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BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston approved for Big 12 football membership

The Big 12 conference is slated to lose powerhouse programs Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC in the coming years. To help offset those impending departures, they’ve officially approved future membership to American Athletic Conference teams BYU, UCF Cincinnati and Houston as of Friday.

ESPN reported on the Big 12’s major college football news, which will see some of the more talented, rising programs in the country migrating to a more powerful conference:

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ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich and Adam Rittenberg reported that the teams could join the Big 12 as soon as the 2023 season, because they’re all required to give the AAC at least 27 months’ notice before leaving. Odds are, it’ll probably be another year before their transitions will be approved, but it could happen that quickly.

If nothing else, these newly minted Big 12 teams will bring a different flavor to the conference, which has been dominated by Oklahoma of late and features a lot of spread offenses without much defense to speak of.

BYU has produced a long line of successful quarterbacks, from San Francisco 49ers legend Steve Young to New York Jets No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. The Cougars, per the ESPN.com report, are intending to join the Big 12 in 2023-24, are a legitimate force to be reckoned with, and should benefit from this move in terms of overall recruitment.

The Big 12 has to be thrilled to welcome Cincinnati to the fold. Under the leadership of coach Luke Fickell and elite QB Desmond Ridder, the Bearcats are a legitimate College Football Playoff contender in 2021. As they continue to organically grow, this step up in conference caliber makes a lot of sense.

Over the last half-decade or so, UCF has risen as one of the premier mid-major football programs in the country. The Knights don’t often get to test against truly elite competition, which the Big 12 has more of the means to provide.

Finally, Houston definitely increases its upside by landing in the Big 12.

Although the Cougars may be the least-renowned team of the bunch, they have a storied history, featuring 1989 Heisman Trophy-winning QB Andre Ware, and more recently, a high first-round draft pick in defensive lineman Ed Oliver. Prior to 2019, Houston had posted 11 winning records in 13 seasons.

Related: College Football Top 25 Rankings – Alabama still heavy favorite after crushing Miami in Week 1