After the NCAA passed a rule that allows conferences to have a championship game with only 10 teams, the Big 12 doesn't need to expand anymore to get a championship game. However, Oklahoma president David Boren said he still wants the conference to expand.
The Big 12 is disadvantaged when compared to the other conferences in three ways. We do not have at least twelve members, we do not have a conference network, and we do not have a championship game. I think that all three of these disadvantages need to be addressed at the same time. Addressing only one without addressing all three will not be adequate to improve the strength of the conference.
Boren also said he wants the Big 12 to fold the Longhorn Network and start a conference-wide network. So with that in mind, the Big 12 might still be looking for expansion candidates, as the long expansion saga continues. Longtime Oklahoma reporter Dave Sittler posted this list of his perceived Big 12 favorites.
Big 12's apparent current pecking order: Cincy, UConn, Houston, UCF, USF, Memphis, Tulane, BYU. Even though UConn seems closer to Iceland.— Dave Sittler (@DaveSittler) January 15, 2016
Wait ... UConn? The Huskies don't have much of any football history. Although they made a bowl game and beat Houston this year, they would have been the second-worst team in the Big 12 this year, according to the S&P+ ratings, ahead of only hapless Kansas. UConn is also located far outside the Big 12 geographic footprint — even farther than the latest addition, West Virginia.
However, this is the second time UConn has been linked to the Big 12 in the last few weeks. From SI's Pete Thamel:
UConn came up in a surprising number of conversations considering its geography, lack of relevant football history and void of local recruiting. UConn would be attractive in a scenario in which the league adds a cable network, as it theoretically could bring a lot of eyeballs in the Northeast.
UConn makes sense from a TV network perspective, as New York is the top TV market in the country. The Big Ten added Rutgers for that market, and it made the conference a boatload of money.
It's clear that the president of one of the most influential schools in the Big 12 has prioritized making a network, so that could be very good news for UConn to be able to jump into a power conference. If TV ends up being the biggest factor, the Huskies are in great shape.