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: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2010 4:48 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2010 4:46 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Russkie, my  point is the Big Ten would probably stop at adding 1, if that 1 is Notre Dame.  I am amazed that Texas is even in the conversation.  UT is a great academic and financial fit, but a horrible regional fit.  There would also be little commonality as a research institution.  With adding any schools other than ND or Texas, the Big Ten would probably have to add 3 schools in order to bring in enough of a media draw to make expansion financially viable.  None of the existing schools will be willing to accept carving out more slices of the pie if their piece is smaller than before.

Since: Jan 17, 2009
Posted on: March 4, 2010 4:27 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Big Ten is better than your Big Least for many reasons out side of Football!  It is loaded for all the major sports and less major sports.

Not to mention academically. 


TOSU is 100 plus years old, Northwestern is an elite institution.  Michigan is in a class above any in the big least.  i can go on, but the obvious will fall on deaf ears here!

Since: Nov 25, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2010 4:23 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Why should they stop at adding only 1 school, such as Missouri. Why not add 3 schools so as to divide the conference into 2 seven team divisions. The reasoning behind only Missouri because of the 2 large TV markets in St. Louis and Kansas City holds no water as both cities are border areas with split allegiances. Kansas City is more dominated on the Kansas side of the metro area anyhow.

Let's say they add 3 teams. KU and Nebraska along with Missouri. That definitely increases the overall appeal of the new conference being that they would be adding schools with with solid b-ball and football programs when you consider the impact of these 3 alone.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2010 4:19 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Now if Notre Dame would just join the Big Ten, there would be no fallout aftershocks around the country.  The Big Ten would simply add a Conference Championship Game and be done with it at 12 schools.  I understand ND's desire to remain a national independent, and that is the stumbling block.  I really doubt ND would make less money in an expanded Big Ten once new TV contracts are written.

Notre Dame:  For the love of God, and for the good of college sports nationally, please join the Big Ten. 

I know.....pigs will fly first.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2010 4:06 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

In my opinion, most of the movement will be about basketball not football. The Big East is going to have to break up that basketball conference. Teams are going to defect, and the fall out will determines then who goes where.

I don't think it makes sense for Syracuse to go to the Big Ten. The team that goes to the Big 10 will likely be a school more interested in football, like Rutgers. It would help the Big 10 recruit in NJ/NY Metro, and keep them in the NY metro media. Conversely, a school like Louisville will likely be more apt to move for basketball reasons. It hard to be consistently good in both sports.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2010 3:16 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Just my two cents worth here......

Look for at least Syracuse and Rutgers to go to the Big 10. IF ND or Texas goes to the Big 10, that'll be it. But, that is not going to happen for UT, and not liekly for ND. Then Pitt will go to the Big Ten as the 14th team. Look for these mega-conferences to become 14 teams. The reason? Equal number of home games in division for football, and a 19 game conference schedule for basketball.

The ACC will raid the Big East for two schools. My best prediction is UConn and South Florida. Beleive it or not, the largest school in Florida is NOT Florida or Florida State, it's South Florida.

The SEC will expand to 14 as well. That is where we will end up. Louisville, and WVU will go to the SEC. 

Cincinnatti and TCU will join the Big 12. UNLV could be here if Colorado ends up in the pAC 10. (See below)

The PAC 10 will expand by 4. Look for Utah, BYU, Boise State, and UNLV or Colorado to end up here.

Look for a reunification of the WAC and the Mountain West after this, and these will be your 6 BCS conferences.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2010 3:04 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

I would have to STRONGLY disagree with the statement that Big East schools don't measure up academically with the Big Ten. PITT is a great academic school with a tremendous university supported hospital system that is absolutly CUTTING EDGE. I don't know about the other Big East schools so unlike you I won't comment on something I have no knowledge of but PITT's academics would be top 5 in the Big Ten.

Some Big East schools do measure up to Big Ten academic standards, but the majority do not.  Check out the 2010 US News & World Report rankings.  All Big Ten schools are rated as being "National Universities", and the lowest rated school is tied for #71.  Pitt is ranked # 56 and Syracuse is #58, which would rank them behind the following 6 Big Ten schools:  Northwestern (12), Michigan (27), Illinois & Wisconsin (tied at 39), Penn St and Ohio St.  The only other Big East schools that meet Big Ten academic standards are Notre Dame(20), Georgetown (23), and Rutgers & U-Conn (tied at 66).  Marquette is a bit of a stretch at (84), but fall short as an athletic fit and media market draw.  All other Big East schools are listed as Tier 3 schools, except Providence & Villanova, who don't show up in the ratings at all.

So Pitt would definitely fit in the middle of the Big Ten pack.  What most posts on this thread overlook is the importance of the media draw that prospective schools may deliver.  This is where the $$$ are.  Notre Dame is a no-brainer, as the Irish have an enormous following.  Pitt would help deliver a significant Western PA media market.  Keep in mind that the Big Ten already has a big share of that market with Penn St.  From this standpoint, Rutgers leads the pack as they bring access to the NJ and NYC markets, where even a small share means big #'s of TV's.  This is also why Missouri (102) is a strong candidate, as UM would bring in good shares of the Kansas City and St Louis media markets, which is no doubt much larger than the approx 1/2 of the W PA market that Pitt brings to the table.  From this standpoint, Syracuse is also a viable candidate, as the Orange would bring in the upstate NY market plus a share of the NYC market.

Since: Mar 4, 2010
Posted on: March 4, 2010 1:52 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Two words for you... Texas. Longhorns.

Give this one a read and tell me it doesn't make sense.  The worst case for the Big Ten is they have to take A&M to appease the legislature of the state of Texas, most of which graduated or are affilliated in some way with those two schools.  Texas currently gets $12 million/year and would bring an instant jump in dollars with the new market of Texas and surrounding states.  We're talking a possible payout of over $30 million/year/school and Texas already matches the research and academic requirements necessary to join the conference.  Plus the research dollars for all the satellite schools in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, etc...  Tack on Missouri to steal the St. Louis market and it's a HUGE financial gain for everyone involved.

Since: Aug 5, 2009
Posted on: March 4, 2010 1:21 pm

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

Keep dreaming. You need to look at what Big 10 teams have done as far as national championships, Heismans, major bowls, etc. Michigan, the winningest football program in Division 1 history who helped build the Big 10, is going to leave the Big 10 for the Big East?? Get real. Penn State, the last team who entered the Big 10, said it was the best thing that ever happened to them. Nobody wants to leave. Arrogance? Again ... look at the numbers. Going to any Eastern conference is taking a step back. Historically speaking, the Big 10 and the SEC are the far superior conferences. This is backed up by numbers, not fandom.

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