The Big 12 Conference is looking to expand for the first time since losing both Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012 to the SEC. One candidate that seems to make that expansion possible is Cincinnati, according to emails released by the university to The Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday.
Days of being one of the premier conferences in all of sports has longed passed the Big 12. Teams like the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners still contend in college football while the Kansas Jayhawks dominate the men’s college basketball world, but the competition has been growing thin. These days, the Big 12 doesn’t even hold a championship game in college football because the minimum requirement for a conference championship is 12 teams. Along with Missouri and Texas A&M moving to the SEC, the Nebraska Cornhuskers moved from the Big 12 to the Big 10 and the University of Colorado moved to the Pac 12 back in 2011, reducing the number of teams from 14 to 10 in two years.
The Cincinnati Bearcats currently play in the American Athletic Conference after spending time in the Big East Conference. With them, the Bearcats bring a rich history in men’s basketball, which include hall of famers Oscar Robertson and Jack Twyman, but also recent success in college football, finishing with winning records since joining the AAC and reaching a bowl game in eight of the last nine years. Cincinnati would need all ten members to vote for them in order to join the Big 12. Voting will take place in May but with the support of a key ally in Oklahoma president David Boren, the Bearcats’ odds are looking good.
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