Best of the rest
There’s so many Group of Five candidates to choose from in this part of the country that it makes it difficult to narrow down the decision to just five programs. But there are a handful of schools that make more sense than the rest of the field.
Colorado State Rams (Mountain West)
First and foremost, the Big 12 would be smart to not overlook the Mountain West. While the PAC-12 would likely be the main Power Five conference to draw from the Mountain West if it were ever necessary, the Big 12 has some regional schools that would make a lot of sense to consider. The Colorado State Rams are one of the more consistent programs and are one of the bigger rivals of the University of Colorado.
Utah State Aggies (Mountain West)
At this point, the Utah State Aggies would be a worse selection than Colorado State out of the Mountain West to add to the Big 12. But if the Big 12 were to split back up into north and south divisions, then Utah State would be more logical. There is also the tie between Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells and his former program.
Cincinnati Bearcats (American Athletic Conference)
While the Mountain West could potentially be held in the light of the best Group of Five conference in the nation this season, the American Athletic Conference would have the most depth to draw from. A solid school in basketball and football would encompass the Cincinnati Bearcats, who would also provide a regional rival for the West Virginia Mountaineers in all sports.
North Dakota State Bison (FCS)
If the Big 12 were to take a big leap and try and draw a team out from the FCS ranks, it would make the most sense to go for the dominant North Dakota State Bison. Just like one other team on this list of best of the rest, North Dakota State sent a current first-year head coach to the Big 12 ranks with Chris Klieman heading up the Kansas State Wildcats.