What are the negatives to expanding the conference?
spoiler alert: i linked this
What are the negatives to expanding the conference?
The problem with adding teams to a conference is that you get more rotating of scheduled in conference opponents. Note how we dont play iowa or indiana or illinois every year in football. When u play teams on a less consistent basis, it dimishes the feeling of the rivalry, in my opinion.
I think they would be the clear choice at #1. They would never do it, but it would be great. Also, why go to 14 teams? I think 12 would be a fine holding point.
seems like a more logical choice to me. I'd rather have them than West Vagina. I'm not sure you could add a better rivalry than PSU/Pitt.
Why bother going to 12? The conference isn't any better off that way.
Yes it is, certainly from their perspective. A 12th team = conference title game which brings more money and regains the conference some prestige in the eyes of the average fan/press. Plus it brings in new fans and viewers for the B10 Network.
A 12th game isn't good enough to structure an entire conference around it. It will bring in slightly more money for one sport, but that money is now being split more ways and it does absolutely nothing for any other sport. And with every expansion comes a loss in the identity and charm that makes the Big 10 what it is. They only team that would truly fit in in terms of size, prestige, location, quality of teams, and national recognition is Notre Dame. And they aren't going to join because being 100% of an independent is still way better than being one twelfth of a conference. Louisville and Pitt? Christ are you people serious?
The Big 10 will get prestige when it wins OOC games and bowl games. Plain and simple.
College athletics don't exist to make you happy or to create "identity and charm". Any chance to make more money, no matter how it's split, is good.
The details of my life are quite inconsequential... very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds- pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum... it's breathtaking- I highly suggest you try it.
monstrosity mega-conference like the Big East. Its annoying enough when you don't play two teams in your conference. Growing the conference to 14 and not playing 5 teams would just suck.
Not to mention the way it screws up basketball.
Drop one instead, and get back to playing a round-robin schedule in the Big 10. I like PSU as a program, and they've got a great tradition, but it still irks me that we have 11 teams in a conference called the Big 10. If we dropped one school and played everyone in the conference every year, it would help our strength of schedule - we'd get an extra in-conference game, rather than some cupcake no one wants to see us play.
It works for the Pac-10, and it used to work for us. Why not go back to it?
College football isn't about tradition or what we want to see. It's about money and prestige and how to get the most air time so you can maximize your profits. And, especially in the Big Ten, it's about getting fans to watch your non-rev sports and spend money on you.
You don't think that adding an extra in-conference game for EVERY team in the conference would get better ratings than the cupcake games we have now? If we added one team (or god forbid, three) to the Big 10, we'd get the addition of one marquee game in the form of a championship, and devalue a bunch of other games. I personally don't think that would add to the prestige of the conference (is the ACC more prestigious than the Pac 10?), and I would think the money/ratings would be a wash.
The schools of the Big Ten don't want to change this because schools like Minnesota can schedule nothing but patsies for those four games and only have to win two conference games to become bowl eligible. I know that adding one conference game means they have to win three, but as we saw this year, when the team isn't very good, the third win can be hard to get. The conference makes more money by getting as many teams bowl eligible as possible (because the teams split all bowl revenue, which is a major obstacle to getting ND). It really says something for this year's conference to not be able fill it's bowl allotment.
I think it's too cynical by half. In fact, tradition is part of the package of college football and its unique appeal that ATTRACTS the money we see continuing to flow. With the exception of 1 or 2 NFL matchups, no one cares about any two teams in the NFL playing each other apart from gamblers and the home fans unless it's in the playoffs. Not true in college football.
I'm not saying the NFL is better or anything of that nature.
But if "no one cares about any two teams in the NFL playing each other apart from gamblers and the home fans" then MNF wouldn't routinely be one of, if not the, highest rated show on cable, and NFL TV ratings wouldn't dwarf college ratings routinely.
There's some truth to that. Rivalries are less important in the NFL than in college, although like you say it doesn't seem to hurt NFL TV ratings.
Notre Dame coming to the Big 10 would be stupid as they would be at best the fourth best team every year.
I hope future BCS/playoff rules really screw over ND. That way they have incentive to join the Big 10. In basketball the Big East already has 87 teams, so they won't miss the Irish.
