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What teams should join the Big 12?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

By Ryan Decker for Now on Deck

Two headlines have dominated the news cycles when it comes to the Big 12 this summer: Oklahoma’s chances to return to the College Football Playoff, and Big 12 expansion.

Oklahoma losing badly against Houston the opening week of the season didn’t help, but nor did it end, the Sooners hopes of competing for a national championship. Realistically, though, they will need some help from the conference and other top teams from around the College Football landscape.

As far as the possibility of the Big 12 expanding from 10 to 12 teams, well the notion around that appears to change by the week.

Lately, signs have been pointing towards a better-than-average chance at two teams joining the conference, as last week Big 12 officials met with representatives from 11 teams that are candidates to ditch their current conferences to join the Big 12.

However, Wednesday morning Oklahoma president and conference board chair David Boren said that expansion is “not a sure thing,” and went even further, saying he is, “not certain,” there will be a decision.

The Big 12’s next board meeting is scheduled for October 17, and it’s at that meeting that it’s believed fans will know the conference’s plan on the subject.

College Football fans, and Big 12 fans especially got to watch two teams that are candidates to join the conference Thursday night, as No. 6 Houston battled Cincinnati.

The unranked Bearcats stayed with the Cougars for three-quarters and even led momentarily in the contest, before a number of mistakes late cost them the game.

With Boren’s comments still on people’s minds, it’s a good time to look at what teams fans from around the conference would like to see added to the Big 12.

I broke the conference down into three sections: South (Oklahoma and Texas universities), Central (Kansas, K-State and Iowa State), and West Virginia.

South

The states of Texas and Oklahoma house six of the current 10 conference teams. Not only that but the two states obviously include two schools with some of the richest histories in college football – Texas and Oklahoma.

Another team from this region that has had a fair share of success on the gridiron is Oklahoma State.

I asked Mark Cooper, who covers the Cowboys for the Tulsa World, what the feeling is from OSU fans on expansion. He left it up to Cowboy Nation to give me an answer.

Central

Tornado Valley hosts three Big 12 schools.

Although fans of the Kansas Jayhawks and the Iowa State Cyclones may be more worried about what expansion would do to recruiting when it comes to success on the basketball court, Kansas State fans certainly would like to see their team stay relevant on the football field.

Iowa State, which geographically is in a similar situation to that of West Virginia as being the two teams furthest away from the hubs of the conference – Oklahoma and Texas -, so school’s situated closer to Ames would be please the Cyclones and their fan base.

Randy Peterson, who covers ISU for the Des Moines Register where he has worked since the mid-70’s, had this to say when asked about expansion.

West Virginia

Having talked to a number of WVU fans, Cincinnati is at the top of most people’s list when it comes to expansion.

Not only do the Bearcats present a natural rival, geographically speaking, but they also would bring back flashes from the days of the Big East for Mountaineer fans.

A potential knock against Cincy, though, is that its success in the Big 12 could be similar to that of West Virginia’s, which could potentially weaken the conference in national perception.

Most WVU fans agree that BYU and Colorado State are too far away from Morgantown to justify adding them to the conference. With that said, though, a number of people from Mountaineer nation that would support the addition of the Cougars.

Connecticut and Houston are two other popular opinions amongst WVU fans, and some feel that either Central Florida or South Florida could continue to help with recruiting.

We are still a month away from the meeting that will decide whether the Big 12 will expand and welcome in two new teams, or stay the same, but that month will go by quick for the powers that be who have to make the decision.

But if they want a little outside opinion from the fans, trying to make the decision easier all they have to do is read this article.

Ryan Decker co-hosts a show each week with Sports Heaven's Joel Norman called "Moose-Talkas." Listen to their latest show.

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