CBS' Brett McMurphy is out with another extensive and informative piece on the potential for Big 12 expansion.
Especially noteworthy is McMurphy's statement that sources are saying Louisville is still "aggressively pursuing" an invitation to the conference.
Go to 11? Multiple sources have told CBSSports.com if/when the Big 12 decides to expand to 11 schools, Louisville will be the choice. "They are clearly the best fit," a college football industry source said. Not only are the Cardinals the overwhelming favorite as the Big 12's 11th team, but sources told CBSSports.com that the Cardinals are aggressively pursuing a Big 12 invitation.
However, after Navy announced last week it would join the Big East, the Cardinals' exit fee to leave the Big East increased to $10 million. "The cost of poker just doubled," a source said. Even so, it's doubtful the additional $5 million is enough to keep the Cardinals from jumping to the Big 12 if they get the chance.
When the Big 12 extended an invitation to West Virginia last year it was a two-horse race between WVU and Louisville. The Mountaineers ultimately got the bid in a photo finish, but there remains a large sentiment for Louisville. Even though having 11 schools is an odd number, the Big Ten, which added Penn State in 1990, showed that a league can function -- and succeed -- with 11 schools.
Go to 12? If Louisville is No. 11, what school would be No. 12? BYU continually gets mentioned as a Big 12 target, but everything I hear -- and I mean everything -- from sources is "look east, not west" for the Big 12's 12th school.
If that's the case, Cincinnati would appear the most likely candidate as the 12th team, but the league hasn't seriously discussed a 12th member and the Bearcats have nowhere near the support of Louisville, making the move to 12 even more tricky
So how does this whole thing ultimately play out? McMurphy offers his educated guess:
So what's the Big 12 ultimately to do? The new commissioner will obviously play a role in that decision. We do know West Virginia is joining one of these days/weeks. After that, I think the Big 12 has some serious discussions on the benefits of adding Louisville and somewhere in the future, the Cardinals receive -- and accept -- an invitation.
All sounds good to me.