College football expansion rumors: Who will join Big 12 next? Another Pac-12 target is clear

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark. (Syndication: Austin American-Statesman)
Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark. (Syndication: Austin American-Statesman) /

It’s pretty clear college football expansion in the Big 12 is not finished with Colorado in the fold. One Pac-12 program is next on the list to jump ship.

The Big 12 went into July with 12 teams for the first time in over a decade. They’re coming out of the month with their name no longer reflecting the number of teams in the conference once more as Colorado makes it 13.

This week, the Buffaloes finalized their return to the conference they left in 2011. In doing so, they further destabilized the Pac-12, which was already reeling from USC and UCLA’s impending departure to the Big Ten in a seismic shift to the college football landscape.

Just don’t expect Colorado to be the last piece in Big 12 expansion. According to ESPN’s Heather Dinich, the conference is aiming for an even 14 members. And there’s already a strong idea of who that 14th program could be.

"“As uncertainty continues to loom over the Pac-12, which will dwindle to nine members, sources have indicated that Arizona has sparked interest within the Big 12. Arizona president Bobby Robbins, however, has previously said publicly that he wanted to see the Pac-12’s new media deal before making any monumental decisions.”"

Yup. It’s Arizona.

College football expansion rumors: Arizona looks like the next target for Big 12

Arizona makes a whole lot of sense for the Big 12, especially as a basketball program with a rich history and top-level aspirations in that sport. The only comparable basketball power in the Pac-12 was UCLA, and they’re off for the Big Ten.

UConn has also been mentioned as a potential addition for the conference on the basketball front. However, Arizona has to be a more attractive option simply because they bring at least some semblance of a football presence. The Wildcats haven’t been good on the gridiron in recent years but they’ve at least had a 10-win season and Top 25 finish this century. The Huskies can’t claim either of those.

Next. Projected college football preseason AP Top 25 rankings. dark