Blog Entry

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

Posted on: April 19, 2010 11:35 am

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany travels to the Arizona desert this week which is kind of fitting. For some unlucky schools, there is going to be a college football wasteland once the Big Ten gets done expanding. The BCS meetings this week in Phoenix could be where it all starts. Out of public view, mind you, but it could start. Delany could begin the process of notifying affected conferences that he is about to raid them.

With that in mind, it's time to rating the Big Ten expansion candidates in terms of relevance:

1. Notre Dame: If the Big 16 (or whatever) is able to lure/coerce ND into joining, the other schools don't really matter. Notre Dame brings everything -- class, quality football, eyeballs to the Big Ten Network. The two parties will have to figure out how to do deal with the NBC contract. That's really just a detail once the school decides to join, though. At issue: ND must decide that after 22 years without a national championship, it's better chasing a Rose Bowl every year than hoping for a BCS bowl in some years.

2. Connecticut: A UConn/Syracuse/Rutgers triumvirate maybe makes New York care enough about the Big Ten for the region's big cable carriers to start putting the Big Ten Network on the basic tier. Theoretically, you get New Jersey, New England and, maybe, New York. Taking UConn would be a big of a departure for the Big Ten because it is not an AAU school.

3. Missouri: Outside of getting Notre Dame and turning on New York, Missouri is the next biggest "get" for the Big Ten. It is virgin territory from which the BTN could reap a big profit. Kansas City is a Kansas town (followed closely by Missouri), but St. Louis is a Big Ten/Illinois/Mizzou town. With the likes of Ohio State and Michigan coming to Columbia on a regular basis, cable carriers would have to consider  featuring the BTN on the basic tier. If it's five teams, then count Missouri in. Delany could boast of having markets from the Great Plains to the Atlantic Ocean to New England.

4. Rutgers: By itself, Rutgers does little in the New York market. If the Big Ten took just Rutgers, it could be taking it on the come. We all remember how the region got turned on 3 1/2 years ago. It could happen again. Most likely, Rutgers needs a partner or partners in expansion.

5. Syracuse:  Almost a tag-along at this point. The 'Cuse by itself doesn't make sense because it doesn't bring a market or consistent football. Basketball is great, but that's not what this expansion is about at all. 'Cuse football is going to be better. We all know that. But does the Big Ten expand hoping Syracuse will get good? No, the school would be  a throw-in with Rutgers and UConn if Delany chooses to influence New York (see No. 1) 

6. Pittsburgh: There is little buzz about Pittsburgh at this point. The Big Ten is already in Pennsylvania with Penn State. When Joe Paterno talks about adding another school in the East, that kind of eliminates Western Pennsylvania.


Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2010 4:10 pm

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

Let's just simplify all of this.  Pac-10 & Big Ten and Utah should merge into one gigantic conference, with two 11-team divisions.  The BCS would have to agree to give the conference two automatic bids: the conference winner and the team with the highest (or next-highest) BCS ranking, regardless of how high it is.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2010 3:55 pm

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

Notre Dame is not an AAU school either so--so much for that.

NYC will NEVER pick up the BTN. No way.

Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: April 19, 2010 3:50 pm

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

And why would Boston College leave the ACC after only 6 years for the Big 10?  Makes no sense. 

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2010 3:50 pm

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

The Irish will never join the Big 10 and surrender the contract with NBC.  It doesn't make fiscal sense.ND's contract with NBC is somewhere in the $12M/yr. range.  The Big Televen payouts are project to be in the $22M/yr. per team.  It actually makes perfect fiscal sense as that NBC contract that was such a big deal back in the 1990's isn't that great anymore.

One team I think Dodd is omitting is Nebraska.  Although they really don't bring a local media market worth mentioning (Lincoln?) they are an AAU school and a national power in football...albeit one that has fallen on hard times in the past few years.

Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: April 19, 2010 3:48 pm

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

How stupid are all of you?

Did you not learn ANYTHING from the ACC expansion?

You dont invite 3 powerhouses!!

All the ACC wanted was Miami and a championship game.  And what did they get by adding VA Tech and BC? They are have been the ACC's 2 best teams since expansion and has made the league so tough they all beat each other up and the champion has like 3-5 losses and the entire product is watered down.

All the Big 10 wants is Notre Dame and a championship game.  If they want to go to 14 invite Notre Dame, UConn, and Syracuse.  Why UConn and Syracuse? Because they wont pose the same threat as Rutgers and Pitt would.  Rutgers and Pitt would like the ACC make the Big 10 TOO GOOD! All the teams would beat up on each other.  Syracuse is awful and UConn is solid but doesnt have as strong as a recruiting region as Pitt or Rutgers would.  You dont invite filler "threats".  You just get to 12 or 14 without commiting suicide.  Inviting UConn and Syracuse would also make the Big 10 the strongest now in mens and womens basketball so everything works out and you get a title game as your main result.

