College conference realignment and expansion speculation continue to swirl and the Big 12 Conference is right in the middle of the chatter.
How serious is the speculation surrounding expansion for the Big 12?
One college insider has come out with an interesting prediction for the Big 12.
The writer, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, predicts that the conference will add Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah if the Pac-12 falls apart amid its media rights deal saga.
Of the possibility of the four Pac-12 schools potentially joining the Big 12, Dodd wrote: “Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah have been Big 12 targets, in some form, since USC and UCLA announced plans last summer to leave for the Big Ten. That interest has picked up considerably with the Pac-12 appearing even more vulnerable. Yormark wants to have membership in the Pacific Time Zone. That would make the Big 12 the only conference to have members across all four time zones. Adding the Four Corners schools would also make the Big 12 the third conference with 16 members joining the SEC and Big Ten.”
Dodd further explained that Arizona in the Big 12 would be a boost for basketball in the conference and Arizona State is enticing because of the big Phoenix market.
Colorado, with Deion Sanders as a coach, would be a boost for the Big 12’s viewership, according to Dodd, and Utah’s strong football program would elevate the conference and provide a travel partner for BYU.
Dodd wrote: “In essence, adding those four schools would create more Big 12 content in more time slots. Such an expansion might reflect what the Pac-12 is worth right now. If the Big 12 expands, its contract states new team(s) would get 63% of pro rata revenue from ESPN (approximately $20 million annually). If that’s what compels those schools to move, what does it say about the current worth of the Pac-12?”
Ducks Wire also projected the Big 12 landing the four Four Corners Pac-12 schools.
Zachary Neel wrote of his Arizona prediction: “The Arizona Wildcats are one of the Four-Corner schools that seem to be highly coveted by the Big 12. Should they start looking for a new conference to join, it makes total sense that they would join the Big 12 and compete with the likes of Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, etc. On the football side of things, this isn’t huge, but adding Arizona’s basketball program would be a huge get for the Big 12.”
Of Arizona State and the Big 12, he wrote: “Arizona State is another Four-Corner school that would slot perfectly into the Big 12. While ASU’s basketball doesn’t do much for the conference, they seem to be on the rise in the football world with the hiring of Kenny Dillingham.”
Neel wrote of Colorado in the Big 12: “Colorado is another Four-Corner school that that Big 12 would be after in realignment talks. They fit the mold of a team that can excel in football — thanks to Deion Sanders — and be competitive in basketball as well.”
He wrote of Utah: “Utah would be one of the pillars of the Big 12 as a Four-Corner school that has excelled at football in recent years. They fit with the branding of the Big 12 and would make sense alongside Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State, etc.”
Could Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah really end up in the Big 12?
It’s something to keep an eye on as college football conference expansion and realignment speculation continues to run rampant.