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Big 12 Conference Realignment: There are big implications for the WCC here

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BYU is being tossed around as a potential suitor for the Big 12 expansion, and this isn't a good thing for the WCC.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, the Big 12 is talking about expanding from 10 teams to 12 teams. It just so happens that one of the teams being thrown around in that conversation is BYU.

There are a lot of reasons for this, and the main one is that at the end of the day, football rules the college sports world. The Big 12 is deceiving because right now it comprises 10 teams. It is unique that because of that, they are the only of the Power 5 conferences to not have a conference championship game in football, because rules require a league to have 12 or more teams for that.

Football nuts have said that expansion would possibly increase the Big 12's playoff chances by 10-15 percent. That is a lot of extra money.

So that is why the Big 12 is expanding, and that is why it is possibly going to swallow up BYU -- because BYU has a good football team that currently doesn't have a home, and then the Big 12 has a better chance to make a lot more money.

All of this obviously matters

Mark Few called out other schools in the WCC for being a bunch of bumps on a log, and rightfully so. Those criticisms were not directed at BYU, however. The Cougars have consistently been a contender for both the NCAA Tournament and the WCC crown each year since they joined. With BYU, the WCC finally had graduated from being a constant one-bid league to a conference that can land multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament.

That is a big deal, mainly because one of Gonzaga's biggest issues with its conference is that it is generally garbage. On certain years, the garbage has only been left on the side of the road to smell for a few days, and on other years, that garbage smell is the stale five-week in August heat stink.

At the end of the day, as much as all of us probably dislike all of the BYU fans, coaches, players, etc, playing BYU twice a year for Gonzaga is only a good thing.

Conference realignment is a bunch of precariously balanced dominos

Matt Brown with Vanquish the Foe has done a great job detailing all of this, and if BYU bolts, there are rather large implications for the WCC as a whole. Much of that has to do with what happens to the WAC. I highly recommend you read his article, which does a great job of spelling it out, but this sentence basically sums up the issues facing a conference that has been reduced to eight schools.

There are two universities whose long-term membership in the WAC is especially tenuous.

If one or two schools from the WAC decide to no longer be a part of the WAC, the WAC doesn't necessarily have to collapse. But in this dog eat dog world of NCAA athletics, it becomes a lot harder to maintain relevancy and financial stability.

If BYU jumps ship, and the WAC falls apart, the WCC will probably come sniffing

There are three schools in the WAC that fit the WCC's geographic profile: Cal State University, Bakersfield, Grand Canyon University and Seattle University. If the WAC collapsed, Cal State University would most likely join the Big West Conference, a school with nine teams (eight of which are in California and then the University of Hawaii). That leaves Seattle University and Grand Canyon University.

Basketball is the name of the game in the West Coast Conference, and unfortunately, neither Grand Canyon University and Seattle University provide much in the realm of excitement there. Seattle was ranked No. 299 by Ken Pomeroy. Grand Canyon was a bit more respectable at No. 129 last season, but they were ranked No. 271 in the 2014-15 season.

The WCC could very well say hello to Seattle University

Of those two teams, the WCC would most likely go for Seattle University. Seattle has a lot of things going for it: Jesuit university, another school in Gonzaga and Portland's region, and an official entry into the large market of Seattle.

Grand Canyon has a few things going for it: better athletics than Seattle, but that is about it. Grand Canyon University is officially a for-profit university, and that most likely isn't going to change soon. There isn't much else that makes people in the education world cringe like the words "for-profit." For-profit universities are being more and more scrutinized by the U.S. Government, and, hypothetically, Grand Canyon could face some sort of financial, legal, or general trouble if the rules and regulations change.

Or...absolutely nothing could happen

This is the joys of watching conference realignment churn. Sometimes, there is just a lot of talk and not a lot of action. As good of a chance as there is that BYU could hop out of the WCC, there is just as good of a chance that the Big 12 will decide on a different school.

All of this is a rather long-winded way of saying, hey, let's pay attention to the Big 12 realignment, because it might affect us down the road.