Blog Entry

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Posted on: March 2, 2010 11:20 am
Edited on: March 3, 2010 11:04 am

If this were a child birth, the head would be showing.

Big Ten expansion is moving along faster than Joy Behar's mouth. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that it makes financial sense for the league to add any one of at least five candidates -- Notre Dame, Missouri, Rutgers, Syracuse or Pittsburgh.

The story goes on to say those are only the "obvious" candidates. There could be others. In a sidebar, Rutgers is identified as the favorite! Missouri is second and Pittsburgh is third.

Whoa, slow down. I thought we were only in the discussion stage. Based on what has broken in the last few days, we're going to know a 12th Big Ten/11 team by the summer. Maybe more. The league isn't going to necessarily stop at one. If the Big 12 and Big East weren't on alert before, they are now.

This report answers a key question I had about this whole thing: Which of those schools bring enough to the table financially to guarantee a minimum $22 million payout per year. This tells me that the Big Ten TV partners -- Big Ten Network, CBS and ABC/ESPN -- have signed off on expansion as a profit center.

The Big Ten has hired an investment firm to analyze candidates. Last week Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez was quoted as saying the league had hired a research firm to look at 15 potential candidates. Alvarez the right school or schools would have to "buy their way in" to the Big Ten.

At least he was being honest about it.

I talked to a source familiar with the Pac-10 who said he isn't sure that league will do anything. Unlike the Big Ten, there aren't the slam dunk candidates out there. Utah and Colorado, for example, don't deliver that much to a 12-team league even with the addition of a championship game. He reminded me that Pac-10 fans, in general, don't travel well. What if you have, say, an Arizona-Stanford championship game?

Here's my overview from last month.

Keep those seat belts fastened. There's going to be turbulence. For sure.



Since: Sep 30, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2010 5:04 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

This just in......Pittsburgh Steelers want to drop out of the NFL and join the big leagues, meaning Big East football; Celtics have had it with the crappy NBA and want to joing Big East basketball; Bosox think they'll find better competition in Big East baseball so Theo just held some secret meetings with someone or other to bang out details; the entire NHL wants to quit playing for money and instead get hockey going in the Big East; Big-10 wrestlers, after lengthy secret sessions held on the moon, are all quitting the Big-10 and joining various of the other former pro teams soon to be in the Big East.....Goldenpanter poster is about the goofiest poster ever.  Anymore "secret" meetings you'd like to tell us about? 

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2010 4:25 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

To those pimping the Big East:

In basketball, historically they're pretty even. Look at NCs and Final Fours.

In football, it isn't close... The Big Ten has:

1) Something like 30-35 national championships (voted on... we need a playoff. But there.)
2) Three of college football's most storied programs -- three of the top ten programs of all time, and perhaps #1 (Michigan)
3) Three others who were past powers -- Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan State
4) Consistently playing a murderous bowl schedule, and usually at a travel/weather disadvantage... and yet still around a .500 bowl record all-time.
5) A history of hard-nosed/brutal play, giant packed statiums, rabid fans.
6) $$$

The Big East simply cannot compare in terms of football.

Since: Mar 16, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2010 4:20 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Just a correction on Minnesota....20-30 yrs ago (1980-1990) they were as bad as they are now...if you go back 70-80 years to the 30s and 40s you'd be accurate.  The Gophers haven't been a bottom-tier Big 10 power in the past 70 yrs, let alone an absolute national power.  Wisconsin has been a power for 20 yrs now, since Alvarez took over after leaving Hayden Fry's Iowa staff, and now with Bilemma (sp?).  Ferentz will contend regularly, I agree.

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2010 4:15 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Notre Dame makes sense, given that the Irish are in Indiana... but ND seems to want to remain independent in football. They have their own TV deal, which is another reason they're gonna be tough to get to join the B10.

Of the rest... to me, Syracuse, Pitt and Missouri make the most sense.

Let's say it's Pitt. How does the Big Ten form two fair divisions? I'm going to have to do some geographical give-and-take to make these divisions fairly equal:

Big Ten A:
Michigan State

Big Ten B:
Ohio State
Penn State

so you'd have (checking fairness):

Michigan/Ohio State
Iowa/Penn State
Michigan State/Illinois

...this assumes, of course, that Michigan returns to power.

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2010 4:03 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Actually the only really consistently good team in the B10 has been Ohio State... but every year, some of the other teams are good too -- just seems to be different teams each year.

