It’s a difficult task, keeping up with all the hemming and hawing surrounding the odyssey of Big 12 expansion. Every week another college president says something, a columnist writes an opinion piece or some little bit of insight leaks onto the Twittersphere. Well, as Big 12 expansion continues to get closer, we’ll be providing updates on what’s new.
Last weekend, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Cincinnati alum Urban Meyer said that the Bearcats “should be in the Big 12”. Now Meyer obviously doesn’t have a vote in this matter and his opinion is worth just about the same as any person on the outside looking in, albeit with a bit more weight due to his standing in the college football world. Still, it’s worth noting that UC has the support of the Bucke— hold on just a second! Is this a trap?
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy gave a bit more of a substantial soundbite, telling the David Glenn Show that Big 12 expansion is now a “three-horse race” with UC, Houston and BYU the thoroughbreds. Until an official announcement is made, its tough to feel entirely confident, but the feeling that UC is among the finalists has been growing in strength for months.
That growing sentiment is helped by the fact that while not the flashiest candidate, UC is the most solid. As Jason Kirk of the SB Nation mother ship says, the Bearcats have the fewest stumbling blocks. Speaking of the rest of SB Nation, while the editors of each Big 12 team’s site couldn’t really reach a consensus on who should join their ranks, UC appeared to be liked the most.
All that confidence is for naught if nothing ever happens, but according to Iowa State president Steven Leath, we are getting close(ish). In an interview with Iowa State Daily, Leath said schools that are serious about joining are making pitches directly to Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 commissioner, at the conference’s offices. He also said that a decision could be made anytime between now and Christmas.
Some of the roughly 20 programs hoping to be #Big12Confirmed are facing a tougher road than others. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, UNLV is one such program with a major weak point, namely its leadership structure, which was cast in a negative light recently during its search for a new men’s basketball coach. It appears Mick Cronin may have inadvertently helped UC by flirting with the Runnin’ Rebels.
Our last update is a fresh one, as it has been reported that Bowlsby sent an email at the end of last month to Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston, explaining that the Big 12 finalized the process for evaluating potential new members. You’ve got to expect that UC’s interim president Beverly Davenport got a similar e-mail.
So what did we learn this week? UC is in great standing, Big 12 expansion is nearing its conclusion (albeit slowly) and Meyer still has a soft spot for his Alma Mater.