Two things to consider:
The Big Ten covers an immense area, including half of the 8 states with 10 million people or more. The goal of any expansion would be to expand the geographic and marketing footprint of the conference. Some places (St. Louis, parts of West Virginia, etc) already get Big Ten sports and thus are not appealing as markets.
Aside from landing a national fanbase like Notre Dame (not going to happen) or Nebraska (Do not want) the team has to be in a densely populated area.
The Big Ten is not the best academic conference in I-A. The Pac-10 and ACC are better, I believe. But the Big-10 is most consistent, having no school outside the top 75 in the country. Any new school would have to be reasonably strong academically to join the CIC. This cuts out a lot of the bordering Big 12 schools and some of the bordering Big East Schools (WVU and Louisville). Again, the dream scenario is Notre Dame.
In reality, the three most likely options are Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt. Pitt is the best fit, but least attractive option because the Big Ten is already in the market, if not as the major player. Rutgers is attractive due to academics and location to New York... but the fact is, people have begun to see what an aberration that great season was. Syracuse is attractive as a compromise candidate, especially because they have shown an ability to catch the attention of New York and Buffalo in the past.
lets look at what adding a conference championship did to the Big 12 and Nebraska-Oklahoma in particular. NU-OU was one of the great rivalries in college football, now it doesn't exist.
Before you get on your bandwagon for a 12th team, explain to me how you align Michigan and Ohio State while preserving the rivalry and keeping the two conferences relatively balanced. And the only team that is even worth considering is Notre Dame.
WVU? Pitt? Are you serious? Those would be at best mid tier programs as far as prestige and national interest goes. If anything, cut a team out. while I'm not suggesting this, I'd rather lose IU, Purdue or Northwestern than add someone other than Notre Dame.
What do you mean by "preserving the rivalry"? Do you think there would ever be a universe where we wouldn't play OSU the last week of the regular season? Because we always will, 12 teams or not.
And what happens if the Big Ten institutes a conference championship game at the end of the season? It's absolutely feasible that the championship game is simply a replay of the Michigan/OSU game.
Suppose that, in 2006, the Big Ten has a conference championship game. Michigan and OSU, ranked #1 and #2 in the country, would have played another game, rendering the outcome of that historic game almost moot. That diminishes the rivalry. That diminishes the significance of that one game against OSU per season. And I want no part of that.
And I strenuously disagree with you when you say that college football does not exist to serve my interests as a fan. I would be tremendously disappointed if the conference expands solely to increase revenue, and as a fan, that's my right. Yes, I do think there's tremendous value in traditions and historical rivalries within the conference. No, I don't want the conference to be split into divisions, which would happen if the Big Ten expanded. Would we still play for the Brown Jug every year? OSU? MSU? Notre Dame?
That's a scheduling nightmare if you want to guarantee that teams maintain rivalries. Frankly, if you believe that the Big Ten needs to expand to increase revenue and to be more competitive (we solve this by avoiding a 3-9 season and if someone--anyone--could beat USC), I am glad you're not the Big Ten Commissioner.
Aren't we the fanbase that kept arguing that we should play OSU for the national title in 2006? But playing twice otherwise would "diminish" the rivalry.
As to your second point, they already did it with Penn State. We don't play for the Brown Jug every year... and we'd always play State and OSU. Notre Dame, as an OOC game, is at their mercy. There are a few things people need to accept... one is that conferences will take money over tradition in every case except when tradition is more profitable (the bowls).
As to your last point, Delany already announced they planned on doing it. Sorry, bro.
One look at the 2009 schedule tells you that we don't play for the Little Brown Jug every year.
Brodie, you're wrong about the PAC-10 being better conference academically. The PAC-10 does have Stanford, Cal, UCLA and USC which are top 40 programs. But Oregon State and Washington State (and possibly Oregon) aren't even ranked in the top 150. Its debatable as to whether or not the ACC is a better conference academically. Duke, UNC and Virgina are excellent schools, but the rest of the conference doesn't match up.
And unless you have been to Syracuse, let's not add that school to the discussion. The single worst Michigan football experience of my life happened there in 1999. The fan behavior in Columbus or East Lansing is far better than Syracuse.
