UCF Knights A Prime Candidate to Join Big 12

Big 12 expansion has been a hot discussion topic this offseason and it only heated up Monday afternoon on ESPN’s College Football Live.

During a debate between ESPN’s Joe Schad and BYU alum Trevor Matich about whether or not BYU is a good candidate to earn an invite into the premier college football conference, Schad rebutted with two candidates of his own.

“I think BYU is an extreme longshot,” Schad said, via UCFSports.com. “Not that they’re not an outstanding program. There was a missed opportunity with Louisville who went to the ACC. I think they would have been a terrific choice. But if and when the Big 12 expands, and maybe it’s three times in a row they get squeezed out of the College Football Playoff, if that were to happen, I think Cincinnati and the University of Central Florida would be two outstanding places to go. You want to get into different areas for recruiting and for television.”

Central Florida proved they were capable of competing at such an elite level, defeating Big 12 champion Baylor in an unforgettable Fiesta Bowl matchup this past January, 52-42. The program has been on a rapid ascension since head coach George O’Leary took over in 2004, culminating in the school’s first BCS bowl berth last season.

UCF has been a member of the FBS (Division-1, Football Bowl Subdivision) since just 1996, building a competitive football program that helped produce third-overall pick Blake Bortles in this past May’s NFL draft. Though lesser known than fellow Florida schools such as the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Miami, UCF is making its presence felt and it has the market to make it a worthwhile addition to the Big 12 Conference.

As Schad noted, the school has “excellent facilities” and is a “big school” in one of the best football states in the country. The Big 12 has Texas and Oklahoma covered, but a team from Florida could do wonders for them in terms of recruiting and—perhaps more importantly—television revenue.