Memphis straddles the border of Tennessee and Arkansas, which is SEC country, which could give the Big 12 a bit of a recruiting in-road against some of the mid or bottom-tier SEC programs. The Tigers have won at least eight games in each season since 2014, including 2019’s 12-1 mark before a loss in the Cotton Bowl to Penn State.
The Tigers, who do have a strong men’s basketball program, aren’t as much of an established Group of Five power as other schools on this list — and that’s what is driving the most recent round of conference realignment.
9. San Diego State
The Aztecs seem to be an odd choice geographically for a conference that has teams in the states of West Virginia and Iowa, but this addition could set up future moves for the Big 12.
Adding a team in southern California would give the league media and recruiting exposure in the nation’s most populous state. Perhaps just as importantly, adding San Diego State could set the league up for more additions out West, especially if the Pac-12 begins to disintegrate following a couple key departures. Whether it’s the Arizona schools, Utah, or UCLA, the Big 12 could make a coast-to-coast move in adding SDSU. Another positive of adding San Diego State would be providing a West Coast mate for another possible newcomer such as BYU, Colorado, or Colorado State.
Lastly, the Aztecs have finished with 10 or 11 wins in four of the past six seasons.