Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is the one the Big 10 and others are using to evaluate potential members. Here's the top of the Big 12: 1. University of Colorado (#34) 2. University of Texas (#38) 3. Texas A&M University (#88) Lots of surprises on the list, actually. Especially with how bad the Big 12 is. I couldn't even find a couple within the top 500.