The Big 12 has been actively talking in the off-season about adding new member schools in order to improve their standing with the other Power 5 conferences, and enhance the chances of their schools getting into the College Football Playoffs. While it is uncertain if the conference will actually act on expansion, some believe they will do so as soon as possible so that the schools can be a part of the conference next year. The addition of new schools won’t influence college football lines, but it will change the landscape going forward.
The American Athletic Conference recently acknowledged that it could lose a few members. Houston, Memphis, Connecticut, and Cincinnati have all been mentioned as teams that could end up in the Big 12, which means the AAC has to consider its options.
If one or two teams leave the AAC for the Big 12, it will likely have to try and poach schools from smaller conferences. One of the schools that would likely move to another conference if the Big 12 expands, is the University of Louisiana from the Sun Belt Conference.
Scott Farmer, the athletic director of UL was recently asked about another round of potential realignment and he welcomed the possibility of his school moving to a bigger conference.
Farmer said that he hopes that teams like current AAC member Tulane will speak highly of UL, and also point out the benefits of having a team in close proximity as a traveling partner.
However, Farmer was quick to point out that UL is not engaged in active talks with the AAC or any other conference about leaving the Sun Belt to join a new conference.
Farmer also added that the AAC has not made any visits to UL.
According to Farmer, it would be premature to start talking to other conferences about joining them since the Big 12 has not yet added any teams, and there is no guarantee that they will.
Farmer also said that his department has not done a cost analysis to determine the expenses related to playing in the AAC in comparison it to the Sun Belt. And he added that the school has to consider how a move would affect their other sports.
Meanwhile, a move makes sense for UL on the basis of recent facilities improvements which include a new athletic performance center, an expanded football stadium, and renovations to both its track and field and soccer complexes.
UL is also about to build a new golf facility and undergo a major renovation of its baseball field.
There is no doubt that migrating to a bigger conference provides plenty of perks, not the least of which are exposure and recruiting.
All the recent moves show the school is ready to move to a bigger conference. The only questions are which conference, and how soon.