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What can BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF bring to the Big 12?

All four schools have reportedly submitted applications to join the Power Five league. How do BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF compare to each other?

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scores on UCF Knights defensive back Jon Powell.
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scores on UCF Knights defensive back Jon Powell (34) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The next step in the Big 12 Conference moving forward with expansion has reportedly taken place.

BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF have formally submitted applications to join the Big 12, Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reported Wednesday night. The Cincinnati Enquirer and UCFSports.com were the first to report the news on Cincinnati and UCF, respectively.

There is a scheduled call for Big 12 presidents on Friday morning where they will formally vote the four programs into the league, Yahoo Sports! Pete Thamel reported.

The Athletic reported that the “target date” for the four schools to join the Power Five conference is 2023.

Just how competitive could the four schools be in the Big 12 if the invitation ultimately comes?

Here’s a look at some recent history for each institution, why they could appeal to the Big 12 and how they stack against each other:


BYU

Football

  • Stadium: LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470 capacity)
  • 2019 average home attendance: 59,547 (No. 22 nationally, per NCAA)
  • TV market: Salt Lake City, No. 30 in U.S. (per Nielsen DMA rankings)

In the past 10 seasons —

  • Record: 81-48
  • Bowl record: 5-4
  • Years ranked in final Associated Press poll: 1 (2020, No. 11)
  • Record vs. Power Five teams: 17-24
  • Conference titles: None (independent)
  • Avg. recruiting rank (per 247 Sports): 69.5

What others have said about BYU’s Big 12 appeal: “Between 2015 and ’19, the median audience Big 12 teams (minus games involving Texas and Oklahoma) drew for 36 games broadcast on ABC, Fox or ESPN was 1.786 million viewers. BYU’s numbers were comparable; the Cougars’ median audience in 16 games broadcast on those channels was 1.64 million.” — The Athletic’s Max Olson and Andy Staples

Men’s basketball

In the past 10 seasons —

  • Record: 233-105
  • NCAA Tournament appearances: 4 (1-4 record)
  • Years ranked in final Associated Press poll: 2 (2020-21, No. 23; 2019-20, No. 18)
  • Conference titles: None

Athletic programs overall

BYU finished the 2020-21 season No. 17 in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings, which ranks schools’ overall athletic departments. That included the BYU women’s cross country team winning a national championship. It’s the Cougars’ highest finish since 2001-02 and third-best in school history, and would be the best among the new 12-team Big 12, just ahead of Oklahoma State at No. 18.


Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell speaks with quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) prior to an NCAA college football game against Miami (Ohio), Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Cincinnati.
Jeff Dean, Associated Press

Cincinnati

Football

  • Stadium: Nippert Stadium (40,000 capacity)
  • 2019 average home attendance: 35,984
  • TV market: Cincinnati, No. 37 in U.S.

In the past 10 seasons —

  • Record: 84-42
  • Bowl record: 4-4 (lost in Peach Bowl in 2020)
  • Years ranked in final Associated Press poll: 4 (2020, No. 8; 2019, No. 21; 2018, No. 24; 2011, No. 25)
  • Record vs. Power Five teams: 11-8
  • Conference titles: 4 (2019 and 2014, American Athletic Conference, 2012 and 2011 Big East)
  • Avg. recruiting rank: 58.2

What others have said about Cincinnati’s Big 12 appeal: “What the Bearcats bring to the table: a top 10 ranking right now, coming off a New Year’s Six bowl berth last season, and a 32–6 record over their last 38 games. It helps that Cincinnati has retained coach Luke Fickell despite interest from multiple Power 5 programs. But it goes beyond the current coach — Big 12 sources noted that recent success with multiple coaches was an attractive component for all expansion candidates, indicating both institutional commitment and infrastructure.” — Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde

Men’s basketball

In the past 10 seasons —

  • Record: 241-91
  • NCAA Tournament appearances: 8 (5-8 record, reached Sweet Sixteen in 2011-12)
  • Years ranked in final Associated Press poll: 4 (2018-19, No. 22; 2017-18, No. 6; 2016-17, No. 18; 2013-14, No. 15)
  • Conference titles: 2019-20, 2017-18, 2013-14 regular season; 2018-19, 2017-18 conference tournament

Athletic programs overall

Cincinnati finished No. 143 in the 2020-21 Learfield standings, which would be last among the 12 teams involved in a new Big 12.


