IRVING, Texas — Following the departure of the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas to the SEC, the Big 12 has approved the invitation of four new members to the conference.
Brigham Young University, University of Central Florida, University of Houston and the University of Cincinnati received invitations to complete the 12 team league that has lost four members to the SEC since 2012.
The conference the vote Friday morning, the eight remaining schools unanimously approving the invitations.
Here’s a look at the new conference competitors.
“People see BYU as a Power Five team. … See that logo, they don’t really know they’re an independent, and think they’re tied into a Power Five conference. Central Florida has 71,000 students and they’re in a heck of a television market, and they have a heck of a recruiting base and they’ve played good football now,” Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy said. “Then you have Cincinnati, who has a a big television market. There’s a lot of people that live in that part of the country. And that logo has grown in popularity in the last few years, and they’re winning.”
Brigham Young University Cougars (BYU) – Independent
2020 record: 11-1
Head coach: Kalani Sitake
BYU has been independent since leaving the Mountain West Conference in 2011.
The alma mater of Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, safety Daniel Sorenson and former center Orrin Olsen, brings a rich history to the Big 12.
The football program was started in 1892 when the school was known as Brigham Young Academy. The program experienced decades of success under head coach LaVell Edwards who coached from 1972 to 2000.
Edwards is the namesake of the team’s home stadium.
BYU claims a national title in 1984, finishing as the only team in Division 1-A with an undefeated record and defeating Michigan in the Holiday Bowl.
The football program has produced some big names in the NFL over the years including the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft Zach Wilson, three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time MVP Steve Young, two-time Super Bowl champion Jim McMahon.
University of Central Florida Knights (UCF) – AAC
2020 record: 6-4
Head coach: Guz Malzahn
UCF started as a NCAA Division II program in 1979 and ascended to the top flight of NCAA football in 2996.
The school ended the 2017 undefeated and claims a national championship despite not being selected into the College Football Playoff.
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Mike Hughes played for UCF during the 2017 season and was drafted as the 30th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Knights have made 12 bowl games with a record of 5-7.
Notable NFL players who attended UCF include, three-time Pro-Bowler Daunte Culpepper, two-time Super Bowl champion Asante Samuel, six-time Pro-Bowler Brandon Marshall and Super Bowl champion guard Josh Sitton.
University of Cincinnati Bearcats (UC) – AAC
2020 record: 9-1
Head coach: Luke Fickell
The University of Cincinnati is one of the oldest programs in the country. They first fielded a team in 1885 and played in the first intercollegiate football game in Ohio against the University of Miami-Ohio in 1888.
The program joined the AAC in 2013 after stings with Conference USA (1996-2004) and the Big East Conference (2005-2012).
The Bearcats have 15 conference championships dating back to 1933 in the Buckeye Athletic Association. They currently hold the 2020 AAC conference championship crown.
Cincinnati is the alma mater of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his brother Jason who plays center for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kelce’s touchdown in Super Bowl LIV was the first ever touchdown by a University of Cincinnati player.
University of Houston Cougars (UH) – AAC
2020 record: 3-5
Head coach: Dana Holgorsen
Houston fielded their first football team in 1945 and joined the Lone Star Conference a year later.
The Cougars would then form part of the Gulf Coast Conference (1949-1950), Missouri Valley Conference (1951-1959), Southwest Conference (1976-1995) and Conference USA (1996-2012), before joining the AAC in 2013.
Houston was independent from 1960 to 1975.
Throughout their history, the Cougars have won 11 conference championships, most recently in 2015 after finishing 13-1 overall and 7-1 in conference.
Perhaps one of the most notable players to suit up for the Cougars is quarterback Case Keenum.
Keenum went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, despite throwing 48 touchdown passes and 5,632 passing yards his senior year.
He also holds the record for the most career passing completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns, games with 300+ yards and several others in NCAA history.