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One more team is lobbying the Big 12, and it’s a school we can all respect Cooper Neil/GettyImages
FORT WORTH, TX - DECEMBER 29: Mike DeWitt #25 of the Air Force Falcons tries to break free against the Rice Owls defense on December 29, 2012 during the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

On Friday, ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported that the Big 12 would hold meetings with 17 schools about conference expansion. At the time, we only knew 14 of those teams, but now we know all 17 of those original teams. (see below)

However, McMurphy later reported that one more school had obtained a meeting with the Big 12, and compared to Arkansas State and SMU — no offense, guys — this is a school that many more people respect, and would probably even enjoy in the Big 12: the Air Force Academy.

The Air Force actually already competes in the Big 12 in at least one sport (men’s wrestling), so they are not a complete stranger to the conference.

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As far as competition goes, Air Force has been to bowl games in eight of the last nine seasons. Over that time frame, the Falcons have a record of 69-49, which averages out to about 8-5 every year. The biggest drawback for them, though, is that the Big 12 may not seem them as the media draw that they are hoping to acquire in this expansion.

However, here are the teams that the Academy is going up against:

Arkansas State
Boise State
BYU
Cincinnati
Central Florida
Colorado State
Connecticut
Eastern Carolina
Houston
Memphis
New Mexico
Northern Illinois
San Diego State
SMU
South Florida
Temple
Tulane

How many programs there are legitimately better than Air Force? Five? Six? They may have gotten into the party late, but considering the level of teams involved here, don’t count out the Falcons so easily.

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Bo was born in Atlanta, GA, and has always been a savvy sports follower. He attended Georgia Tech and has previously worked with ESPN TrueHoop, HawksHoop, and the Georgia Tech Newsroom. He covers national college football for FanBuzz.
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