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Introducing EXPANSIONPALOOZA 2016: Examining Big 12 Expansion Candidates

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We're going to find out just what fans of potential expansion candidates think... of themselves.

Will the conference finally find those two "I"s? Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Realignment, oh how we've missed you. It's the hottest topic in college athletics, even when there isn't actually any realignment going on; last Saturday we simply retweeted our "go after LSU" story from one year prior and it was the biggest traffic generator on the site for the entire week. There is nothing people love talking about more, except perhaps certain band formations.

This really isn't anything new, either. Although most fans tend to think of the "realignment age" as having begun with Penn State's move to the Big 10, it's really been a thing... well, forever. It's a shame we didn't have the internet back in 1933. Can you imagine the #TwitterFire from the then-13 SEC teams bolting the Southern Conference? Kinda giddy just imagining it, to be honest. The ACC was born 20 years later in exactly the same fashion. The Big 8 (at the time the Big 6) actually predated the SEC in the "Y'all too small for us" competition, breaking away from the Missouri Valley in 1927.

In fact, the perception that conferences grew by extending invitations to independents was never true. The major conferences were formed either via divorce or the banding together of independent schools, and with a few notable exceptions every time the major conferences have expanded it's been a case of the major conference poaching a smaller one, and that's a paradigm which goes back to the 1950s.

And make no mistake: although there was no internet, there was talk. It wasn't uncommon to see sportswriters discussing things such as the possibility of Notre Dame joining the Big Ten even when your grandpa was just a wee Wildcat-in-training. People used to dream up massive realignment scenarios and send them via the postal service to sports editors. (They also used to ask questions like "When is Washburn going to become a big-time school again?" The idea of schools spending money to boost their athletic profile is also not a new one.)

So here we are, six years removed from the beginning of the second-messiest divorce ever covered by sportswriters, and it's time for our annual flagellation of the topic. This time out, we're going all-in. We've reached out to the editors of the five SB Nation blogs actually devoted to legitimate Big 12 expansion candidates (South Florida, Brigham Young, Connecticut, Cincinnati, and Boise State), and to the editors of Underdog Dynasty and Mountain West Connection to gather intel on the other five (Memphis, Tulane, Central Florida, Houston, and Colorado State).

Over the next ten weekdays, starting Monday, we'll provide you some noon reading with a Q&A between Jon and the respective blogger from the candidate school -- and then in the afternoon, a BotC writer will present a rebuttal. Some of those rebuttals may be deadly serious; some may be more tongue-in-cheek than anything. None of those rebuttals, however, will be written by Panjadrum. Sorry, guys. I tried. I really did.

The schedule, assuming nothing goes awry:

DATE SCHOOL
Monday, May 16 South Florida
Tuesday, May 17 Memphis
Wednesday, May 18 Brigham Young
Thursday, May 19 Connecticut
Friday, May 20 Tulane
Monday, May 23 Colorado State
Tuesday, May 24 Central Florida
Wednesday, May 25 Houston
Thursday, May 26 Cincinnati
Friday, May 27 Boise State