Lots of rumors floating around Memphis the last few months that Memphis is a strong candidate for Big XII expansion, which is almost certain to take place in a few months.
I’m not getting my hopes up, and one of the prominent journalists in the heart of Big XII country gave me another reason to remain skeptical.
According to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman, Memphis is a “non-starter” for the Big XII.
In his weekly online chat, I asked Tramel about fan speculation that BYU, Boise, Cincinnati and Memphis could be added in order to bring the conference membership to 14 before adding a conference championship game and conference network.
Tramel had some harsh words to describe Memphis’ chances:
“Way down the list.”
He was not as harsh regarding the other candidates:
“Now, Connecticut is a different story. You put UConn and BYU into a Big 12 Network, and you’ve got a lot of eyeballs. Cincy and Boise State would be fine, too. But not Memphis. No football fan base. None at all.”
Someone should let Tramel know Memphis averaged over 43,802 per home game at the Liberty Bowl last year – a 29% increase from 2014 and higher than at least a dozen so called “Power 5” programs.
Also more than BYU, Boise, and Cincinnati and at least one current Big XII member (Kansas). But who’s counting?
Nevertheless, it’s always advisable to understand that when it comes to expansion rumors – those of the homegrown variety should be taken with a grain of salt.