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More Expansion: Big 12 Adds Arizona, Arizona State, Utah

By Ryan Roberts

After adding Colorado last week, the Big 12 announced late Friday night that they would add an additional 3 universities starting in the 2023-2024 academic year:

Statement from the Big 12:

The Big 12 board of Directors has voted unanimously to admit Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and University of Utah to the Big 12 Conference.

Commissioner Yormark had the following to say regarding the additions:

"We are thrilled to welcome Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah to the Big 12. The conference is gaining three premier institutions both academically and athletically, and the entire Big 12 looks forward to working alongside their presidents, athletic directors, student-athletes, and administrators."

With the addition, it puts the league at 16 teams during the 2023-2024 academic year.

How do the additions impact Cincinnati?

The easy answer is money. The Big 12 likely negotiated a deal with their TV partners for additional revenue should any institutions be added to the league.

In terms of competition, it gives Cincinnati a national presence to an already established brand. Adding Arizona to a loaded basketball schedule gives Wes Miller even more ammo when recruiting and emphasizing that Cincinnati is in the best basketball conference and it isn't close. Arizona, Houston, Kansas, and Baylor are all established national brands on the current college hoops landscape. Throw in programs such as Kansas State with Jerome Tang, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and the rest of the Big 12 and Cincinnati will have plenty of opportunities to build a tournament worthy resume without worrying about adding high level non conference games.

I'm not sure the 3 additions do much for football, but Utah has had recent success under Coach Kyle Whittingham and are coming off back to back Rose Bowl appearances and top 15 finishes. Colorado obviously brings national recognition as long as Deion Sanders is the head coach.

I would think there will be some impact regarding bowl tie ins as well and there could be some shuffling of which conference affiliates with certain bowl games. With there being 4 remaining schools in the Pac-12, sponsors could look to the Mountain West, Big 10, SEC, or Big 12 to fill other bowl games.

The interesting thing will be if the Big 12 eventually decides to go to a 10 game conference schedule, as Dennis Dodd mentioned. This would obviously affect the non conference schedule and reduce opportunities for crossover games against other P5 programs.

At the end of the day, Cincinnati is in a much better spot than they were 2 years ago and there are exciting times ahead for all Cincinnati athletics programs.

At Large Bid will continue to provide coverage of Cincinnati football during their inaugural season in the Big 12.

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