In order for a major college football conference to be considered, well, a major college football conference they need to have at least twelve teams and a championship game at the end of the regular season. Most "majors" and "mid major" conferences have such a system in place. It is imperative for the 10 team Big Twelve to expand and do so immediately. How? Which teams? When?
A few thoughts on the matter.........
One obvious choice to add to the Big Twelve would be the University of Houston. The school will be adding a larger stadium and facility starting at the end of this season. Tiny and antiquated Robertson Stadium is scheduled for destruction when the football schedule has concluded.
The Cougars only get major local support when they have a winning program. Fair weather fans to be sure. Also the fact that Texas and Texas Agriculture are the dominant programs in the region (and entire state) adds to the problem of Houston attracting fans. Still the Cougar program can, at times, field a very competitive team that could challenge for a conference championship.
Rice might possibly be another addition. Except on very rare occasions, the small school will have trouble competing. The advantage is that Rice Stadium can have the capacity to hold 70,000 fans. Right now only part of the stadium is utilized but being included in a major conference again would certainly bring in the money. Of course the stadium is pretty old and dilapidated but it still is serviceable.
UTEP? Perhaps. They do play in a rather large venue and it would certainly help their recruiting to be part of a major conference.
Louisiana Tech: Good albeit small facilities and of course they are second (third?) fiddle in the state of Louisiana. That really should not be an issue though. Iowa State plays second fiddle in Iowa and they survive. Louisiana Tech would be able to recruit players with more talent and may be able to steal some blue chippers here and there who would normally consider nothing less than a SEC school. Additionally they could schedule some games in Shreveport which would guarantee a sold out venue.
Tulane: Another private school that would certainly be interested. Like Rice, the academic standards are rather stringent, but they do play in the Super Dome. A big venue. It would not take much to get Texans and other diehards to travel to watch their team play and party in New Orleans before and after the likely victory. It would be a win/win for the school and the conference.
Since geography does not appear to be much of an issue anymore the conference and Florida State should consider getting together. FSU is a football school in a basketball conference. Pure and simple. FSU basketball is an afterthought at best in Seminole country. In the Big Twelve they would be able to compete right away in football and have an off chance of competing in round ball. Kansas is the only school in the Big Twelve where basketball is priority although Texas does tend to be consistent in that sport. FSU of course would rather be in the SEC but that is not going to happen. Ever. The dominant Gator lobby will not allow it.
Miami is another football (and baseball) team in a basketball conference. True they have been down for years and their attendance, even when they are good, leaves a bit to be desired. The flip side is that they are considered a national program regardless of their inconsistent play and attendance issues. They might be a good addition.
BYU could be looked at also. They have a loyal fan base and would be able to compete at times. There is no advantage to BYU trying to go it alone like the Irish. They don't have that kind of national support. They will need to affiliate at some point. Why not a major conference?
Boise State? Why not. Rabid fan base and a team that enjoys national exposure. The problem for the Big Twelve though is that the powers that be would be likely afraid that Boise State would be too good from the get go and upset the balance. Maybe Boise State is not a good fit after all.
Anyone else? Right now I can't really think of any. New Mexico maybe.
The Big Twelve needs to expand back to twelve teams. Fourteen? Just as good.