When we first heard the Big 12 was going to expand, the initial timeline was that invitations could be doled out and accepted at some point during this academic year. That was [checks archives] yesterday.
On Friday, Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reported that BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF could officially be incoming members of the Big 12 as soon as a week from right now.
Conference presidents are scheduled to meet next Friday, and it's believed the New 4 have the votes to the Remaining 8 into the Big 12 once again.
In the New 4, the Big 12 would scoop up the best university (BYU), best team (Cincinnati), best market (Houston) and best potential (UCF) on the market.
Losing Cincinnati, Houston and UCF could, obviously, trigger third- and fourth-wave reactions by the American that could reverberate all the way down to FCS.
As for timing, the New 4 could be playing football in the Big 12 as soon as 2023. Texas and Oklahoma are staying in the Big 12 through the 2024 football season until they're not, so that could move the conference from the Big 12-2 to the Big 12+2 for the '23 and '24 campaigns.
Should that come to pass, it would be interesting to see if the Big 12 would send Texas and/or OU on the road to Provo, Houston, Cincinnati or Orlando or keep those gate receipts parked within the conference's traditional borders. On the flip side, moving forward with the next chapter could make Big 12 leadership eager to close the book on the previous chapter, hastening the Red River Rivals' exists ahead of the stated July 1, 2025 departure date.
There are still many moving pieces to this story, and the pieces are moving fast.