and go with it without worrying about the current morale of the boosters and/or fan base.
After all, a conference win or heated game or two will add new intrigue and rivals along the way and draw them back again. If not that, then the millions of dollars and new access to fans and recruits should take care of the isue.