1. Tulane Green Wave
This was a season full of superlatives for the Tulane football program, including wins against future Big 12 programs such as Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati and culminating with a Cotton Bowl comeback win against reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and USC. The Wave finished with an AAC crown and a Cotton Bowl title.
Tulane finished the year with its highest ranking in the AP polls (No. 9) since the undefeated 12-0 squad from 1998 with Shaun King finished the season ranked No. 7.
Nearly just as important, Tulane head coach Willie Fritz is remaining with the school for his eighth season in charge next fall despite overtures from ACC programs like Georgia Tech. Fritz has a proven track record of winning at all his previous stops, including Sam Houston State and Georgia Southern.
Tulane offers significant benefits to the Big 12 as a potential new member: New Orleans is one of the nation’s top destination cities, and the high-quality high school recruiting pipeline of southern Louisiana is nearly unmatched. Though the year-to-year results haven’t shown a consistent winning program in the Big Easy, the 2022 season could be a sign of things to come for the Green Wave. Tulane will also be competing in a weakened AAC with the departure of the three aforementioned programs to the Big 12 this fall.
With the SEC adding programs like Oklahoma and Missouri in recent years, why shouldn’t the Big 12 consider adding more schools in the South like Tulane to partner with its newest addition of Central Florida?