6. Fresno State Bulldogs
Of the rumors that the Big 12 would like to add the four Pac-12 “Corner State” schools (Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State), the conference would have to think hard about adding the two Arizona schools. What would the Wildcats and the Sun Devils really bring to the league?
Arizona State has had four losing seasons in the past eight years. The Sun Devils draw about 43,000 fans per home contest and finished 3-9 in 2022. New head coach Kenny Dillingham was tabbed to replace Herm Edwards, who was fired three games into last season. Edwards was 26-20 in his five seasons in charge and was under .500 against Pac-12 foes.
Arizona hasn’t finished the year with a winning record since 2017, including a 1-16 stretch between 2020 and 2021. The Wildcats’ attendance numbers are similar to Arizona State’s, and they have had just two players selected in the past three NFL Drafts.
Usher in Fresno State. The Bulldogs would provide the Big 12 with a prized piece of California for all the recruiting, monetary, and intangible benefits that the Sunshine State could offer. The program has also put together back-to-back 10-win seasons and has sent more players (four) to the NFL Draft than Arizona has in the past three years.
Fresno State isn’t in the Bay Area or southern California, but it drew more fans to home football games than four Pac-12 schools (California, Washington State, Oregon State, and Stanford) last year. The Bulldogs could shine given the opportunity to play in a bona fide power conference instead of playing in the Mountain West.