Yesterday the Big 12 voiced its intentions to start reviewing possible expansion candidates and set the world on fire. Lost somewhat in the fever pitch was the criteria by which schools will be evaluated. Per Bowlsby, "We're looking at the strength of the athletic programs, their competitiveness. We're looking at the fan base, access to media markets. And also we're very much looking at the reputations of the institutions for integrity."
"Strength of athletic programs" and "competitiveness" are overdone and trivial in my mind. What really matters is item number 3: "The fan base."
Using an area of science known as "Google Image Searching," we've ranked the prospective candidates' fanbases in the order the Big 12 should proceed. Trust us Big 12, this is the only way to do it.
Example: Iowa State Cyclones Fans
Iowa State Cyclone fan images are a nice mixture of what it means to be a Cyclone fan -- Joy, despair, aggravation, chicks pointing at you, Georges Niang, and a little Hawkeye-hating. This one is so accurate, it's scary.
Now that we've proven the accuracy, let's get to it, in descending order:
#8 University of Central Florida Knights Fans
I'm just going to say it, I expected so much better UCF. This is terrible. I award 1 point for the guy in the upper right corner giving a maximum effort, but everything else is a bunch of meh. Makes me think Central Florida is a more boring Purdue... ugh.
#7 Colorado State University Rams Fans
I'm not gonna hate on the kid in the ram costume... He's trying. CSU loses out because the entire search is basically three images: Ram kid, football team, fans holding hands straight up. Where's the innovation and creativity, Ram fans?
#6 UConn Husky Fans
UConn suffers the same fate as CSU -- apparently all they do is win women's basketball and have a freaky zombie dog. I almost penalized them more for basketball hair dad in the lower left, but he's kinda growing on me.
#5 Cincinnati Bearcat Fans
Lotta bros at Cincinnati... Lot. A. Bros. Also Nick Lachey, which is something -- 98 degrees right? Cincinnati gets a middling nod. Good effort, just not seeing anything special... Well, besides you Mr Lachey, you're special.
#4 BYU Cougar Fans
Look, I admit, I expected this article to bash BYU fans, but they surprised me. Sure, they're suffocatingly white -- I couldn't find a single minority unless one of the blue-man groups has one. Their signs are weak, there are quite a few old people, but damnit if they don't look like they're having a good time. It almost makes me want to go to Provo (vomits in mouth a little).
#3 University of Memphis Tigers Fans
Memphis has a nice mix of cheerleaders, roaring fans, semi-famous basketball coaches and half-naked-fat-dudes-playing-fake-guitar-on-a-megaphone. It's a pretty classic look. Memphis looks like a fanbase on the rise.
#2 University of South Florida Bulls Fans
Okay, okay, we get it South Florida, you have a lot of women. So yes, they get a lot of points for all the ladies, but look at what else they bring to the table -- body paint dudes, some sort of glitter body paint dudes, some guy in a bra, and the ability to blend "USF" signage with "Go Bulls" signage effectively!
Okay yeah, they got here because of the ladies.
#1 University of Houston Cougars Fans
The University of Houston takes the fan base crown with a really nice collection of images. We have happy fans with arms going in multiple directions, a strangely fascinating dancing underwear dude, some girl on girl paint action and the cherry on top is the fan being tackled by security. It takes a lot of effort to get an image like that into Google's top search results, so fist bump, Houston (We'd also like you to meet our friend, West Virginia).