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Big 12 Expansion May Be Closer Than We Think

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In a world where things move slowly, Big 12 expansion may have received a turbo boost.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

After months and months of speculation, it may be time to start the final countdown to #Big12Confirmed.

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported that the Big 12 would like to make a decision on expansion before the start of the 2016 football season. In a world where most change happens at a dead snail’s pace, this news is akin to flipping the switch on the NOS tank in your Mitsubishi Eclipse while Vin Diesel looks on in begrudging respect.

On top of that news, the American Athletic Conference is finally publicly acknowledging that the Big 12 will likely be poaching some of its teams. In an interview with GridironNow.com, AAC commissioner Mike Aresco made it clear that he has not ignored the Big 12 expansion news stream.

Based on his comments, Aresco has been in talks with more than one school in the conference, which makes sense since everyone and their brother and everyone that’s ever met their brother is making a plea. Beside the usual suspects (Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Memphis, USF and UCF), SMU is boasting about its athletics budget, East Carolina is staging a plea via Twitter and some are even wondering if Tulane would be a good addition. While we shouldn’t read too far into Aresco’s phrasing, the fact that he is having these conversations and is addressing the possible departure of some schools (notice the multiple there) means Big 12 expansion is ramping up even faster than we knew. It also means that the addition of four teams might be more realistic than previously thought.

If the conference is to make a final decision about expansion plans before football season gets underway, it would have to do so by Sept. 2, when Baylor kicks off the season against Northwestern State. Everybody, start your engines/countdown clocks.