The PAC-10's top 4 are better than all but 1 Big Ten school using the (admittedly shitty) USNWR rankings. Ditto ACC, better on the whole.
As to fan behavior in Syracuse, when I was there for a basketball game it was pretty cool afterwards.
That's not true, both NW and Michigan are ranked ahead of USC. UCLA is barely ahead of M, too.
What happened in 1999? I was at that game, and the only problem we had with the fans was that some guy in the row ahead of us was farting the whole game. It was awful. Other than that, they left my buddies and I alone.
You can definitely argue that the shittiness of the bottom of the Pac-10 (academically) pulls them lower than the Big 10. But the only ACC school that is ranked lower than the 4 lowest Big 10 school is Florida State. In other words - the entire ACC, aside from FSU, is better than 40% of the Big 10.
36%, thank you very much. Your argument is no longer valid.
Rest of the ACC doesn't match up? What about Boston College, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Virginia Tech? Even Maryland and Clemson pretty solid. In the big ten, it's really Michigan, Northwestern and maybe Wisconsin as upper tier schools... then maybe Illinois? I don't know, i could be selling some schools short but my point is it's definitely not valid to write off the ACC.
Same here. (My worst Michigan football memory, as a student, was Syracuse in 99.) My hatred for Donovan McNabb hasn't diminished one iota in the intervening years.
Always felt Missouri would be a better Big 10 school than Big 12. But agree that by adding PSU, Pitt makes a more natural addition to solidify the PA geography. Domers rejected a formal invitation to join the conference several years ago, did they burn their bridge?
Missouri isn't even top 100 academically.
Adding a school about 30 spots below your worst school, especially when you already have a small foothold in the closest big market via Illinois, is stupid.
We've entered stupid territory a long time ago by including the words "Rutgers" and "Louisville" in the same sentence as "Big Ten".
I couldn't care less where a fellow conference member is ranked academically, as long as they follow the same rules.
Rutgers is probably the most serious candidate to join the conference. The main point of expansion is expanding the geographic footprint of the conference.
You may not care, but the people in the conference do. Along with membership in the league athletically is membership in the CIC, the league's academic wing (which still includes the U. of Chicago). The league is flat-out not going to let in a terrible academic school.
I don't think Louisville fits the academic profile we're looking for, but I believe Rutgers does.
100% correct. One reason why Penn State's entry into the Big Ten did not happen until 1993 was due to the CIC needing to approve their addition. No 12th school will ever enter our conference without being thoroughly vetted academically to meet the CIC's standards. The only school that is a 'gimme' for approval is Notre Dame, given its geography and academic rank -- hence the standing invitation to join the Big Ten that Delaney has tendered them.
Of the other schools mentioned thus far, Louisville absolutely does not fit; it's practically a commuter school. Miami U. (Ohio) has a better shot to join the Big 10 than Louisville. Syracuse, Pitt, and Rutgers are all similarly-ranked Tier 1 schools and could be an acceptable fit. Rutgers has the obviously huge appeal of bringing in the NY-metro market, though, which I think would give it the edge.
I also doubt the conference will do any expansion until Delaney is gone. Once that happens, I could see the Big 10 going to more than 12 teams. But without the 'Domers in the mix, I don't see how any expansion happens; the CIC just isn't gonna Sparty up the conference.
And a (snarky) point re Big Ten vs. ACC or Pac-10: As jmblue mentions, U-Chicago IS still a part of our conference, academically, via the CIC (and yes, that still matters). Now do the math about overall conference ranking (mean avg.); it changes a bit.
Brodie, lay out the two divisions of the conferences that leaves a balance conference and keeps us playing OSU every year. This is the issue that killed NU-OU. It makes balancing the conference difficult if you put the two best teams in the same division.
And who else do you add to the M-OSU division? Can't add PSU, then it would be the top three teams. Yet, PSU is one on the bigger secondary rivals of both M and OSU. MSU is also in the top half of the big ten, but they are also a main rival of us. Where do they end up? The only school that help alleviate this issue is ND, under the theory that they could help balance the other division.
You can play an out of division game every year, they do it in the SEC for Alabama-Tennessee.
I don't know if any one would care about the current strength of each division when the divisions are first made. It just makes sense to make the divisions based on geography because that makes for the most efficient travelling.
