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Big 12 watch: Dennis Dodd ranks BYU No. 1; Academics do matter in expansion talk

BYU celebrates a touchdown during a football game against Cincinnati at the LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo Friday, Oct. 16, 2015.
BYU celebrates a touchdown during a football game against Cincinnati at the LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo Friday, Oct. 16, 2015.
Kristin Murphy,

While discussing the comings and goings in Big 12 expansion, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports ranked his top 10 candidates. BYU landed at the No. 1 spot, because, as he puts it, "Already looks like a Power Five team."

He also lists five things to consider as expansion plays out, mentioning BYU on several occasions.

In talking about the TV contract angle, he writes, "If you're counting: In the last five years, that's two Group of Five schools (TCU, Utah) in addition to Rutgers being assured major-conference status. The Scarlet Knights went to exactly one bowl in the first 136 years of their history."

"Now the likes of Houston, Cincinnati and BYU don't deserve a shot? That's being a bit hypocritical."

He also talks about the BYU Honor Code as an issue. He starts out by saying, "No matter what happens to BYU in expansion, it's fair to assume church leaders aren't going to change the school's honor code to accommodate the Big 12."

Dodd goes on to quote former BYU athletic director Vale Hale from his appearance on ESPN, where he said, "That's the way it's always been and I don't see BYU changing that policy at all in the future. If it means that it precludes them from participating in another conference or even having an athletic program, I think BYU would probably say, 'So be it.'"

Jake Trotter of ESPN discussed the academic side of Big 12 expansion. He writes, "Indeed, ever since schools began associating for athletic purposes, academics have played a part."

He continues, "It's not difficult to understand why academics this time around could especially play a key part in the event the Big 12 elects to expand.

"The Big 12's academic reputation was gutted when Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri all left the conference from 2010 to 2012. All four were American Association of Universities members at the time. As a result, the Big 12 has just three American Association of Universities members remaining in Texas, Kansas and Iowa State."

While bringing up how some of the candidates stack up in the classroom, he mentions BYU, saying, "U.S. News & World Report ranks another Big 12 expansion candidate, Brigham Young, as the No. 66 national university, just behind Georgia and just ahead of Texas A&M."

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.