In the wake of both the Baylor Bears and TCU Horned Frogs getting left out of the first-ever College Football Playoffs, the discussion about the possibility of expansion for the Big 12 has come up again as officials came together in New York on Monday for pre-planned meetings.
And according to a report from The Sporting News, the conference has already had discussions with one of the top candidates:
Big 12 officials recently met with administrators from the University of Cincinnati, a source close to the university told Sporting News. That is not an indication membership will be offered to the Bearcats in the immediate future - only that they would be a candidate were such an expansion to be undertaken.
The Bearcats have been investing heavily in facility upgrades in recent years, including $86 million for the football stadium.
So it was hardly surprising when the possibility of moving back to 12 teams was on the agenda a day after TCU and Baylor were left out of the top four, along with West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck discussing how the College Football Playoff committee operated.
However, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby made it clear once again that the possible need for a championship game wouldn't push the conference to expand by itself:
Bowlsby: "Adding two schools for the purpose of getting to 12 (for a championship game) would be among the poorest reasons to do it."— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) December 8, 2014
The chief reason? Money, of course.
Now that's just educated conjecture, but it was one of the main reasons the league didn't seriously pursue other schools when Texas A&M and Missouri -- in the consideration of the athletic directors around the conference, none of the available programs would increase the television money offered to the Big 12.
And that may still be the case. Although there is precedent for networks to renegotiate contracts, it's unlikely that any of the schools who could join the conference would result in new deals, meaning that any additions would result in a decrease in revenue for each schools.
BYU? The Cougars could possibly add enough value to force a renegotiation. Memphis or UCF? Much less likely, as is Cincinnati.
Unfortunately for the Big 12, it's also not likely that a more desirable school that could force a bigger deal would be able to get out of the grant of rights that will almost certainly keep all the ACC schools in their current conference.
So it remains to be seen what exactly will happen next as the conference awaits a decision from the NCAA on whether or not it could hold a Big 12 Championship Game.
The problem with that idea if the league remains at 10 teams? The possibility that an undefeated team could lose in the championship game to a team it has already beaten since such a match up would likely feature the conference's two top teams.
It's nothing new, but the conference once again has significant issues with few easy answers, if any.