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Big 12 mailbag: Expansion extravaganza edition

In this week's Big 12 Twitter mailbag, we discuss, well, you already know.

On to the 'bag:

In this week's Big 12 Twitter mailbag, we discuss, well, you already know.

On to the 'bag:

Trotter: In one afternoon, I think Houston went from being considered third or fourth in the pecking order to No. 1. That's what having the Texas president and state governor endorse your expansion candidacy publicly will do. Texas has only one vote. But there will be immense political pressure on Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU to join Greg Fenves. At this moment, it's difficult to see any Big 12 expansion that doesn't include the Coogs. Houston fans should be ecstatic.

Trotter: As of today, with the key word being "today," this is how I rank the expansion candidates, based solely on how I believe the Big 12 collectively views them: 1. Houston, 2. BYU, 3. Cincinnati, 4. UConn, 5. Central Florida, 6. Memphis, 7. Colorado State, 8. Tulane, 9. Boise State, 10. South Florida. Given the ACC extension of its grant of rights through 2036, the only Power 5 possibility out there would be from the Pac-12, with UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State topping the wish list. Getting one of those would be a home run for the Big 12, but obviously there would be major obstacles in the way, including the Pac-12's grant of rights, plus, not to mention, who knows if anyone from the Pac-12 would even be remotely interested?

Trotter: UConn would be the Big 12's gateway into the coveted New York market. Boise isn't even a top-100 TV market. That's why the Big 12 might be willing to overlook UConn's distance.

Trotter: It's going to be a factor in Memphis' favor, but that alone is not going to be what gets Memphis into the Big 12. Sure, FedEx has promised to sponsor the Big 12 championship, which is great for Memphis. But the Big 12 is not going to have any issue landing a sponsor for its title game. FedEx will also allow Memphis to ask for partial distribution through as far as 2024, but other schools that want in are going to be willing to accept just a slice of the distribution pie as well. FedEx is a factor. But if Memphis is going to get in, it's going to need to show it's more than just an extension of FedEx.

Trotter: If the Big 12 expands by two it's going to be tough, given that Houston seems to be locked in for one of those spots. But if the league expands by four, Memphis will have a real shot. The same goes for Colorado State and even possibly Tulane. Remember, the presidents are making these decisions. And Tulane's academic profile is something that is going to appeal to them, even while the football, well, stinks.

Trotter: This is how the Big 12 could get UCLA. Expand by three, which would net the league an extra $75 million per year. Then turn around and dangle that in front of the Bruins, to cover their Pac-12 of grant of right losses, plus a lot more. Would UCLA consider it? There's a lot of tension in the Pac-12 right now. Keep in mind, Kansas State collects twice as much in tier-3 revenue through K-StateHD.TV than UCLA gets from the Pac-12 Network. UCLA might also see the benefit of breaking away from USC the way Texas A&M did with Texas in bolting for the SEC. It is a long shot? Sure. But as one industry insider noted this week, if Larry Scott can flirt with Texas and Oklahoma over and over, what's stopping Bob Bowlsby from returning the favor and courting UCLA?

Trotter: Zero percent. The Pac-12 isn't what it was five years ago. And I could argue that, for all of it's turmoil, the Big 12 is somehow actually in better shape for the moment than the Pac-12 is. The Pac-12 Network is a major albatross for that league right now, and there doesn't appear to be any relief in sight.

Trotter: I think we've already seen that politics is going to be a major factor. I had one Big 12 source admit to me Thursday that he/she had underestimated how much Texas politics was going to play in all this. Maybe we should have seen this coming. Texas politics has played a role in realignment at every turn, going back to the inception of the Big 12, when Gov. Ann Richards helped get Baylor into the conference.

Trotter: As I mentioned before, the political pressure on Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech to join Texas on the Houston bandwagon is going to be significant. But does Texas want Houston in to the point it'd be willing to give up the Longhorn Network in a Big 12 Network bargain with Oklahoma? That would be a stunner. I don't think UT loves UH more than it loves the LHN. That said, keep an eye on David Boren. With Texas playing its hands so early, the ball is squarely now in OU's court.

Trotter: In case you all haven't seen this, this pretty much summed up the ridiculousness that was my Thursday.