It’s official. The Big 12 Conference will be a 14-team league beginning on July 1, 2023.
Four teams – BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston – will join the conference next summer, giving the Big 12 its largest membership in the history of the league.
While we are still more than 12 full months away from that taking place, it’s never too early to get to know the new conference foes that West Virginia will be competing against.
First, let’s take a look at what the landscape of the Big 12 will look like once those four teams join.
As you can see, the Big 12’s footprint will be vast. It will be the farthest-stretching conference among the Power 5 by a long shot.
More than 2,300 miles separate Brigham Young and Central Florida, the two schools with the most distance between them in the league.
The 306-mile route from Morgantown to Cincinnati is a familiar one for WVU fans. West Virginia and the Bearcats squared off from 2005 to 2012 in the Big East.
The Mountaineers own an all-time record of 16-3-1 against the Bearcats on the gridiron.
Among the four schools joining the Big 12, Cincinnati not only has the most on-field history with West Virginia, but also is the closest program to the Mountaineers, geographically.
BYU, meanwhile, is the farthest away. More than 1,900 miles and multiple time zones separate Morgantown and Provo, Utah.
While Central Florida isn’t exactly a common opponent of the Mountaineers, Florida is familiar territory. Some of the best athletes in WVU history have come from the Sunshine State.
North Central Regional Airport (Clarksburg) is among the many airports in and around the Mountain State that offer frequent flights to Orlando.
The trip from WVU to UCF is 902 miles, which will be the third-shortest trip on West Virginia’s schedule. However, the trek from Morgantown to Houston will register as the third-longest for the Mountaineers.
Below is how far away each member of the Big 12 is from WVU’s campus.
Cincinnati – 306 miles
Iowa State – 862 miles
Central Florida – 902 miles
Kansas – 903 miles
Kansas State – 983 miles
Oklahoma State – 1,085 miles
Oklahoma – 1,138 miles
Texas – 1,205 miles
Texas Christian – 1,239 miles
Baylor – 1,297 miles
Houston – 1,320 miles
Texas Tech – 1,467 miles
Brigham Young – 1,930
Beginning in July of 2023, eight of WVU’s road opponents will require a journey of more than 1,000 miles.
That means that only five are located within that 1,000-mile threshold. However, for the first time since joining the Big 12, the Mountaineers will have an opponent that is under a five-hour drive away.
The Big 12 will continue to operate as a 10-team conference for the 2022-23 academic year. It will then be a 14-member league for up to two years, at which time Oklahoma and Texas will exit for the SEC.
West Virginia has been part of the Big 12 since 2012.