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What Would Big 12 Conference Expansion Mean For Buffalo Athletics

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It might help UB, it might hurt UB, but one thing is for sure and that is expansion at the top would effect UB!

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Live long enough and you get comfortable with the idea that many your opinions and predictions will be incorrect. So I don't feel too badly that the NCAA's decision to allow FBS conferences with less than 12 members to host a championship game got me thinking expansion was pretty much over and that a quiet period was about to ensue.

Then Denis Dodd dropped this.

Big 12 learns what we all knew: 12 teams, title game are best for league - CBSSports.com
The Big 12's best chance to reach the College Football Playoff is to expand to 12 teams and stage a conference championship game, according to research by an analytics firm hired by the league. The numbers run by Chicago-based Navigate Research show the Big 12 has a 4-5 percent better chance of reaching the top four in the CFP by adding two teams, playing one less conference game and holding a championship game, commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday.

Now I don't put a lot of stock into the math here. But some other math is interesting. Four make the playoffs and there are five power conferences so.... carry the one .... Yea one will get left out every year. In the first year of the CFP Baylor and TCU were oh so close but were left out, last season Stanford from the PAC-12 was left out.

But maybe it's legit. Maybe people in Big 12 Athletic departments are crunching the numbers right now and it really does give them a 4-5% better chance of making the CFP.

This may or may not lead the Big 12 to expand. The "problem" is the Texas block of the conference. Four of the teams in the conference are in Texas and three will generally follow the lead of the Longhorns. Texas A&M Tech and Texas have been tied at the hip for decades and TCU reportedly owes their Big12 membership to a Texas push.

For the Big12 to expand they need a super majority of 75% or more members on board.

Again, doing the math shows that Texas has sway with enough schools to stop any expansion from happening. Of course the moment another school is added the math no longer works and Texas potentially loses some influence.

So if they expand who do they add?

I would think the big three names would be Cincinnati, BYU, and UConn. The first two I expect would be favored over UConn because of football history / performance and geography / culture.

Assuming the AAC loses a team they will reload. One would think Southern Miss get's a look because the AAC is the new CUSA but other names that might get considered would be UMass, Buffalo, Ohio, Toledo, or NIU. Of those I think UMass, Buffalo, and Ohio would be the most likely by a small margin.

Now if UMass get's the nod very little changes in the MAC but if it's a MAC school everything changes.

Lets say it's not Buffalo but another MAC school.

  • Ohio replaces Cincinnati  quite well and has been in football & basketball the most consistent MAC school for 8 or so years.
  • NIU's football has been near the top of the MAC and was a BCS buster, not to mention being adjacent to Chicago helps.
  • Toledo has had good football, improving basketball, and unlike Ohio Univeristy it's  in a mid sized market and adjacent to a big Detroit market.

Well if it's one of them the MAC will need to reload. In my opinion Buffalo should make a strong push to keep Stony Brook and Albany out of the conversation. Until those schools stop doing things like creating fake departments to sneak state stadium funding then UB should not be playing nice.

Buffalo should push for expansion into new recruiting areas adjacent to the MAC.

But when should be going on now is Alan Green trying to position UB as the logical alternative to adding UMass. There are some challenges.

  • In terms of institutional profiles the two schools are pretty even.
  • UMass has a very slight advantage in Geography because Amherst MA is a bit closer to UConn than Amherst NY.
  • UB sits in a slightly bigger media market, though UMass is closer to Boston's market than we are to NY's market.

But then there is this. UMass hangs their hats on their hoops. That is their "big" advantage, or so they keep telling everyone. My question is this. If your hoops are so awesome and you're in a multi bid conference how is it that you've been to fewer dances since 1997 than the Buffalo Bulls who are in a top 10 RPI league which only gets a single bid?

Don't get me wrong it would still be an uphill fight for Buffalo to prove ourselves a better pick. The department could point at the growing number of UB Students and Alumni in New York City or the fact our football attendance has been better than that of UMass.

This is a "lay the groundwork" moment. I hope that Allen Greene is talking with his former Boss at UCF trying to cobble together a pitch, just in case.