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Big 12 News: Even Without Expansion, New Big 12 Is Tough

Another year, another new look in the Big 12. It's officially July, so TCU and West Virginia can be welcomed into the latest version of the Big 12. The latest version of the Big 12, despite having just ten teams, might be the toughest one yet... and that's without adding another team such as Florida State or Notre Dame (a pipe dream, but a dream at that) to the conference.

ESPN's David Ubben did a pretty good job breaking down the new-look Big 12.

The Big 12 decided that it was better off inviting great football teams, even if armies of fans wouldn't be following. In West Virginia's case, the Big 12 got both.

The result will be a brutal league in 2012 that's going to leave a whole lot of fans disappointed. Somebody's got to be. Three defending league champions will be taking the field in the Big 12 this season. Six (!) teams are coming off of 10-win seasons in 2011.

When you think about it, it is pretty crazy that the Big 12 will boast three defending conference champions in the conference next year. Obviously, the Big East and Mountain West Conference aren't as daunting as the Big 12 is, but it's still impressive nonetheless to boast three different conference champions in the same year.

The landscape of the Big 12 could change again next year, as rumors will continue to swirl about expansion over the next year, especially with the Big East looking like it's squeezed out of the new college football playoff picture.

For now, though, the Big 12 looks as strong as ever with ten teams.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.