The hubbub surrounding Big 12 expansion has died down now that the season is only days away. Last we left the conference, they not only decided they were going to entertain expanding, but they build up an impressively long list of expansion candidates. The list even included teams that had no idea they were being considered, but that’s in the past now that the conference has whittled its list of candidate schools down to "six or eight" schools, according to CBS4’s Jim Benemann.
BREAKING : CBS4 has learned CSU has made the first "cut" as the Big 12 Conference mulls expansion. 18 interested schools now whittled to 6-8— jim benemann (@jimbcbs4) August 31, 2016
First, we know some of the schools that did not make the cut. East Carolina, despite their enthusiastic efforts, will not be joining the Big 12, and neither will UNLV, New Mexico, or San Diego State.
So, which six or eight teams made the cut? Well, it started at actually 11 teams, and now we're now at either 12 or 13, according to ESPN'S Brett McMurphy.
Big 12 cuts expansion list to at least 12: AF, BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, CSU, UConn, UH, Rice, USF, SMU, Temple & Tulane sources told @ESPN— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 1, 2016
From Benemann’s story, we have word that both Colorado State has made it, but also that Air Force is still alive as a possible football-only option. Temple is reportedly still talking to the Big 12, and from this story we also hear that Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, UConn, USF, UCF, and "two other American Athletic Conference schools" are still in it. Temple would obviously be one of those two schools, and since East Carolina is no longer in the running, it seems the other American school still shooting for the Big 12 is SMU. Throw in BYU, which has been rumored to the Big 12 since the beginning, and Tulane and Rice from Brett McMurphy's tweet above, and there you have it.
Eight of the ten schools in the Big 12 would need to approve the addition of a new member, so with so many teams still left in the field, it’s hard to imagine there isn’t another cutdown coming to thin out the field of candidates. We conducted our own poll of Big 12 blogs here at SB Nation, and none of the expansion candidates were able to get the consensus necessary for being added in real life. If you actually look at what the Big 12 is looking for in an expansion candidate, BYU, Cincinnati, and UConn each stand out, but Houston has Texas’ backing.
Or, they could just pick two teams and be done with it.
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