Right now I view the conference hierarchy like this:

1. Ohio State
2. Penn State -- almost always good, but occasionally they have a down year
3. Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan -- usually good. Michigan is rebuilding right now.
6. Purdue, Michigan State, Illinois -- usually around 6-6 or 7-5. Illinois was bad this past year.
8. Minnesota, Northwestern -- 6-6ish usually
11. Indiana -- their good years are 6-6ish years

What makes the Big Ten fun (IMO) is that so many teams have been to BCS games. Since the BCS began:

Ohio State
Penn State

...have all been to at least one BCS bowl game. That means that fully 64% of conference members have had at least one really good season in the past 12 years. Additionally, Northwestern was in the Rose Bowl (at USC, as usual) back in about 1996. Michigan State beat Florida in the Citrus Bowl around that same time.

Only Minnesota and Indiana have not had huge bowl appearances or huge bowl wins in the past 15 years.

Historically, the hierarchy is different of course:

1. Michigan -- 11 national championships, top-3 in wins and win% all-time
2. Ohio State -- 7 NCs, top-10 in wins and win% all-time
3. Penn State -- 2-4 NCs (depending...), on the fringes of top-10 in wins and win% (about the same level as Tennessee)
4. Minnesota -- 6 NCs. Bronko Nagurski.
5. Illinois -- 2-4 NCs (depending). Red Grange.
6. Michigan State -- 2 NCs
7. Wisconsin -- No NCs, but a great 1990s decade which included three Rose Bowl wins. Pretty good most of the past 15 years.
8. Iowa -- I think they won an NC. If not, still decent history with Hayden Frye, Nile Kinnick, Chuck Long, etc.
9. Purdue -- No NCs, but good teams recently with Tiller... Brees, Rod Woodson, Bob Griese, Jim Everett
10. Northwestern -- Rose Bowl back in 1996... otherwise pretty bad historically.
11. Indiana -- Had some good years under Bill Mallory, but usually pretty bad.

Since: Jan 7, 2010
Posted on: March 5, 2010 3:38 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

To me, this is a two horse race:

Rutgers -  is the Big 10 really serious about trying to lure the NYC market with a dog-crap program like Rutgers?     Maybe their is some value, but I don't see alot of Big 10 fans in NYC craving Scarlet Knight football or basketball.

Missouri - has to be the favorite, you gain the St. Louis and Kansas City market.    Borders Big 10 schools.   Has the education.

The other 3 that were mentioned:  Pitt, Cinncy, and Iowa St

Pitt - Are you serious?   What do you gain?    You already have the televion revenue for Penn St?   That would be like building an pool house in your backyard, and calling it part of the block.

Iowa St. - See Above  (Iowa already draws that huge television market)

Cinncy - See Above (Ohio ST.... enough said)

The options of Notre Dame and Texas... NO WAY.... Those two schools feel that they're bigger than conferences themselves.   

How does the saying go?  "Everything is bigger in Texas"

Notre Dame still thinks that it's 1960 and every kid wants to play there....time to create another Rudy movie!!


My prediction:   3 teams are snatched up from the Big 12:   Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska,

Here would be your divisions:

West Division:   Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

East Division:  Michigan, Michigan St., Ohio St, Penn St, Indiana, Northwestern, and Purdue

Since: Mar 4, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2010 3:11 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Hey...the Japanese have just attacked Pearl Harbour again!!!!

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: March 5, 2010 2:51 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Are you trying to verbalize that our President tells falsehoods, embellishes his agenda, or fails to hide his Manchurian heritage?

Since: Mar 4, 2010
Posted on: March 5, 2010 2:24 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...


The regionial fit for Texas wouldn't matter all that much.  The Big Ten schools play most of their spring sports in the south already and wouldn't affect travel all that much.  For football, Texas gets on a plane anyway for all but 3 conference games.  In basketball, it's the same thing.  Most of the teams get on a jet and go.  Once on the plane, how far you go really doesn't mean much.

If the Texas legislature gets on Texas or A&M, one could pitch it with the slant of "You're really going to allow that much in research grants for all your satellite hospitals and campuses go just to 'keep Texas together'"?  That would be a media crucifixion.

Since: Oct 7, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2010 1:37 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

My friend, you are completely dillusional. Didn't the butt whoppins the Big Eat received in the bowl games teach you anything. Look what happened to the league champ Cincinnati when they played a real school. Please. Hope you can hang on to WVU and your Panthers. THe rest will bail in a minute to be par of the Big 10+.

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