However, the ACC does not really have divisions based on geography, and they have an interesting little rule which addresses the concern of rivals who are not in the same division. Every team every year plays 8 conference games. Within those conference games they play every team in their division (duh), but every team also has a partner in the other division that they play every year. i.e. Miami and FSU are partners, and VT and BC are partners, and I can't remember the other partners. But this could address the problem of having rivals in opposite divisions.
I don't think that ND will ever agree to join a conference. There is too much money available from NdBC and getting their entire take of the bowl revenue (particularly important if they go to a BCS bowl). And with the way they are setting up their schedule now, they wouldn't want to play the level of competition the Big Ten (even in its currently weakened condition) would provide.
Take a look at ND's schedule next year. It is beyond soft. The 6-6 (regular season) ND team this year will win at least 8 games next year. They pull two out of their hat and they're in a BCS bowl. It will take some seismic shift in CFB (possibly a playoff system that favors conferences over ND) to get ND to join a conference.
This all would have been moot if they had managed to convince Texas to join when the Southwest Conference broke up. I'm pretty sure I remember there being discussions, and their coach at the time had just left Illinois to take over at Texas. I think they were actually considering it. The Big Ten was THE moneymaking conference for a long time, it's only recently that the SEC has managed to catch up, and still no one else is really all that close.
Of course, it made a lot more sense for them to go with three other Texas schools and join up with the Big 8, especially since they already played one of the Big 8 schools (Oklahoma) every year as it was.
Actually, they picked the Pac-10 and the state government forced them to stay with the other schools. Props to the one state legislator who threw in Baylor over the much better/more traditional Rice, Houston and TCU.
IIRC, the governor of Texas at the time of the reformation was a Baylor alum, which was a big part of why they joined the conference over any of those other teams.
Horse is dead, fellas.
It's never gonna happen until Delany leaves.
TBA (ND, WVU, Pitt, Louisville, Rutgers)
For football, play each team in division 1 time = 5 games; add 3 non-division games based on past rivalry/strength = 8 games; add 4 NC games (still allows us 3 MAC + 1 real)
For basketball, play each division team twice = 10 games, play each non-division once = 16 games vs 18 now)
It would work, and almost all big current rivalries would still exist; would add HUGE importance to last reg season game against OSU likely, not diminish it.
Yes, a repeat game for conf championship could occur, but if non-division games are scheduled wisely (i.e. earlier in season), it wouldn't seem so redundant; also re-matches carry great intensity if hyped correctly.
Hypothetical, per the ACC rule:
Div 1: Michigan, OSU, MSU, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue
Div 2: PSU, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana
Partners: MICH-ND, MSU-PSU, Minn-Iowa, NW-Ill, Pur-Ind, OSU-Wisc
Everybody is either in the same division as their main rivals or matched up as partners. The divisions seem to be reasonably matched up in terms of historic football strength, UM and OSU in one division are balanced out by PSU, Wisconsin, ND in the other. Michigan and OSU won't have a re-match in the championship game and can still play at the end of the season every year.
The problems with this alignment are that Wisco and Minnesota may not play every year, this could be solved by switching Iowa and Minnesota but then Mich and Minn wouldn't play every year. Not sure who the Gophers see as a bigger rival but as a Michigan fan I picked us of course.
And of course Notre Dame probably will never join anyway. But if they did, this is how I would set it up.
Minnesota and Michigan don't play every year in the current set up, we maintain OSU and MSU as our rivals.
As I grew up in Minnesota, I can assure you that they do not consider Michigan to be a big rival, if a rival at all. If we didn't play for the jug (which Minnesota has won only three times since 1968), the Michigan-Minnesota game would no different than any other conference game. Wisconsin and Iowa are their big rivals (probably equally intense rivalries), so you'd have to be sure that they play every year.
My divisional proposition:
Notre Dame/Pitt/Rutgers/Missouri/Springfield A&M
Partners being: MI-ND, MSU-PSU, NW-ILL, Wisc-OSU, Minn-NW, Iowa-Indiana
The other two cross-divisional games would rotate
These conference alignments work fine, only if ND is the team. Otherwise, there is a distinct unbalance. ND may be down right now, but they have historically been a dominant program and there is no reason to believe that the long run performance of Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, or Mizzou will be close to that of ND.
