Big 12 expansion: FSU, Clemson, Louisville ID'd as potential candidates

Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

The Big 12 has targeted the Florida State Seminoles, Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals as potential candidates to expand and realign into their conference.

The Big 12 has left the door open to expansion. The conference has identified several potential future candidates for new teams, according to Jeremy Fowler, including the Florida St. Seminoles, Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals.

With Big 12 expansion, it could all depend on what fellow big conferences like the Big Ten and the ACC end up doing. The calculus of the Big 12 seems to be that the Big Ten will look at schools like Virginia, North Carolina, Pitt and Duke, or universities that are already members of the AAU. Then the SEC will take a look at schools not currently in their geographical footprint, like from the states of Virginia or North Carolina. That leaves the Big 12 with three legitimate candidates that neither team is chasing in Florida State, Louisville and Clemson.

Despite its current name, the conference currently sits at 10 members. With the recent departure of Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC and Colorado to the Pac-12, the conference had to scramble to get TCU to avoid falling below double digits.

Although the conference isn't in hurry-up mode to expand, the Big 12 does have some limitations in their current alignment. Right now the NCAA has a 12-team requirement for a conference championship game, depriving the conference of a huge revenue-booster the final week of the season. The Big 12 seems pleased with its round robin format, but a conference championship would almost certainly be more lucrative for the conference. So there is an impetus to get back to twelve teams to put themselves on a level playing field with the rest of the big conference powers.

The Big 12 recently structured an alliance with a 14 team ACC that should allow both conferences to boost their scheduling profile. Now it appears the ACC plays into the Big 12's future plans, one way or the other.

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