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I recently read an independent academic paper that justified UTEP and Rice moving to the Big 12. The premise was the Big 12 already has a recognized brand, so they need not expand horizontally. The author suggests Rice become to the Big 12 what Vanderbilt is to the SEC (or Stanford to Pac 12) - a stable academic institution that won't compromise their academic mission. While Baylor is private & academically inclined, they've been on probation several times.

UTEP's role in the Big 12 would be that of UCLA in the Pac 12. A subordinate university to Cal-Berkly, UTEP being subordinate to UT-Austin. He added that UTEP will soon be a Tier 1 institution, and the only school with a minority majority student body is coveted by other conferences. He added that UTEP would need to get out of the little brother or redheaded step-child mindset to make this work.

He also DID NOT like the old Southwest Conference module that pitted schools in the same markets against one-another - as it would bring back the cheating schemes of the 70's & 80's that have been chronicled on ESPN's Pony Excess.

The author also shared that the Big 12 could accommodate 4 ACC schools in this scenario (at a time TBD). The addition of Rice & UTEP, plus the 4 ACC schools would give the Big 12 four pods of 4 teams - Pod 1: UTEP, TX Tech, Baylor, UT; Pod 2: TCU, OK, OK State, Rice; Pod 3: K. State, Io. State, W. Virginia, Kansas; Pod 4: Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Game. Tech.


Here's the link: http://big12united.com/why-utep-rice/


It's a 15 page fictional proposal with a .PDF that can be downloaded. It's not a commissioned study, so take it with a grain of salt. Also, I didn't list pods correctly; but since this is a fictional scenario, doesn't matter. Great idea though!


CBS Sports is reporting UTEP & TX schools are in play for the Mountain West: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/jeremy-fowler/21478937/mountain-west-might-not-be-done-texas-schools-in-discussion

Let's hope this works out!


Funny stuff. Rice to the Big 12. Good luck with that. UTEP to the MWC makes sense though...


You know what would make sense - Rice and Tulsa to the Big 10. Rice is in that awesome TV market; and Tulsa, while medium-sized, is larger (or as large as) than places like El Paso and San Antonio. Plus, both are tremendous research institutions, which are anemic in Texas.

Makes as much sense as Nebraska's move to the Big 10 did/does.


I think people will find that UTEP is thought of nationally, similar to NMSU. Too bad, both are great universities in awesome cities. El Paso's lack of prep talent is to blame - most successful athletic programs secure recruits within a 200 mile radius of their institution. Just not a city notorious for athletic prowess in power sports.

It's unfortunate, but UTEP most likely will remain in a water-downed CUSA, or will be relegated to going independent. I like independent, because it gives a school opportunity to take 7 to 8 road games for money against power conferences (SEC, Big 12, etc.), and home games against mid-level mid-conference teams like UNM, Co. St., La. Tech, etc. It could be a great module for growth - I think NMSU and Idaho will make more money as independents. NMSU may pass UTEP and other traditionally weak programs in a year or two.


I like idea of UTEP going to MWC, it makes sense geographically and in my opinion, its a better conference than the new cusa.....

My guess is in a week or two San Diego State will decide to rejoin MWC which will make 12 teams, so will the MWC expand to 14? If they do, UTEP and Tulsa would be two great additions since Houston and SMU seem determined to stay in the Big East for 2013. Beyond that who knows?


I'm coming in late, but a couple of comments. One, Rick I hate to tell you but the TV market associated with Tulsa is pathetically small, no benefit there. The TV market associated with UTEP isn't large, but not that small. UTEP's reputation, aside from football (and that is what we are talking about) is pretty good. Having said that, UT isn't going to let a branch school into the Big 12. That simple. Rice they might take for three reasons (1) Academic reputation (2) Institution's money base (3) TV makret size. You are correct that UTEP is doomed to stay in CUSA. Too bad.

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