3. UCF Knights
Current Conference: American Athletic Conference
Location: Orlando, FL
If the Big 12 were to annex the UCF Knights, the footprint of the conference would be stretched way across the country. Neither West Virginia nor any teams out of the state of Texas are really close to Central Florida, which would make this a difficult move geographically. But adding UCF could also bring up the idea of bringing the South Florida Bulls into the mix too.
What makes UCF so appealing is the long-term commitment that this athletic department is making to the success of the football program. This looks to be a team that will have sustained success and could go pretty far under head coach Josh Huepel. The departure of former head coach (now with Nebraska) Scott Frost doesn’t look to be having a huge impact at the moment.
Another nice factor that the Big 12 would get if they hypothetically added UCF even ahead of the 2020 season would be the return of quarterback McKenzie Milton. That would surely get UCF’s debut in the Big 12 off to a hot start. UCF would also bring a strong fan base and a large television market to the table for the Big 12.
Above all else, what should draw the Big 12 to wanting to bring UCF in is the idea of establishing a recruiting pipeline in the state of Florida. With the ACC slipping up right now, beside the Clemson Tigers, the Big 12 could jump in and snag some of those underrated three and four-star recruits other Power Five schools might be missing on regionally.