College football expansion candidates in the group of 5

While the big boys in the Power 5 make the noise and headlines for moving from one major conference to another, the teams in the Group of 5 are affected as well. With the moves made by Texas and Oklahoma in 2021 and now USC and UCLA, the doors for a few Group of 5 programs to head to a Power 5 are open.

UCF, Houston, and Cincinatti have all joined the Big 12 and will start league play in 2023. The move made by the Big 12 helps solidify their conference for a little while longer. Does the Big 12 still hold the prestige when Texas and Oklahoma officially depart? No!

But the Big 12 conference still has a future as of right now. This does not mean the Big 12 is done adding teams. With USC and UCLA moving on the Big 10, the Pac-12 is obligated to seek new members and keep the ones they already have. If they fail to add members, the Pac-12 could lose its programs to the Big 12.

Geographically, most of the Pac-12 programs fit closer to the Big 12 than any other conference. Knowing that conference realignment is not over, there are a few Group of 5 programs that would fit well in either the Pac-12 or Big 12.

Boise State

The Broncos have been the trend setters for the smaller schools for over a decade. It started back when they stunned Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The plays that were made towards the end of the game were historic.

The last time the Power 5 conferences expanded, it was Utah and TCU that were chosen out of the lower conferences to join the big conferences. Most of us were stunned by the selections, but we understand it more about money than football. Unfortunately, Boise, Idaho doesn’t scream big market.

The Boise State Broncos should be one of the favorites to join the Pac-12 this time. Geographically, Boise is in a great spot. Not to mention, Boise State have been one of the winningest programs in all of college football. The Pac-12 could use a consistent winner with a unique home field advantage.

UNLV

The Rebels are an interesting program, but one with a nice media market. The UNLV Rebels are located in Las Vegas, Nevada and share a stadium with the Las Vegas Raiders. With the Los Angeles programs off to the Big 10, the Pac-12 could use Vegas. The city has been attracting major sporting events for decades now.

Unfortunately, UNLV is not the best football program at all. They live at the bottom of the FBS division year in and year out. If the program was able to turn itself around, I could see big games in Vegas. Besides the location, UNLV has adds no value.

USF

The Bulls have fallen on hard times since Jim Leavitt was let go. The program hasn’t been able to find the right coach since.

In that time span, USF was pushed into the AAC after the demise of the Big East. Their biggest rival, UCF have been the winningest program in the state of Florida. The Knights will also join the Big 12 in 2023. Effectively making the Knights a Power 5 program.

With that being said, USF media market is very appealing. The Knights have a large enrollment and sit in a recruiting hotbed. If the Bulls were to be added to the Big 12, the conference would have Orlando and Tampa media markets and a solid footprint in Florida. The rivalry between UCF and USF would continue and could possibly become bigger.

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