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How does USF compare to future Big 12 teams UCF, BYU, Cincinnati and Houston?

We looked at a few metrics the Big 12 is reportedly valuing in this round of expansion.
UCF is set to charge into the Big 12, leaving USF behind in the AAC.
UCF is set to charge into the Big 12, leaving USF behind in the AAC. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2017) ]
Published Sep. 9

Big 12 expansion ramped up Wednesday when UCF and Cincinnati formally applied to to join the league, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer and UCF’s Rivals site. The Big 12 is also expected to add Houston and BYU with an announcement coming as soon as Friday.

As those four programs prepare to join a Power Five conference, USF is stuck in the AAC. To see why, you have to understand what the Big 12 values in this round of realignment. Those factors include TV audience, football relevance/success, market size and a fan base’s engagement, according to reports from The Athletic, Sports Illustrated, CBS and The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy.

Let’s see how USF compares to the others in those areas:

Related: As conference realignment begins, USF picked a bad time to be bad at football

Football record since 2011

USF: 55-66

UCF: 84-43

Cincinnati: 85-42

Houston: 78-47

BYU: 82-48

Recent football success

Houston's recent football success includes a win over Florida State in the Peach Bowl.
Houston's recent football success includes a win over Florida State in the Peach Bowl. [ DAVID GOLDMAN | AP (2015) ]

USF: Top-25 finishes in 2016-17, rose to No. 2 nationally in 2007 before finishing unranked

UCF: Three New Year’s Six/BCS bowl games since 2013, undefeated in ‘17

Cincinnati: Three New Year’s Six/BCS bowl games since 2008, now ranked in top 10

Houston: Three coaches have won double-digit games since 2006, beat Florida State in 2015 Peach Bowl

BYU: Six seasons with double-digit wins since 2006, including 11-1 record last year

Related: Jeff Scott’s on USF’s role in conference realignment: ‘Go win’

NFL draft picks since 2011

Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. [ MATT LUDTKE | AP ]

USF: 14

UCF: 21

Cincinnati: 16

Houston: 15

BYU: 11

Social media following (Instagram + Twitter + Facebook)

USF: 197,000

UCF: 387,000

Cincinnati: 167,000

Houston: 247,000

BYU: 348,000

Related: USF ‘going to’ build on-campus football stadium, board of trustees chair says

TV market rank (homes)

USF: No. 13 (2 million)

UCF: No. 17 (1. 7 million)

Cincinnati: No. 36 (926,000)

Houston: No. 8 (2.6 million)

BYU: No. 30 (1.1 million)

Average TV viewership on ESPN/ABC/Fox (2015-19)*

The USF-UCF thriller in 2017 drew 4.6 million viewers on ABC.
The USF-UCF thriller in 2017 drew 4.6 million viewers on ABC. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2017) ]

USF: 1.8 million

UCF: 3.3 million

Cincinnati: 2.1 million

Houston: 2.3 million

BYU: 2.0 million

Games with more than 2 million viewers (2015-19)*

USF: 5

UCF: 7

Cincinnati: 8

Houston: 10

BYU: 8

Average home attendance (2015-19)*

USF: 33,266

UCF: 38,424

Cincinnati: 33,139

Houston: 26,736

BYU: 57,078

Sources: Nielsen, Sports Media Watch

* Note: The pandemic made 2020 an outlier in attendance and viewership, so we excluded it from these categories.

Related: Five stories that will shape the next 25 years of USF football

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