The Big 12 is reportedly close to deciding whether to expand beyond 10 teams.
Many schools looking for membership in a Power 5 conference are hoping to take advantage, and some have sent promotional materials to Big 12 institutions. Memphis sent a 42-page publication with everything from financials to Justin Timberlake quotes, and the Tigers could have financial support by Memphis-based FedEx. Cincinnati sent two promotional videos. Houston's given a Big 12 president a tour.
The Mountain West Conference's Colorado State has also created materials to pitch its candidacy, which SB Nation obtained via multiple open records requests. Let's take a closer look at a full, 12-page document.
Like Cincinnati and Memphis, Colorado State highlighted its infrastructure investments, including its recently approved, 41,200-seat football stadium. The other themes here, from Colorado State's research history to presence in a growing metro area, make regular appearances throughout.
It would appear that this page was produced before last year's 7-6 football season, as it draws heavily on Garrett Grayson's campaign, naming him a 'Heisman Trophy aspirant" after the Rams won 10 games.
It's interesting that Colorado State decided to highlight its volleyball program before it mentioned basketball. CSU also saw fit to point out it's one of the few programs that has never been hit with a major NCAA infraction.
It's unclear if academics will be a major factor in hypothetical Big 12 expansion. CSU shares a land-grant tradition with several other Big 12 institutions, and the university is happy to brag about seven consecutive years of record enrollment, along with a random sidebar about the size of the Denver airport.
More academic stuff.
This interesting segment comes from an internal email in the Colorado State presidential office. While it is unclear if individual research spending or alumni fundraising metrics impact Big 12 membership, Colorado State seems to stack up favorably with other Big 12 aspirants.
Also, while the athletics materials appear to have been produced before the 2015 football season, this chart was emailed on May 11, 2016.
It is probable that Colorado State would need to continue investing if it were accepted into the Big 12. After all, per USA TODAY, its $39 million athletic budget would lag behind Big 12 peers considerably. This page showing alumni engagement and donations stack up favorably with Power 5 institutions could help that case.
Perhaps the most interesting nugget on this page is the note that Big 12 schools already have more than 52,000 alumni in Colorado, roughly 16 percent of all Big 12 alumni. About 30,000 of those are said to live in the Denver area. That number appears consistent with data collected by SB Nation, which is based on LinkedIn.
Also, the school is trying to promote the size of the Denver market by pointing out that the local newspaper has a lot of subscribers, which is kind of funny.
Geography figures to be a big concern, especially with West Virginia already isolated from the rest of the conference. Colorado State broke down how long a flight would be from each Big 12 city. These distances don't seem all that bad!
Just in case anybody was concerned that the Denver market is dominated by the Colorado Buffaloes.
The school mentions its football team has a winning record over P5 programs over the last "three" years, but this was produced before the 2015 season, which featured losses to Minnesota and Colorado. The Rams did beat Colorado, Boston College and Washington State between 2012 and 2014.
Colorado State hasn't played that many power opponents, and it's not like any of those programs have been world beaters.
Highlights here include reminders of renovations to Colorado State's men's basketball facility. The new football stadium would be the smallest in the conference by about 3,500 seats and well short of the conference average of 61,000.
Will this help?
One reporter has said Colorado State is one of four being closely considered. Given the proliferation of Big 12 graduates in Colorado, the Denver market could make more sense than a city like Tampa. And while there is little evidence that academics will play a large role in the decision, Colorado State's institutional profile would fit many schools already in the conference.
But for other factors, it would be a tough sell, since even that new stadium and increased spending would rank well below conference averages.
And while it's certainly improved, Colorado State football hasn't been special for a while. The Rams have won more than seven games in a season just twice since 2002, both under Jim McElwain, who now coaches Florida.
Plus, the Big 12 might not even expand at all, depending on how it views a potential Big 12 Network or Big 12 Championship. And if the league does expand, its leadership could focus on programs closer to West Virginia to grow its Eastern footprint or on programs with more established football traditions.
Colorado State certainly hasn't embarrassed itself with this pitch. More than anything, we're just hoping for the Big 12 to finally make up its mind.