Why the Big 12 should add the University of Memphis

There is going to be a mass scramble of schools that are going to want to fill the void when Texas A&M leaves the Big 12, and it only makes since for Memphis to jump into the fray.  Adding Memphis will allow the Big 12 to expand their market by adding viewers in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  Now is the time for Memphis to make a compelling case for why they deserve to join the Big 12.

One reason Memphis should join the Big 12 is because they have the facilities to not only compete in the conference, but also make the Big 12 more marketable.  Think about it, how many college basketball players play in a professional arena?  Not many.  FedExForum seats over 18,000 people and when the Memphis Tigers play the stadium is one of the best atmospheres in college basketball.

Also, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium is amongst the best and most recognizable stadiums in all of college football.  Its signature lopsidedness with the southwest side being taller than the northeast side is a uniqueness that not many stadiums offer.  Add to it the over 60,000 fans that the Liberty Memorial Stadium can hold and Memphis football would create an unbelievable atmosphere for the Big 12.

Another reason it makes since for the Big 12 to add Memphis is because Memphis can and will compete with the other teams in the conference in every sport, including basketball and football.  Can you imagine what a basketball program with the recent success Memphis has had can bring to a conference that already has perennial power Kansas?  Kansas vs. Memphis in FedExForum, those games would be epic!  The seeds for such a rivalry were planted in 2008 when the two teams meet in the championship game.

While Memphis football is currently rebuilding, if the Tigers can be placed in a big conference they will quickly get the recruits necessary to compete.  The Mid-South is loaded with football talent causing it to become a recruiting hub for SEC schools (especially LSU, Mississippi St., Ole Miss, and Arkansas).  The schools from major conferences are able to get those players over Memphis because they have more play in a major conference with more exposure while Memphis plays in C-USA and gets virtually no exposure.  However, should Memphis join the Big 12 the playing field will become equal for Memphis as far as recruiting is concerned.   Honestly, what is the difference in Ole Miss, Mississippi St., Arkansas, and Memphis football?  Memphis plays in C-USA and the other three play in the SEC.  With a coach who can recruit like Coach Porter Memphis will be competing for a Big 12 title in a span of one full recruiting class (or four years).

Lastly the University of Memphis fans create one of the best atmospheres in college athletics.  They are passionate, enthusiastic, and will pack stadiums for games which will bring in money for the Big 12 Conference.  Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium may not be packed for games against UCF or East Carolina, but just wait until Mizzo or those Sooners come in for a game.  They will find out real quick how hostile Memphis fans can be.

The University of Memphis is ripe right now and is ready to be picked by a major conference.  If the Big 12 is smart they will add Memphis before other conferences begin to show an interest.

C.J. Hurt covers Memphis Tiger Football for MemphiSport.  Follow him on twitter @churtj09 for live tweets from all Tiger Football home games this season.


  1. “…and it only makes ‘since’ for Memphis to jump into the fray…” “Another reason it makes ‘since’ for the Big 12…”

    s.e.n.s.e., sense. As in, “…it only makes sense…” and “Another reason it makes sense…”

    “They will find out real quick how hostile Memphis fans can be.” Is this article written in a vernacular style for the pupose of reaching a regional audience? Please see the compostion below:

    They quickly will find out how really hostile Memphis fans can become.


    • Tiger smoke says:

      I think u of m leaders have not framed our advantages correctly. The tigers are a in a very legitimate growth position. Cincy and louisville and probably s florida would not be as good without that bcs label. All expansion choices should be based on growth and maybe not so much as right now wins and loses.

  3. As a Kansas fan, I would absolutely love to have Memphis in our conference…..I have always considered KU vs Memphis a fledgling rivalry, and I would support Memphis as a Big 12 team. Let’s make it happen!

  4. I was looking on rivals Memphis 2013 football recruiting class is really rising. did we offer this prep kid yet ?


  5. James Fletcher says:

    I think the Big 12 will add Cincinnati and Memphis in about a dozen years when this round of television contracts is due to expire. Then they’ll be able to provide two schools closer to West Virginia and divide into north/south divisions once again. The Big 12 south division would continue to be extremely competitive in football (Texas, Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor), while the Big 12 north division would be great in men’s basketball (Kansas, Memphis, Cincinnati). Texas could essentially continue to “run” the conference, and most of the other schools would be satisfied to be part of a competitive, high-profile conference. I’ll admit that the SEC, Pac-12, B1G, and ACC would be stronger in all sports overall, but the Big 12 would continue to provide a nice path to the college football playoff and possible national championship game berths. Hook ’em Horns! Jim Fletcher, 1997 UT-Austin alumnus


  1. […] conference expansion passing Memphis by (again), the Tiger’s could use a coach who has helped guide a non AQ team to a BCS game. […]

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