Get to know the newest members of the Big 12
By now, you’ve probably heard the news — that the Big 12 Conference is going to expand by four members in the next few years, adding BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston.
Baylor fans are likely familiar with Houston, as a fellow Texas school (and former Southwest Conference opponent) — but what about the other schools? That’s why we’re here with a quick primer on each of the Big 12’s newest members:
BYU will become the Big 12’s third private school, joining Baylor and TCU on that short list. Founded in 1875, the school has more than 33,000 students at its campus in Provo, Utah. The Cougars come to the Big 12 after having competed as an independent in football (and in the West Coast Conference for most other sports) since 2011. Prominent alumni include Philo Farnsworth (co-inventor of the television), best-selling author Stephen Covey, Jeopardy! all-time champion Ken Jennings, and pro athletes such as Danny Ainge and Steve Young.
Here’s how BYU introduced itself on Twitter:
Hi everyone 👋
📍 Founded in 1875
💵 Utah economy ranks #1 in the nation (U.S. News & World Report)
👩🎓 33,000+ students
🌎 Students from all 50 states and 100+ countries
🍫🥛 When you visit Provo, don’t miss the world-famous BYU Creamery chocolate milk
— BYU (@BYU) September 10, 2021
(Fun fact: Baylor football beat a Steve Young-led BYU team in the 1983 season opener; the Cougars would then win their next 25 games in a row, including the 1984 national championship.)
Central Florida will become the Big 12’s youngest and largest university. Founded in 1963, the school has more than 70,000 students at its campus in Orlando, Fla. The Knights come to the Big 12 from the American Athletic Conference, where the football team put together a perfect 13-0 season and finished sixth nationally in 2017. Prominent alumni include actress Cheryl Hines, comedian Daniel Tosh, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, and pro athletes such as Daunte Culpepper and Blake Bortles.
Here’s how UCF introduced itself on Twitter:
A little about us 😎:
📍 Founded in 1963
🔬 Set out to become the world’s leading public metropolitan research university
🚀 Forefront of space exploration
⚔️ 50% of FTIC students graduate with no educational debt
🦆 Yes, we run into a pond for ducks https://t.co/wX5lmofH8g
— UCF (@UCF) September 10, 2021
(Fun fact: Five years after its founding, UCF officially opened its doors in 1968 — the same year as Moody Library.)
Cincinnati will become the only Big 12 school older than Baylor. Founded in 1819, the school has more than 46,000 students. The Bearcats come to the Big 12 from the American Athletic Conference, and are perhaps best known athletically in basketball, having won two national championships (1961-62) and reached the Final Four six times. Prominent alumni include former U.S. President William Howard Taft, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Charles Dawes, Golden Gate Bridge designer Joseph Strauss, and pro athletes such as Sandy Koufax and Oscar Robertson.
Here’s how UC introduced itself on Twitter:
Allow us to introduce ourselves:
📍 Founded in 1819
🌎 Global birthplace of cooperative education
🔬 Research 1 University
📸 “Among the world’s most beautiful campuses.” –Forbes
🍝 And yes, we eat chili on spaghetti.https://t.co/zXNc7xZWO7
— U of Cincinnati (@uofcincy) September 10, 2021
(Fun fact: After walking on the moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong joined the UC faculty in 1971, teaching a full courseload of aerospace engineering until 1980.)
Houston is based in what will become the Big 12’s largest city. Founded in 1927, the school has more than 45,000 students. The Cougars come to the Big 12 from the American Athletic Conference, but are best known to Baylor fans from their days as Southwest Conference rivals (1972-95). Prominent alumni include Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz, actor Dennis Quaid, and notable athletes such as Hakeem Olajuwon and Carl Lewis.
Here’s how UH introduced itself on Twitter:
Hi there! 👋:
📍 Founded in 1927
🌇 Located in nation’s 4th largest city
😻 Over 47,000 students (and counting!)
🌐 One of the most diverse public research universities in the U.S.
🐾 Yes, our cougar only has four toes.https://t.co/vayWjs25XI
— University of Houston (@UHouston) September 10, 2021
(Fun fact: Before joining the SWC, Houston competed as a football independent from 1960-75.)
Sic ’em, Big 12 Conference!