The Big 12 conference has added four teams to its roster for the 2023 college football season in a major transformation. Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, and BYU become conference members in its first expansion move since TCU and West Virginia joined in 2012.
The recent accomplishments of the four schools in various college sports made them attractive targets to the Big 12 in the expansion process. However, transitioning to a more competitive conference will present a massive challenge to each of them.
It is not expected that the four new teams will start on a highly impressive note when they start competing in the Big 12 next season. Even for highly successful college football programs, making the transition to a new conference is a challenging endeavor. Let’s take a look at how the four teams could perform next season.
Projection of the four teams
Cincinnati already has what can be tagged as an easy schedule for the upcoming season. This presents them as the team likely to have the best performance among the four. Boasting a 53-11 record since 2018 and a playoff spot in 2021, the Bearcats can do the impossible.
Throughout his Big 12 career, coach Dana Holgorsen has consistently demonstrated his ability to achieve unexpected successes. This could be crucial for Houston next season. While the team has certain obvious weaknesses, its potential for success is remarkably high.
Having the best quarterback among the four newcomers gives UCF an edge. John Rhys Plumlee has showcased his effectiveness in the AAC and has loads of weapons around him. They also have six returning starters on the defense, which could ease the transition.
BYU is the only newcomer not joining from the AAC. However, based on their rich tradition and impressive track record, they undoubtedly stand as the most established program. While their schedule isn’t favorable, they’ve had a winning season consecutively in the last five.
A highly competitive year in the Big 12
The upcoming 2023 college football season has the potential to become the most fiercely competitive year in the history of the Big 12. The four new teams, considering their recent success, are expected to add another layer to the league’s competitiveness.
It’s also worth noting that Texas and Oklahoma will be playing their last season in the conference before departing for the SEC. The intention to leave a lasting impression on the conference promises an exciting spectacle on the field next season.
While the conference continues to scout candidates for its expansion, it is set for a whole new level of football next season. Maybe we get to see a team from the conference claim the national title after TCU’s failure last season.
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