The landscape of the Big 12 is going to be much different a few years from now. Exit
Oklahoma and Texas — enter Cincinnati, BYU, Houston, and UCF. For the first time
since 2010, the conference will consist of 12 teams. Here is what the four new programs
bring to Big 12 football.
By Jack Johnson, Sports Radio 810
- Cincinnati Bearcats
If you’ve paid attention to college football this season, you’d know plenty about
Cincinnati. As the fifth-ranked team in the nation, the Bearcats have blown through their
schedule unblemished with a perfect 9-0 record. Barring any upsets, Cincinnati has a
strong chance to represent the American Athletic Conference in the College Football
Head coach Luke Fickell, who is in his fifth season at Cincinnati, has built a winner. The
Bearcats have won nine-or-more games in four of those five years.
In their 68 seasons, Cincinnati has won nine conference championships and appeared
in 17 bowl games (8-9).
- BYU Cougars
Since 2005, the Cougars have appeared in 15 bowl games and are on their way to No.
16 after posting an 8-2 record through 10 games this year. Under head coach Kalani
Sitake, BYU has gone 46-28 and 2-1 in bowl games. Prior to Sitake’s tenure, BYU was
coached by Bronco Menenhall, who never finished worse than 6-6 in his 11-year run.
The Cougars have not been prone to stiff competition, especially being an independent
school for the last decade. However, the fanbase strongly supports the program. They
average 62,181 fans per home game. The capacity of LaVell Edwards Stadium is
63,470 seats, which is the fourth-biggest venue out west. No other program in the
region eclipses the 60,000 mark
BYU’s current per game average for fans at home games is also the highest attendance
among members in the new Big 12 Conference that BYU will be joining in 2023. The
next closest is Iowa State, at 61,148 fans.
- Houston Cougars
Like the first two teams, Houston has enjoyed an impressive 2021 college football
season. Under Dana Holgorson, who previously coached at West Virginia, the Cougars
are 8-1 with a win over formerly ranked SMU.
Since 2000, Houston has appeared in 14 bowl games — soon to be 15. In the
program’s 73-year history, they’ve appeared in 28 total.
The Cougars have prior history with a few members of the current Big 12 conference.
Once a member of the Southwest Conference, Houston had its fair share of matchups
with Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma
Houston has an all-time winning record against Texas Tech, TCU and Oklahoma State.
- UCF Knights
It’ll be odd to have a Big 12 school located in the Sunshine State, but here we are. The
Knights’ football program has only been around for 26 seasons and for the majority of
that time, they’ve been good. UCF has won six conference championships and have
won five of the 12 bowl games they’ve appeared in. The Knights also won 25-straight
games from 2017-18 before losing to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl.
The unique aspect about UCF is that the program emerged from the depths stunningly
fast. In 2015, the Knights finished 0-12. In the years since then, the program has gone
53-18 with five consecutive bowl appearances under three different head coaches.