Since West Virginia joined the Big 12 Conference on July 1st, 2012, the topic of further conference expansion has been a hot one that has hardly fizzled. All that was unknown is which schools may join the Big 12.
Originally, back in 2011-2012, it was thought that the University of Louisville was competing with West Virginia University for a spot in the Big 12. Others thought the above mentioned could possibly join along with the University of Cincinnati.
It would be only the Mountaineers...for the time being.
WVU's successful integration into the conference has sparked talks adding more members and a conference title game in Big 12 Football.
The current favorite to be added, according to The Oklahoman's Barry Tramel, seems to be the University of Cincinnati. The e-mail exchanges between Oklahoma University's President David Boren and Cincinnati's President Santa Ono express Boren's confidence in Ono being the President of Cincinnati, helping their cause in joining the Big 12.
Others that have garnered interest are Bringham Young, Connecticut, Boise State, and Central Florida,
WVU has faced both Cincinnati and Connecticut in conference play before in the old Big East conference.
WVU is set to play BYU in Football in 2016 at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland.
Boise State was at one point slated to join the Big East but those hopes fell through when the conference fell apart and the Broncos backed out along with Texas Christian University.
Adding Cincinnati to the Big 12 makes a lot of sense, not just for the conference but for WVU. The past heated contests between the Bearcats and the Mountaineers could resume again making for a better chance of a major Big 12 rivalry besides the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma.
WVU's head basketball coach, Bob Huggins, was also previously the head coach of Cincinnati for 16 seasons getting the Bearcats to two NIT tournaments and 14 NCAA Tournaments.
Most importantly, in a conference where the Mountaineers have to travel an astounding amount, adding an old neighbor in Cincinnati would relieve the Mountaineers of some of the pressures and tribulations of such extensive traveling. It would certainly set up the potential for a nearby rivalry between two old conference foes.