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College football expansion: Big 12 has new team on radar for realignment

CFB-HQ on FanNation 3 days ago James Parks
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The rumor mill is buzzing around the next possible conference expansion and realignment plans in college football with insiders of the opinion that, of all the Power Five leagues, the Big 12 is the likeliest candidate to increase its membership in the near future, and now that conference may have a new school in its sights.

UConn is one of a few schools currently garnering the interest of Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark, according to a report from The Athletic.

The interest on the East Coast is notable as most of the Big 12's recent attention has been in the West with speculation that the league was hoping to attract some interest from existing Pac-12 schools, but this potential move would expand the conference into the New York area, the nation's largest and most prestigious media market.

But that geography may prevent UConn from wanting to be courted by the Big 12, as the report highlights how the school celebrated its return to the Big East four years ago, highlighting its identity as an East Coast school, and how it felt out of place in the AAC, a more spread-out conference geographically.

The timing of this reported interest is also noteworthy as it comes following UConn winning the college basketball national championship this past season and returning to prominence on the hard court.

The school's women's basketball team is one of the nation's most successful, winning six NCAA championships since 2008 under head coach Geno Auriemma.

The question around UConn remains as to how its football program would be relevant or successful enough to warrant Big 12 membership. 

It's been one of the nation's worst over the last several years, not finishing with a winning record since 2010, and winning six games in a season only once in the last decade before the arrival of Jim Mora, Jr., but who pulled off an impressive revival on the gridiron, going 6-7 and making a bowl game for the first time since 2015.

Whatever does happen on the expansion front, it's clear that Yormark is trying to rebound from losing football powers Texas and Oklahoma, and position the Big 12 as one of the big three conferences in college football and sports more broadly, and is willing to pursue whatever plan helps him achieve that goal.


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