Houston guard Marcus Sasser (0) and Houston forward Reggie Chaney (32) react to a play against Oregon State during the second half of an Elite 8 game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Indianapolis.
Michael Conroy, Associated Press

Houston

Football

  • Stadium: TDECU Stadium (40,000 capacity)
  • 2019 average home attendance: 25,518
  • TV market: Houston, No. 8 in U.S.

In the past 10 seasons —

  • Record: 78-46
  • Bowl record: 3-5 (won Peach Bowl in 2015)
  • Years ranked in final Associated Press poll: 2 (2015, No. 8; 2011, No. 18)
  • Record vs. Power Five teams: 10-6
  • Conference titles: 1 (2015, American Athletic Conference)
  • Avg. recruiting rank: 68.3

What others have said about Houston’s Big 12 appeal: “Houston’s expansive recruiting pipeline is an attractive sell in the nation’s fourth-largest city. With the Cougars’ competitive football team and rising basketball program, which just went to the Final Four, Houston adds instant value and credibility to a league that will sorely need it once the top dogs go to the SEC.” — USA Today’s Scooby Axson

Men’s basketball

In the past 10 seasons —

  • Record: 219-108
  • NCAA Tournament appearances: 3 (7-3 record, reached Final Four in 2020-21, reached Sweet Sixteen in 2018-19)
  • Years ranked in final Associated Press poll: 4 (2020-21, No. 6; 2019-20, No. 22; 2018-19, No. 11; 2017-18, No. 21)
  • Conference titles: 2019-20, 2018-19 regular season; 2020-21 conference tournament

Athletic programs overall

Houston finished No. 76 in the 2020-21 Learfield standings, six spots ahead of Kansas, who was second-to-last among Big 12 schools last year.


Boise State running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio (4) is tackled by Central Florida defensive back Quadric Bullard (37), left, and linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste (11), right, after rushing for yardage during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.
Phelan M. Ebenhack, Associated Press

UCF

Football

  • Stadium: Bounce House (44,206 capacity)
  • 2019 average home attendance: 43,788
  • TV market: Orlando, No. 18 in U.S.

In the past 10 seasons —

  • Record: 83-43 (including 13-0 in 2017)
  • Bowl record: 4-4 (lost in Fiesta Bowl in 2018, won Peach Bowl in 2017, won Fiesta Bowl in 2013)
  • Years ranked in final Associated Press poll: 4 (2019, No. 24; 2018, No. 11; 2017, No. 6; 2013, No. 10)
  • Record vs. Power Five teams: 8-12
  • Conference titles: 4 (2018, 2017, 2014 and 2013, American Athletic Conference)
  • Avg. recruiting rank: 68.9

What others have said about UCF’s Big 12 appeal: “UCF is one of the largest universities in the nation, which means an increasing alumni base that could produce increasing TV audiences and increasing athletic donations. Three different coaches have won 10 or more games in the last decade, and the hiring of Gus Malzahn could well produce a fourth. UCF’s undefeated 2017 team finished 6th in the AP poll. Other Big 12 members will be happy to have an increased recruiting visibility in Florida.” — Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde

Men’s basketball

In the past 10 seasons —

  • Record: 194-138
  • NCAA Tournament appearances: 1 (1-1 record)
  • Years ranked in final Associated Press poll: None
  • Conference titles: None

Athletic programs overall

UCF finished No. 57 in the 2020-21 Learfield standings, which would rank seventh in a new 12-team Big 12.