If ND wants to join, that's fine. But the list of schools that would also be suitable is very short, especially since Texas is no where near the footprint.
If we got another team, what should we call the conference? Continue calling it the Big 10? It's already weird that we have 11 teams.
The Atlantic 10 has 15 members.
of what the "Ten" means via massive media campaign.
The "Ten" becomes our "Conference Values", and the # of teams becomes inconsequential.
1) Family values
2) No swearing, unless really, really needed
3) Puking in a sand pit is OK during practice, coach-induced heat stroke is not
4) Snake oil allowed, but only 2 ounces can be used against teams in conference, out of conference - line up the cobras
5) Everyone will admit to using snake oil
6) Any team failing to win a bowl game against USC or the SEC will lose scholarships the following year
7) Extra scholarships for the school with the best cumulative football, basketball, hockey results
8) Must meet Brodie's academic standards
9) Conference-wide push for football playoff system
10) We have our own bowl game at Ford Field for the 2 best non-BCS bowl teams from our conference - keep the $$ in house
Best thing about adding a team, dividing into divisions, and having a conference title game = another step towards the inevitable playoffs.
Don't forget Big 10 members, plus the University of Chicago, are contemporaneous members of the rather Soviet-sounding Committee on Institutional Cooperation. The "Academic Big Ten" exists to allow member schools to cooperate and collaborate on research and other academic activities.
Any prospective member would meet the profile of extant members: strong research institution across the board and recognized excellence in graduate programs in science, engineering, bus/med/law etc.
This winnows out academic basket cases (I'm looking at you, WVU) and strong undergrad-focused schools like Miami University. This leaves us with likely candidates Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers and ND (which has made major efforts to strengthen it's grad school offerings) all with respectable to stellar academic offerings. I don't know enough about Mizzou or Iowa State's academics, but from a practical standpoint adding St. Louis and totally owning the Des Moines market is hardly compelling.
The whisperings last year of Texas' interest in the B10 were interesting, if geography didn't totally get in the way, considering the closest school is Iowa at 1000 miles. Penn State is far away from everyone else, but Texas' teams would live in airplanes. I don't see a whole lot of interest in sending the Texas women's swimming team 1600 miles to State College one weekend and 1200 miles to Minneapolis the next.
Even beyond this, any new Big 10 institution must be a member of the Association of American Universities, pretty much the list of most prestigious research I institutions in the US. The Big 10 is the only conference where all members belong -- in the Pac 10, ASU, OSU, WSU aren't members; in the ACC, Wake, FSU, BC, Va Tech, NCSU, Clemson aren't. (Wake and BC are solid undergrad institutions, but weak grad).
A lot of this stems from the fact that there's reciprocal graduate class and library privileges between Big 10 (+ U of Chicago) members and the presidents aren't going to approve a new member that doesn't bring something significant academically to the table. There's no way that WVU or Louisville will come in without AAU membership, and it's difficult to imagine universities of their profile getting AAU accreditation.
Here's the list of members... http://www.aau.edu/about/article.aspx?id=5476
Like he said, think Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse.
A long shot, but if the NCAA ever allows Canadian schools to join I could see the University of Toronto being an interesting choice. They fit academically, geographically and would add a large media market.
Of course there's the whole problem of requiring a massive investment/upgrade of their sports programs.
UT is so arbitrary. Brock would be closer to Buffalo.
Brian discussed UT and the B10 at least a year or so ago. I think the problem was not facilities (Rogers Centre is there) but bringing what is essentially a DII level football program up to B10 standards.
Looks like there may be some precedent brewing: "Simon Fraser, British Columbia on verge of becoming first Canadian NCAA members"
Why yes, I can see the Rogers Centre out my window. Why do you ask?
It's none too likely, though, for the reasons you give and probably another half a dozen you didn't.
