Air Force To The Big 12? | Sharapova's Thigh

Texas A&M saying that they would like to leave the Big 12 Conference by July 2012 has left us with two questions:

1. What conference do they want to go to instead? The answer to that is apparently the SEC.

2. Who would replace them in the Big 12? The answer to that is unknown.

However, in regards to the second question, we at least have some schools being mentioned as possibilities.

The schools that seem to be getting the most talk to be Texas A&M's replacement are Arkansas(SEC), BYU(Independent), Notre Dame(Independent), and Pittsburgh(Big East).

But today, another school was mentioned that has apparently been in contact with the Big 12: the Mountain West Conference's Air Force Falcons. That's according to CBS Sports:
Air Force has joined the list of schools that the embattled league has interest in, CBSSports has learned. Add the academy along with Arkansas, BYU, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame to the list of schools whose names have been attached to a rebuilt Big 12. Air Force's name surfaced during recent speculation about Big East expansion. It is not immediately clear with the attraction of the academy, but at this point the Big 12 can't be picky.
I live within an hour of the Air Force Academy, and went to Colorado State University, which is also in the Mountain West. So, I'm very familiar with their football program, and their athletics in general. And I have to say that I'd be pretty much stunned if they ended up in the Big 12 anytime soon.

For one, I'm not even sure Air Force would feel much need to join the conference. The Mountain West is a great situation for them, both in terms of location comparable to the other schools in the conference, and the level of competition in the conference.

Let's face it(and this is not meant to be a knock on them): Air Force's football program's abilities are limited in comparison to other programs. People that are going to Air Force now for football are likely the same people that would be going to Air Force if the football team were ranked top-10 in the country. A top-100 recruit in the country may love the idea of playing in a great conference(Big 12) and for a great coach(Troy Calhoun), but if he can't handle the collegiate rigors of being a cadet, he's not going to choose Air Force. Again, this is not a knock on them, it's just that only so many young athletes can handle the Air Force lifestyle.

And as for the Big 12's thinking here, I have to think that Air Force is just a part of their "feeling out" process. The Big 12 is going to look at all possible options, and use any interested schools to get the main target to possibly cave.

For example, say Notre Dame(a financial gold mine, of course) is the Big 12's main target, and they are thinking about joining the conference. Well the Big 12 can say, "We're close to an agreement with Air Force...", and possibly Notre Dame finally says, "Okay, fine, we'll do it", before they have a chance to weigh their other options as much as they'd hoped.

Additionally, with every school that's mentioned as a Big 12 possibility, comes more Big 12 publicity. This is essentially a terrific free advertising situation for them.

So, while Air Force may be considered a possibility to join the Big 12 if Texas A&M indeed leaves, you'd have to think that the chances that they will be a part of the conference in the near future are minuscule at best. But, I will say that schools such as Texas and Oklahoma playing conference games at Falcon Stadium(which every college football fan needs to visit) would be absolutely awesome.

Get The Latest Thigh Updates By Following Us On Twitter.