• Welcome to the Big 12, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado & Utah!

    The Big 12 Conference is a growing family! Four new family members arrive this fall (BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF) — and now, another four partners will join the league in 2024: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah!

    All four schools in the 2024 set are R1 and AAU universities, each was founded before its state became a state, and each is making the move from the Pac-12 to the Big 12. Their additions will likely secure the Big 12’s spot as one of the top three conferences in the country — and make the nation’s No. 1-ranked basketball conference even better.

    Baylor fans are likely familiar with Colorado from the Buffaloes’ previous stint in the Big 12. But it’s been awhile since we’ve seen them, and the other schools are all new — so let’s run through a quick primer on each of the Big 12’s newest members:

    Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona has roughly 50,000 students at its campus in Tucson. Athletically, UA is probably best known for its men’s basketball program, with its 1997 national championship and 18 Sweet 16s in the last 35 years — but the Wildcats have also seen great success in women’s basketball (2021 national runner-up), baseball (four national titles) and softball (eight national titles).

    Academically, Arizona is known for its MIS and nursing programs, and for its heavy investment in space research. Prominent alumni include Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney; actors Garry Shandling and Kristen Wiig; the owners of the New York Jets, Los Angeles Angels and Phoenix Suns; and notable athletes such as Jennie Finch, Rob Gronkowski and Trevor Hoffman.

    University of Arizona football stadium

    (Fun fact: Baylor football defeated Arizona 20-15 in the 1992 John Hancock Bowl, the 170th and final victory in the legendary career of Grant Teaff.)

    Also founded in 1885, Arizona State University has more than 50,000 students at its campus in Tempe. Athletically, ASU has won 24 NCAA titles, led by women’s golf (eight), baseball (five), and women’s tennis (three), and has had more Major League Baseball draft picks than any other school. The Sun Devils have won 17 conference titles in football and reached the Sweet 16 five times in men’s basketball.

    Academically, Arizona State is known for its engineering and business programs. Last year, it was ranked the No. 1 most innovative school in the nation by U.S. News (Baylor also made the top 20 in that list). Prominent alumni include fashion designer Kate Spade; Under Armour co-founder Ryan Wood; TV personalities Jimmy Kimmel and Al Michaels; and pro athletes Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, James Harden and Phil Mickelson.

    Arizona State football stadium

    (Fun fact: Baylor men’s basketball is 6-2 all-time against the Sun Devils, including an 87-78 win over then-No. 14 ASU in November 2008 that propelled the Bears back into the top 25 early in the Scott Drew era.)

    The University of Colorado was founded in Boulder in 1876, and enrolls about 40,000 students each year. Athletically, the Buffaloes were a long-time member of the Big Eight (1947-95) before joining Baylor as a founding member of the Big 12 (1996-2011). Colorado football won five Big Eight titles and one Big 12 championship (2001), and won the national championship in 1990.

    Academically, Colorado is known for its physics, geology, and aerospace engineering programs. It boasts five Nobel Prize winners, and is among the top 20 universities for most U.S. patents. Prominent alumni include Chipotle founder/CEO Steve Ells; actors Jonah Hill and Robert Redford; media personalities Chris Fowler, Jim Gray and Rick Reilly; and an incredible 18 astronauts.

    University of Colorado football stadium

    (Fun fact: Colorado sends more students to Baylor than any state besides Texas and California, and Denver boasts the most Baylor alumni of any city outside Texas.)

    The University of Utah was founded in 1850, making it the state’s oldest institution of higher education. It welcomes more than 30,000 students each year to its campus in Salt Lake City. Athletically, the Utes — named for a Native American tribe — have won 25 NCAA team championships, led by co-ed skiing (14) and women’s gymnastics (9). Their football team has won each of the last two Pac-12 titles, while their men’s basketball team ranks among the NCAA’s top 20 all-time in wins.

    Academically, Utah is known for its entrepreneurship and computer science programs. The school counts 22 Rhodes Scholars and four Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and faculty. Prominent alumni include political strategist Karl Rove; Pixar co-founder Edwin Catmull; Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart; ESPN reporter Holly Rowe; and pro athletes such as Andrew Bogut and Alex Smith.

    University of Utah football stadium

    (Fun fact: Utah ranks among Baylor’s least-faced Power-5 opponents. The Bears and Utes have never met in football, and have only squared off a combined five times in basketball (men’s and women’s) and baseball — with just one of those meetings coming in the last 45 years.)

    Sic ’em, Big 12 Conference!