I want the Big 12 to expand.
I just wanted to get that out of the way now. I want 12 teams and a championship game again. Right now the likelihood of that happening seems to be at its strongest. With plenty of good schools looking to take that next step and join a Power Five conference, the opportunity for mutual benefit is there.
There have been, and will be, hundreds of posts written about expansion throughout the year, but most of them focus on one question: Who are we going to add to the conference? The top candidates we've all seen mentioned include BYU, Cincinnati, Memphis, UConn, Houston, and the two Florida schools, UCF and USF. I personally want Cincinnati and Memphis, but that's not the point of this post. (I just moved to Little Rock, AR so the idea of getting to drive two hours to Memphis to catch an OSU game excites me.)
The thing I haven't seen talked about though, is once we add these teams, how would the divisions be divided?
Say, for hypothetical purposes, the conference adds BYU and Cincinnati. Then, if they divided it horizontally, the conference would probably look something like this:
The South Division would heavily outweigh the power of its Northern counterpart, as the division title would most likely come down to West Virginia or BYU (or maybe even Kansas State). The South would be way more competitive, as this is where most of the conference's heavyweights lie. Would this be fair to the Northern teams? A TCU could hypothetically finish the season 7-2 in conference play, yet not be crowned division champion. Meanwhile, in the same hypothetical situation, a West Virginia could win the Northern title with a 6-3 conference record.
Many people bring up this issue when speaking on why the conference should not expand. Fox Sports 1 analyst Clay Travis recently wrote a thought-provoking piece on why conference expansion should not even be considered. See his thoughts here:
He and I agree on one point. The conference will likely want to divide the teams similar to the previous Big 12; South with OU, OSU and the four Texas teams, and then the North with everybody else. That is a terrible idea.
So here is my crazy proposal: Split the South teams up between the divisions and try to create a balance of power. Put a Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas team in the North, and the others in the South.
Sticking with BYU and Cincinnati in this scenario, here's how it could look.
This way everyone plays someone from Texas every year which will help with recruiting. It helps to balance out the travel for teams. It puts are at least two of the "power teams" in the conference in the north with TCU and OSU. To make sure old rivalries still exist, play a rivalry game the second to last week of the regular season:
OU v OSU, TCU v Texas, BYU v Baylor, WVU v UC, KU v KSU, and TTU v KU.
Play the second to last week of the regular season so no one sees each other two weeks in a row *IF the rivals meet in the championship game.
Now I realize this scenario isn't perfect (it actually works much better with Cincinnati and Memphis), but bringing in two new teams and sticking them into the North will create two divisions that are less balanced than more unbalanced they were before the Big 12 fell apart.
So let me hear your thoughts on this. Would you keep the old divisions? Or how would you divide them into new ones?