Resetting the board and the conversation for the best Big 12 football schools for expansion could happen if this conference misses the CFP this season.
The idea of expanding the Big 12 football conference from 10 to 12 or even 14 teams could resurface if there’s no representative in the College Football Playoff this season.
The original idea behind the Big 12 expansion conversation was the departure of four key teams from the conference in the early 2010’s. By the start of the 2012 college football season, the Big 12 was down to 10 teams for good like they still have today. Those four teams that were lost included the Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten), Colorado Buffaloes (PAC-12), Mizzou Tigers (SEC), and the Texas A&M Aggies (SEC).
Moves by Nebraska and Colorado to bolt and join the Big Ten and PAC-12 respectively made more sense than Texas A&M and Mizzou going to the SEC. Mizzou is neither in deep south, nor the east, and Texas A&M left the Lone Star Showdown to abandonment.
Nebraska is currently competing in the Big Ten West and Colorado in the PAC-12 South. Mizzou is in the SEC East and Texas A&M is in the SEC West. Rival Texas A&M hasn’t found much success in the SEC West since they left the Big 12. But Mizzou did claim back-to-back SEC East crowns in 2013 and 2014, so that was pretty impressive.
However, if the Week 9 losses for three of the top four teams in the Big 12 prevents any team from this conference getting into the College Football Playoff this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if the expansion conversation was rehashed in a big way next year.
Here’s a look into the five best expansion candidates at this point for the Big 12 if it were to bring that conversation back up thanks to the lapsing of the Texas Longhorns football program, Oklahoma Sooners, and Iowa State Cyclones last weekend.