Big 12 expansion is moving to the next phase, and Cincinnati and Colorado State are both still involved.
Cincinnati is expected to be a favorite in expansion, and according to Jason Williams of The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bearcats have made the first cut.
The Bearcats are not alone. Jim Benemann of CBS 4 says the Colorado State Rams have also made the cut, which is supposedly down to 6-8 candidates.
The '6-8' number goes along with a Tuesday night report by Mark Blaudschun of TMG College Sports, who listed BYU, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis, UCF, and USF, along with two unnamed other AAC programs. Of course, that list raises some questions, as that would be nine schools if all are included. Obviously, Colorado State's status as a Mountain West program casts doubt on the Blaudschun report as well.
If correct, the Bearcats and Rams made it a step past at least one program: ECU. The Pirates, who had previously promised to "deliver the entire state of North Carolina" to the Big 12, announced today that they had been informed by Bob Bowlsby that they are no longer a candidate.
As of mid-August, the list of schools in the running for Big 12 expansion reached 20, and included teams like New Mexico, Rice, Tulane, and UNLV, all of which seemed very unlikely for various reasons. On August 7, reports emerged that the league as a whole likes BYU, while Oklahoma prefers Cincinnati and Texas likes Houston. Of course, this expansion seems to change by the day, so it is anyone's guess where things end up.