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Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark not hiding favoritism for teams staying in league

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark isn't hiding his favoritism for teams that will be staying in the conference.

Yormark said Wednesday that he plans to be at 11th-ranked Texas' final regular-season game as a Big 12 member when it hosts Texas Tech the night after Thanksgiving. The commissioner had a message for second-year Red Raiders coach Joey McGuire.

“Coach, I’m not going to put any pressure on you, but I’m going to be in Austin for Thanksgiving,” Yormark said as he addressed the Red Raider Club kickoff luncheon. “And you better take care of business like you did right here in Lubbock last year.”

The Red Raiders were 8-5 last season in McGuire’s debut and had their first winning record (5-4) in conference play since 2009. They beat both Texas and Oklahoma in the same season for the first time, both in overtime at home.

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The Longhorns and Oklahoma are going into their final Big 12 season before moving next year to the Southeastern Conference. When they announced two summers ago they were leaving, it was anticipated that they could remain through the 2024-25 academic year, coinciding with the league's current media rights deal. But things have worked out for them to go after this season, amid other changes.

“Candidly, we were able to get Texas and Oklahoma out a year early. That was a big deal for us, and I think all of you,” Yormark said, drawing applause from Tech fans.

There will be 14 teams in the Big 12 this season, with BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF coming in before Texas and Oklahoma switch leagues. The Big 12 will grow to 16 teams next year with the additions of current Pac-12 teams Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

“We went through a ton of modeling, different scenarios over the last year. We had a mission and a vision and we ultimately realized it,” Yormark said of expansion. “We got lucky because in life you need to get lucky, and we did. But the dream scenario was to go to 16, and we did.”

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football