Yesterday Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News delivered what has to be the first Big XII expansion rumor out there that actually listed USF as a possibility, even if the Big XII were only to add one team to replace Missouri and stay at 10 members. Too bad the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
The problem is this story sounds so improbable. Basically with USF, they would be getting recruiting access to Florida (which also parries the SEC getting access to Texas recruits with A&M joining the league) and TV sets (Tampa-St. Petersburg is the largest local TV market on the expansion market) and teams they could beat the stuffing out of in the short term (USF would absolutely die in that league right now). And on our end, we would become the trust fund babies of college sports. EVERYONE would hate us, and no matter how much we admitted our good fortune, it wouldn't change any of that.
I know that different conferences have different nebulous criteria when they look to expand... but I just don't think that's how any of this really works. Think about this: What possible reason could there be for West Virginia and Louisville to both be passed over in favor of USF? If it's about fan bases, athletic budgets, athletic successes, fans that travel, or even facilities, they both have USF lapped. There's a reason those two schools have been prominently included in any expansion rumors for almost any league that was looking for new members. This rumor would make a lot more sense if the Big XII wants to be accurately named, and they need three teams. If they just want one, it's way out there.
Now think about this: If this rumor was somehow accurate, then Judy and Doug are Jedi masters. (It should be noted that in 2003, USF's name didn't come up until very late in the game when the Big East expanded.) But if it's just a shot in the dark with one or more deep-background sources... then who would this rumor be good for?