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Big 12 formally expanding on Friday

BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will celebrate Christmas in September on each respective campus today.

Today's the day the Big 12 goes back to being the Big 12.

The conference announced Friday it has formally extended invitations to BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF.

The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors this morning voted to extend membership invitations to Brigham Young University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Houston to join the Conference.

This has pretty much been the worst kept secret in sports throughout the week. In fact, I'm not sure it even qualifies as a secret.

Each school will formally accept the invitation on Friday. Houston's up first at 11 a.m. Central time, followed by BYU at 11:30, UCF at 2:45 and Cincinnati at 3:30.

The next step will be the battle for turf in the Group of 5. The American has said it plans to be aggressive and will work to protect its "Power 6" status, while the Sun Belt will look to advance upon last year's successful football season by potentially adding members.

“Our remaining schools have competed extremely well with the schools leaving," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco told Sports Illustrated. "The schools leaving have had success, but they’re not dynasties. We’ll add schools and we’ll replenish and reconstitute.”

"The Sun Belt Conference could not have positioned itself better for this moment as the landscape shifts across conferences," commissioner Keith Gill said in a statement Friday. "The Sun Belt is the best non-autonomy FBS conference in the country. We were the only non-A5 conference with two teams ranked in both preseason polls. We finished last year with two teams ranked in the CFP and we've led the FBS in postseason winning percentages the last five years.

"Throughout this process, if we identify a school that adds value to the Sun Belt, we'll certainly consider them for membership."