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Big 12 watch: Why UConn and BYU are the best options, according to columnist

BYU's linebacker Alani Fua (5), left, and defensive back Dallin Leavitt (2) tackle UConn running back Max DeLorenzo (44) during a football game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014.
BYU's linebacker Alani Fua (5), left, and defensive back Dallin Leavitt (2) tackle UConn running back Max DeLorenzo (44) during a football game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

There wasn't much news on Big 12 expansion over the weekend, as the conference tries to figure out who should join the ranks or if it should expand at all.

The one voice focused on who should be added was Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman who took a look at why UConn and BYU are the best candidates.

He writes, "But if the Big 12 expands — a big if; my guess remains that the league stays at 10 — it should bite the geography bullet. The Big 12's two best options are BYU and UConn."

While talking about how the schools fit in academically, he says, "You are known by the company you keep. Academically, Connecticut and BYU are ahead of the other candidates. For what it's worth, U.S. News & World Report's 2015 rankings of American universities has Texas 52nd, UConn 57th and BYU 66th."

He goes on to break down the geography for both schools with some drastic ideas on how to fit in the Big 12 because of it.

"UConn and BYU should be encouraged to drop some of the sports that require round-robin schedules. Sports like baseball, softball, women's volleyball and women's soccer conduct weekly conference competition. Sports like tennis, golf, track and swimming don't.

The fewer round-robin sports that BYU and UConn would bring into the Big 12, the better. That's harsh. That's hardball. But that's the reality. Texas Tech or OSU don't want to send their softball team or soccer team to New England on a regular basis."

He closes by saying, "the Big 12 doesn't need just football prowess. It needs stability, better financial security and unity. It needs like-minded members who want to be together. If the Big 12 expands, BYU and Connecticut are the candidates that come closest to giving the league what it needs."

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