Today the Big 12 officially accepted membership applications from Central Florida (UCF), BYU, Cincinnati and Houston to join the conference whenever Texas and Oklahoma join the Southeastern Conference (SEC). These two seismic shifts have a huge impact on all of college athletics but especially schools who are not in the Pacific Time Zone. Here we look at the implications of these moves and how the specifically effect women’s basketball and who the big (12) winners and losers are.
Counting – Its nice to have a league called the Big 12 with 12 teams obviously the PAC 12 with their elite academics would not allow a number next to their name that actually didn’t represent the number of members the conference had well the Big 12 was playing with 10 teams the last several years but counting is winning now with 12 actual members.
National Recruiting – The State of Florida now has 3 power 5 conferences in its borders which opens the state to Big 12 recruiting which previously had not happened. The Big 12 now has a foot print in Ohio (big recruiting state) and Houston has been good over time so continues to have a majority share of the Texas Power 5 programs but the results of all of this will more of a national scope in recruiting with move Power 5 schools and be diverse regions.
West Virginia – West Virginia was the lone team in the Eastern Time Zone with tough travel situations most of their schedule now they get games with Cincinnati (which could be come a natural rivalry) and another eastern trip to Florida as well with UCF.
Cold Places in the Big 12 – Places you have never visited like Lawrence, Kansas, Manhattan, Kansas, and Ames, Iowa (they even sound cold) get a game in Orlando once a year it’ll be like a vacation. But enjoy your trip to Florida you no longer have to be frozen all winter.
USF – The biggest women’s basketball loser in all of this is South Florida. South Florida had always been in a stronger conference than UCF dating back to Conference USA and the Big East now for the first time UCF is in the better conference. USF still has better facilities but UCF will be a competitor possibly with Florida, Florida State, and Miami for players which they’ve never been able to do before.
Memphis – Another program with a new coach in Katrina Merriweather who really could have made waves with UCF and USF is now left stranded with big rivalry games against ??? Tulsa? Tulane? And potentially whoever they add which is some collection of like FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee, Charlotte or Georgia State – Right that’s not good and going to be harder and harder to sell to kids this is an elite level of college basketball.
The Rest of the American Conference – Remember when UConn used to be on ESPN like 8 times a year with the American Conference logo on their wood floor – No more – What American Conference game do you see being an ESPN game in the near future? This is about to look very Conference USA’ish except maybe not as good in any sport. I wrote a while ago the second UConn left this would be a one bid league and now it certainly will be.