Once in a while, I hear talk here in Chicago that the Big Ten is considering a number of expansion options, including one scenario with 16 teams. First of all, WTF? Second, the only way this would work is if the Big Ten accepts *all* the schools mentioned above -- ND, 'Cuse, Pitt, and Rutgers -- and also Iowa State, which is decent enough academically to be in the AAU, too. (Wouldn't be a stretch to pull ISU out of the Big XII, I think.) This would be a possible breakdown of that scenario, just for grins:
OK, so that makes the East very top-heavy for football ATM, there mosdef would need to be a conference championship game, and we'd now be champions of the East. But this alignment does keep all the geographical rivalries intact, and would still give meaning to the season-ending matchups, in terms of deciding divisional titles. Several options exist for playing a game or two against teams in the other division, including permanent annual pairings, e.g. Notre Dame vs. Purdue, Michigan vs. Minnesota. Hoops would just be one division, like the Big East; play every team once except one main rival, twice.
Extremely unlikely to happen, but fun to think about (and debate).
Sparty was also a latecomer to the Big Ten, joining what was then the Big 9 only in 1949, not playing a conference schedule in football until 1953 (all according to Wikipedia).
Interestingly, according to the Wikipedia article on the Big Ten:
"The conference’s official name throughout this period remained the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives. It did not formally adopt the name Big Ten until 1987, when it was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation."
Yes, only three years before they voted to let an eleventh team join the league did they finally formally adopt the name "Big Ten."
I have never really understood why so many people have Championship Game envy. It splits the conference and makes schedules even more imbalanced than they already are. On top of that, it frequently gives mediocre 5-3 or 6-2 teams a chance to knock off an 8-0 team if they have one bad day. Look at the ACC and see how wonderfully their expansion has worked out. Beyond that one game, expansion is a zero sum game. It won't happen for the simple reason that none of the candidates besides Notre Dame bring more to the table than they would take away. And that's the reason why Notre Dame doesn't want to join. I guess it's possible that West Virginia and Missouri could come close from an athletic standpoint, since they could conceivably end up with some decent Big 10 rivalries that are at least equal to what they have now. That's very debatable though.
See, you see the ACC from the "OMG SUCKZ!" point of view... the Big Ten sees it from the "OMG they've increased revenue and are now the third highest earning conference and indeed earned more than us in the total span since BC joined in 2004" pov.
Given that BC and VT have made up the ACCCG pairing the past two years, and that expansion teams have provided 5 of 8 slots in said game, I really think expansion has actually rescued the ACC from even worse mediocrity. Sure, without VT and BC to be kicking the "regular" ACC teams around, those teams might have better records. But they'd still be the same teams they are now, and probably would do even worse in the BCS games.
The only reason the ACC is perceived as weak now is because of the lack of a Florida State dominating the conference. Top to bottom, it's better than before. FSU has now become just one of several good-not-great teams in the conference. Expansion coincided with the fall of FSU, it didn't cause it. Expansion added three strong-ish teams to the conference. It caused the perception of weakness, not weakness itself.
And the lesson doesn't apply to the Big Ten anyway. It's not the right comparison. The Big Ten would only be adding one team. The ACC glommed on three at once.
I've seen some pretty incredible suggestions on here regarding Big Ten expansion, but the thought of adding WVU is one of the most incredible yet. Do you realize how poor of a school WVU is academically? As someone else mentioned, if you are going for a team in that region Pitt is the far better option both athletically and academically.
Other than ND, the teams that make the most sense financially are Missouri and Rutgers. Both those schools appear to fit the research requirements and offer an expansion of the TV market (i.e., more money). In the 90's when other expansion was explored, Missouri was explored because of the St. Louis TV market.
WVU makes no sense - and no, I do not believe that Wash DC is the WVU tv market. Pitt also has no real draw TV wise.
That's actually true (re: Pitt) unless you consider Pittsburgh not to be a good TV market. Penn State doesn't actually play that well in the Pittsburgh market. Penn State fans in Pittsburgh are pretty much limited to those who went to Penn State.
I still don't know why people omit Syracuse from the conversation. It meets all of the typical academic/research/athletic requirements and does add a substantial television audience without being any further away that Penn State is.
Another one that would be a possibility if they could ever get their athletics together would be Buffalo.
There is actually a significant Big Ten presence in western New York. I went to college with a lot of people from the Buffalo area and I was shocked at the number of them who are Michigan fans.
I think it's because they're seen as less Midwestern and more East Coast. Look at how often people omit Rutgers from the conversation, despite the fact that it's well known that they were the school being talked about when the BTN launched.