With yesterday's news that the Pac-12 wouldn't expand, we told you that it appeared as though expansion at the highest levels of college football simply wasn't going to happen.
Put simply, the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 were set with their existing membership (that is, unless Notre Dame some day decides to join a conference. Then all bets are off).
But that doesn't mean that realignment couldn't happen elsewhere, and that's appears exactly what is happening. That's because on Friday, the Athletic reported that the carcass of eight Big 12 schools left over (without Texas and Oklahoma) could be seriously pursuing one school: BYU.
At first glance, the move doesn't appear to make a ton of sense. But dig deeper, and the reality is, it actually makes a ton.
First off, the bottom line is that no upward expansion is going to happen, unless the schools that are being added bring TV value and alter TV contracts. It's why the Pac-12 decided to stick with the teams they have. While adding the remaining eight teams in the Big 12 to get to 20 sounds great on paper, none of them ultimately alter the Pac-12's existing TV deal. Sorry TCU and Iowa State fans, it's true. No TV network is rushing to the table to re-negotiate a contract when you join their league.
But BYU? It's a little bit of a different deal.
Relative to the best in the SEC and Big Ten, BYU doesn't do insane numbers. But, relative to the other eight schools in the Big 12 (minus Texas and Oklahoma) their numbers are actually pretty comparable (and in some cases even better). You can read how the numbers compare in that article on the Athletic.
Maybe more importantly however, because they play in the Mountain time zone and their games can kick off as late as 10 ET, it also opens up a whole other TV window to now broadcast games. It isn't just about the noon, 3:30 and night windows on the East Coast. You could now potentially play Big 12 conference games as late as 10 or 10:30 p.m. ET.
That's right: Move over Pac-12 After Dark. Who's ready for a little Kansas State-BYU well past midnight on the East Coast?
Big 12 After Dark. Can you feel the excitement people!
In terms of a time-frame however, it's really hard to know. A four-person working group on expansion is expected to meet on Friday and then again next week to discuss further. It's also worth noting that BYU does historically bring a few issues when considered for expansion. One, they don't play on Sunday's because of their religious affiliation, and it was actually that religious affiliation that kept them from being seriously considered for realignment a few years back.
Still, in the wake of Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12, the league is looking for any team that can help the league move the needle. The Cougars appear to be it.
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