Since 2012, the only Big 12 team that is in the eastern time zone has been West Virginia. Upon the addition of four new members to the conference last week, there are now three members who are in the eastern time zone, including University of Central Florida, who is completely reshaping the way people look at the Big 12.
UCF is going to be a destination for many fans of fellow Big 12 schools. Located in Orlando, UCF will have hot weather, full stadiums and should be a strong addition to the conference.
Recently, UCF has been a strong football school. In 2017, UCF went undefeated in the regular season before beating No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl, and claimed they had won the national championship. Although they did not win the title in 2017, that season has helped springboard this program into what should be a program able to compete for a Big 12 Championship.
In addition to the emergence of its football program, UCF will also help reshape what people think of the Big 12 as. Historically, the Big 12 has gone through the midwest and down through Texas. Now, with the addition of UCF and Cincinnati, the east coast will start to turn into more of a breeding ground for these Big 12 schools.
UCF will be a challenge for most schools to travel to, as UCF is halfway across the country from the majority of Big 12 teams. If you look at other conferences such as the Big 10, schools like Maryland and Rutgers reshaped the Big 10 to move more towards the eastern half of the United States and the Big 12 is now doing that with Cincinnati, UCF and West Virginia.
The addition of UCF will put the Big 12 on a more national stage. Fans will be intrigued by having a school in Florida, and with the recent success the Knights have had, it will be hard to think that the current members won’t be happy to welcome a new challenger to the table.
Photo from UCF athletics