I think expansion is coming.
With those words, Joe Paterno just about sealed the deal on Big Ten expansion on Tuesday. That is, if you believe that Joe is one of the driving forces in the conference's expansion talks. Here are his the gist of comments from a Big Ten coaches' spring conference call.
Q: How are you with the progress of expansion talks?
A: "I think expansion is coming. Now, in what form? There's a lot of talk about the Pac-10 getting two or more teams in their conference. I'm not privy to that ...
"I think the trend is there are going to be bigger conferences. I think there are going to be 12-, 14-team conferences and maybe even 16-team conferences. Do I know what I'm talking about, who knows?
"It would appear to me that with the television situation what it is and the great impact that it has on exposure and what that exposure does to recruiting, we're naïve to think ... we can sit back and see everybody else move ahead because they're going to move ahead. We better start thinking about where we're going."
Q: If you did get a say in this, what would you advocate?
A: "When all this happens, I'll probably be out of this thing. I'd like to see our particular conference move East a little bit. It would give us a little broader television market and a little more exposure and if we had 12 teams we'd have a chance to get into some kind of championship [game} ...
"Whether that means you go 12 [teams] or you go 14. I don't know. I don't know all the consequences. The thing you have to do is when you get married, you better get married to somebody you love. We've got to get people in our conference that are AAU [research] schools, the same kind of commitment academically ...
"Along with that bring along some people that have a comprehensive athletic program. That it's going to be a happy marriage and we're all on the same page ... Can you find one, two, three, four, I don't know?"