In the spirit of conference realignment and the questions it poses, sometimes the answer lies in your past. The major question surrounding the Big 12 currently is that of adding new members and determining what schools to try and add into the fold. There are multiple valid answers to this and multiple schools that would fit in well with the rest of the conference. One of these answers is a reunion with a founding member of the Big 12, The University of Colorado at Boulder. Here’s why the Big 12 should look at a reunion with Colorado in the next round of realignment.
Culturally speaking, Colorado as a campus fits in well with the members of the Big 12 in that they’re a healthy mix of being an academic and a “party” school. Ranking in the top 25 of Niche’s rankings of party schools and being an R1 Doctoral Research University, which is in the upper echelon of colleges nationally. This combination of a good time and a good education is what makes them fit in well with other members of the conference such as Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, and others. They also fit in well with other Big 12 Members in their traditions such as Ralphie’s Run before football games.
Boulder Itself is Stunning
Located in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is set in front of a stunning backdrop of massive mountains towering over the town. Boulder is also consistently ranked among the top 25 most beautiful college towns, and it’s not hard to see why. Many fans in the Big 12 are familiar with Boulder and the stunning landscape surrounding the town from when they were members of the conference prior to them leaving for the Pac 12 in 2010. The scenic mountains and colorful town surrounding the campus combine to make a very attractive destination for opposing fans to visit when their team is in town.
Many Big 12 fans can remember the days when Colorado was in the upper echelon of College football, capturing the coveted AP National Championship in 1990 under Hall of Fame coach Bill McCartney. Colorado ranks 27th in all of college football with 716 total wins. Colorado is also on the rise as a program due to their recent hiring of Deion Sanders. Although it’s only been two months, the momentum the program has generated under Coach Prime makes a return to football prominence significantly more likely. This would be a perfect program to add for the Big 12 as they are on the rise and would create even more quality competition within the conference. The iconic Folsom Field would be a great addition to the lineup of beautiful stadiums that the conference boasts.
Television Market Exposure
Adding Colorado also brings with it the Denver television market which ranks 17th in the nation, containing over 1.79 Million households, and a window to the massive region of the Rocky Mountains. This adds to the already expanding tv exposure of the Big 12 from the addition of the 4 new members, which is a win-win situation for all parties involved. The Big 12 gets added revenue from the Denver market, and Colorado gets to jump ship from the failing Pac-12 Conference back home to the Big 12.
Ultimately, adding Colorado to the conference should be a no-brainer for the Big 12 to pursue. The writing is on the wall for the PAC 12 with the departure of USC & UCLA, and it is seemingly a matter of time until it all falls down. Whether it be the cultural fit with the conference, the prior history with the Big 12, their recent athletic revival, or valuable added TV revenue, bringing the ‘Buffs back into the fold of the Big 12 should be high on the list of Commissioner Brett Yormark during the next round of realignment.