Ranking Big 12 expansion candidates by ... whatever, just pick 2 and get it over with by Peter Berkes

Photo: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 can't stop talking about expansion. We've been making jokes about this since the last round of realignment was popping back in 2010, and we're still here waiting for the Big 12 to do something.

It hired a research firm to say the conference would have a very slightly better chance to make the Playoff with 12 teams and a title game, which has spurred it to ... well, keep talking and not actually do anything yet.

Here was the situation in May:

"Gentlemen, our conference as currently constituted is untenable. Anyway, bye."

What's changed since then? The Big 12 said it'll probably add two or four teams, which was followed by an ESPN report that adding zero is still an option, so lots of stuff has changed.

The Big 12 might be dragging its feet as Texas and Oklahoma haggle, but I'm not.

Here are some schools the Big 12 could add that would mean the end of talking about the Big 12 adding teams, ranked in whatever order.

Please just pick several of them quickly, Big 12.

1. Cincinnati

Cool, this makes sense, helps out West Virginia by giving it another Eastern partner, and would mean one fewer Big 12 spot to wonder about.

2. Houston

It's already in Texas and already good at football. Also, it had Paul Wall, Slim Thug, and a host of other Houston luminaries welcoming new players on Signing Day. Adding UH would mean having one fewer slot to fill.

Done.

...

Oh, I should probably keep going, even though I just solved the Big 12's problems in a matter of a few sentences. Okay.

3. BYU

We've been hearing about this for years. Either get on with it or pick another team instead.

4. Memphis

Future Memphis mayor Tony Allen played for Oklahoma State, so the city has an in with the Big 12. It's kismet, and choosing the Tigers in addition to another school would end all this.

5. UConn

Pretty far away from everything else in the conference, but that's never stopped realignment schemes before. The Huskies play defense, which is odd, but they play football, which means their addition could end the Big 12's realignment quest.

6. Colorado State

They're close-ish to the rest of the conference. That's fine, let's just make this happen in order to cease the discussion.

6. SMU

Another Texas team. Great. Cheap travel, but more importantly, a reprieve from talking about Big 12 expansion.

7. Tulane

Everyone loves going to New Orleans. This is perfect and requires no additional justification.

8. Boise State or North Dakota State or UCF or USF or Tulsa or Northern Illinois or any of these dozens of teams or whoever

what do you want

just get this over with.

9. Texas State

Ed "Straight Arrow" Gennaro will have the boys ready to rock, I'm sure. TXST has all the accreditation required to be the 11th or 12th or 13th or 14th or 15th or 16th university in your conference, which would let everyone stop worrying about this.

10. Missouri

Sure. Fine. Bring them back. Or Nebraska or Colorado. Whatever. Please just pick two or more teams, Big 12. We're tired.

11. Wichita State

They don't even have a football team. Give the Shockers a football team, Big 12, and then add it to your conference. I just want this to stop.

12. Everyone

If that's what it takes to finish this.