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Could the Big 12 and BYU become bigger?

With conference expansion rising to the top of summer college sports discussions, BYU’s administration has to believe it is nicely situated with the impending entrance into the Big 12. The Cougars could soon be joined by some Pac-12 schools, be it Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado or Utah. Or, the new additions could be Oregon and Washington.

Cougar Insider predictions

Question of the week: Predict if the Big 12 will poach two to four schools from the Pac-12 or go for absorbing the faltering league. (Jay Drew is on vacation this week and Dave McCann agreed to post his thoughts.)

Dave McCann: With uncertainty as the only certainty in college football, I don’t see a way the Pac-12 can survive without USC and UCLA. There are no additions they could make to come close to offsetting USC, which will torpedo any lucrative television contract the league was seeking.

As a result, I think the Big 12 will add four more teams to get to 16 to keep pace with the Big Ten, ACC and SEC. The big question is which four? 

Oregon and Washington are linked to Big Ten rumors, although the Big Ten says it’s not looking to expand further while they wait to see what Notre Dame is going to do.

The safe four for the Big 12 would be Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado. I say “safe” because you never know what Oregon’s going to do. It is the odd man out. 

The Pac-12 has long been considered a two football team conference with USC and Oregon. Utah might disagree, but on a national perception scale, the Utes aren’t even close to those two.

If the Big 12 takes Oregon, who is to say that it won’t jump to the Big Ten in a year or two? With USC bolting, Oregon has to feel like the team that is being left behind, so I think it remains a wild card moving forward.

That said, anything is possible, including the complete demise of the Pac-12. Who would have thought that a week ago?

The upside to all of this is despite the movement, the interest in college football has never been greater. Same for the NFL. We love our football and no matter how it all looks when the dust settles, the games will go on, but tradition on the field will only continue when it’s convenient.

Off the field, it’s all business.

Utah reportedly being targeted by the Big 12; high-ranking source says Utah is ‘strongly aligned with Pac-12 leadership and league members’
Reports: Pac-12 and ACC discussing ‘loose partnership’

Dick Harmon: I predict the Big 12 is being proactive and will look to at least two and likely four schools, most likely from the Pac-12.

The way college football is trending, the P5 conferences will be morphed into at least two super conferences, possibly three. It will be the P2 or P3 with an expanded national championship playoff.

This is all driven by TV money.

I don’t think the Big 12, SEC or Big Ten will absorb the Pac-12 because there are too many programs that would be more of a drain than a productive addition. You see this already in the Big Ten and SEC with Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, and the Pac-12 has its Oregon State and Washington State.

Cal and Stanford are prestigious schools but are set in areas where football attendance and interest is cratering. 

In fact, the entire state of California is losing both football fans and its population. I jokingly say with some merit that in 20 years, soccer might be the most popular sport in that state. 

With the Big Ten taking UCLA and USC, that league is buying a TV market because both schools have been on a declining football curve for years.

I think the Pac-12 jewels are Oregon and Washington, but the Big 12 will put them on a pivotal “decision challenge” by moving on Arizona and Arizona State to build a western presence with BYU and Texas Tech.

If Oregon and Washington do not join with a strong commitment and are tenderly joining with an eye on the Big Ten, then the Big 12 will go after Utah and Colorado as a package with the Arizona schools.

The ASU/UA/U of U/CU addition with BYU makes sense.

If the Big 12 takes any more schools in the West, it might miss out on poaching ACC teams that might be available if that league crumbles. The Big 12 is geographically set up to be the third super conference because expansion is centrally located in the nation’s growing midlands and Southwest.

I don’t think the Big Ten is interested in any schools in the Pac-12 other than Oregon and Washington first, and even then, there is no evidence that is the case (Oregon/Washington) at this early stage of expanding conference talk.

The numbers don’t add up financially. The bottom line is the Pac-12 cannot survive without UCLA and USC and is destined for more declining payouts. 

Cougar tales

Kalani Sitake’s football staff is one of just five programs in major college football that return all 10 full-time coaches. Here is my column explaining some factors why this is the case.

Lee Cummard made his way on to the new women’s basketball coaching staff. Jeff Call details how that happened in this piece.

From the archives

What is Jaren Hall really like? BYU coaches, teammates and Hall himself deliver the goods on ‘a really good guy’
How BYU football will compete with out-of-control NIL chaos

From the Twitterverse

Extra points

Zach Wilson’s brother Josh in crash (Deseret News)

Getting familiar with BYU recruiting (Deseret News)

How BYU hoops roster is shaping up (KSL Sports)

Priority on defense: Getting off the field (Daily Herald)


Comments from Deseret News readers

I’ve watched the Hall brothers when they played ball with my grandsons and then at Maple Mountain HS. Jaren had the poise and skills as a high school QB and the personality that made others comfortable. He’s well-grounded — Kalin didn’t stand for nonsense and he even held out a son from being on a team if he didn’t feel he would be well-coached. But the kids didn’t let that go to their heads. Kalin is a solid man and a dedicated father. A faithful guy as well.

Fame and fortune that come Jaren’s way will be earned and deserved. A very good poster QB for BYU.

View Comments

— RockonAmerica

BYU came out with a program to pay every tuition for every athlete right from the start.

Beyond that some have other deals. Granted, Provo isn’t one of those cities where you’ll get the eye-popping figures.

The article addresses mostly incoming freshman, and when you look at the ranking system a lot of them are a bust. So the notion of paying them is not really the smartest thing because it often does not work out.

Moreover the price paid for something defines the value of that item — it’s rumored that Arch Manning had an NIL deal of $8,000,000, clearly he is going to get a ton of attention — but does that attention make him a great QB or was he worth it? Schools have always had to deal with that on star rankings, the higher star players get the most attention, BYU is unique in that many of the top performers were not highly sought after coming into BYU.

BYU isn’t going to be able to match the Texas recruiting NIL deals, not by a long shot, so those players aren’t coming to BYU, they never were anyway. Better to focus on the best we can get with an eye on improvement as well as transfer portal players.

— JoshfromLondon

Up next

Aug. 13 | 5 p.m. | Soccer | vs. North Carolina | @Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Aug. 15 | 8 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Cal State Fullerton | @Fullerton, California

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