For the people saying Texas and Nebraska?!?! Are you KIDDING?!?! You do realize the point is to WIN GAMES.  Yeah a league with Texas, Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa, etc WOULD BE SUICIDE!!  And why would Texas and Nebraska leave the Big 12?  If Texas beats Oklahoma they play for the national title and Nebraska will always have a shot at the conference title in the Big 12 South.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2010 3:01 pm

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

My five:

1.  Notre Dame
2.  Missouri
3.  UConn
4.  Rutgers
5.  Pitt

If Notre Dame does not accept, take Syracuse.  Basically I'm saying take Pitt over Syracuse because of the quality of programs in Football AND Basketball collectively.  Plus you have a natural rivalry with Pitt and Penn State.  I'm not sold on the fact that Syracuse will bring the NY tv market.  I think UConn and Rutgers together could do just as well.  By taking Syracuse you are betting that they'll get better in football and right now I'm not sure about that.  all 5 of the aforementioned have at least decent football programs.

The question is who would be Notre Dame's Rivalry game?  Michigan State?

Ohio State / Michigan
Penn State/ Pitt
Illinois/ Missouri
UConn/ Rutgers
ND/ Mich State
Indiana/ Purdue
Wiscy/ Iowa
Minnesota/ Northwestern.

Since: Apr 13, 2010
Posted on: April 19, 2010 2:56 pm

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

BC then gives the BigTen enough teams to form a BigTen hockey conference. BC's reigning national champs and it creates a fantastic hockey league to fill all that airtime on the BigTen network. AAU is a straw man, it's for schools that consider themselves primarily research institutions. Catholic schools, of which BC & ND are two, put their primary emphasis on undergrad (with maybe the exception of Georegtown?) - doesn't mean they're no good (in fact, both rate better than the majority of AAU members by US News, Forbes etc.)

Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2010 2:14 pm

Boston College, along with the UConn/Rutgers/Cuse

This makes the most sense.  Despite what some said, UConn should be the exception.  It solidifies the base in the New England market.  Without them, you have a gap. 

Notre Dame isnt an AAU member, so I dont see that this would really be setting a precendent. 

I just dont see why no one is talking about Boston College.  They are completely out of place in the ACC and can help deliver the New England market.  They have history, tradition, and can deliver some of the East Coast Catholic fans that traditionally follow Notre Dame.  It would be the ultimate slap in the face of Notre Dame to have BC getting more revenue then them. 

BC going would also be the best thing for West Virginia, because they may have a chance to get into the ACC, over...say Louisville or South Florida. 

Dont think for a second by the way that Ohio State isnt loving putting Cincy back on their place.  The last thing Ohio State wants is for Cincinnati high school players to think they can go to BCS games by going to Cincinnati. 

Another thing no one is mentioning is the fact that when the Big Ten expands, most likely, the Big East loses its AQ status.  Of course we all know that the MWC is as deserving as the Big East was for AQ status, so, while a few schools may be out of the picture when this happens, the BCS will present this as a major fix to the flaws of the system.  They may force the MWC to add a few teams to get the AQ, but I think we are seeing major changes to the BCS because of these expansion talks.

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2010 1:49 pm


"Almost a tag-along at this point. The 'Cuse by itself doesn't make sense because it doesn't bring a market or consistent football. Basketball is great, but that's not what this expansion is about at all."

You would have been correct if you said exactly the same thing about UConn.

Syracuse ought to be ahead of UConn because it has a stronger following in both football and hoops and more tradition.  The Cuse brand name will bring in far more New York TV viewers than UConn.  Rutgers won't bring in any viewers.

The Big Ten ought to balance out its grab for more viewers with a big boost of football credibility.  They ought to expand to 14 schools by adding Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Nebraska.

Since: Jun 27, 2008
Posted on: April 19, 2010 1:47 pm

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

I don't think destroyed would be the right answer.  Last year we played three Big Ten schools, Minn and NW at home.  Beat NW, lost to Minn in overtime and lost to PSU 28 to 7.  Heck even MSU lost to PSU by more.  I am not saying we will win a lot of games, but SU brings more to the table than just about every other Big East Team.  They are a member of the AAU orginization, they do bring in the NYC market, plus a local community that is larger than Bloomington, West Lafeyette, and Ann Arbor.  I would prefer that SU goes to the ACC for the Lacrosse program, but with the added money it would be hard to turn down.  With the growth of the Lacrosse programs in the MidWest and NW successful women's lacrosse what a way to make an impact than bringing in SU.

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