3 Big 12 football schools that the PAC-12 should target for expansion

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Mike Gundy, Big 12 Football Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With the topic of conference expansion taking center stage once again, the Big 12 football conference finds itself in a precarious situation. On one hand, it actually seems like the Big 12 could do a pretty good job staving off any major detrimental impact from the likes of the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners leaving for the SEC.

Orignially, it looked as if the Longhorns and Sooners leaving for the SEC could be a shot to the heart for the Big 12 over the long term. But the Big 12 took quick action in response to the news last summer that Texas and Oklahoma would be bolting for the SEC.

The Big 12 responded to the Texas and OU news by adding the Houston Cougars, UCF Knights, BYU Cougars, and Cincinnati Bearcats to the conference by 2023.

Yet, there is some chatter coming about again about conference expansion that could’ve surfaced elsewhere. This included any potential conference expansion ideas from the PAC-12.

A conversation that took place this week between Paul Finebaum and Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News examined past attempts at PAC-12 expansion, and why any prospective efforts didn’t work out in the end.

Since some of the schools mentioned in this conversation are in the Big 12, it’s worth taking a look back at any potential candidates remaining for the PAC-12 to target here if they did expand to 16 teams.

Here’s a look at three Big 12 schools that the PAC-12 would hypothetically be wise to add if they expanded to 16 in the near future.


One of the big reasons cited as to why the PAC-12 didn’t add any schools out of the Big 12 in the last two rounds of conference expansion was the apparent lack of academic standards. But that would not be a valid excuse for the PAC-12 if they looked at adding a school out of the Big 12 such as the Baylor Bears.

Baylor does present a pretty compelling case if the Big 12 was to fold and the PAC-12 was looking to expand to 16 teams. Academically, Baylor is one of the more upstanding schools in the Big 12. And the athletic investment continues to be strong from the university in the last decade or so.

Another likely reason for the PAC-12 passing on any idea of kicking the tires to add Baylor to the mix was an overall lack of athletic competitiveness. Yet, that also isn’t a valid argument now for the PAC-12 considering the competitiveness of Baylor football and basketball on the national scene now. Baylor football is coming off a Big 12 Title last season and basketball won the 2021 National Championship.

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